Missing Football – Viking Theatre – Review
Written by Peter McKenna, Performed by Stephen Kelly
Aug 31 – Sept 12
The set consists of a single, comfortable-enough-looking bed in a non-descript space with a small bedside shelf with the usual detritus cluttered on it. The set appears at the beginning to be at odds with the story which Stephen Wright (Stephen Kelly) begins to tell. His story is one of expectation and horizons without limit. He has just agreed to sign for an English football team and his humdrum existence in an unspecified Dublin housing estate will be a thing of the past. He will be on a par with his hero Roy Keane. He is a good lad and he wants his Mum and Dad to be able to enjoy immediately the inevitable fruits of his success. He wants to buy them a few treats for the house – a new telly and the like. He is a successful young man who is in a hurry. He has no money but he will have shortly. He borrows without any difficulty the money from the local moneylender who is only too willing to oblige. However nothing is forever and the future becomes less rosy as a result of an accident resulting indirectly from his good fortune and generosity.
Given that Wright is an athletic young man, Stephen Kelly illustrates the text with confident physical gestures. He controls with an easy self-assurance the comedy which lies within the text, as the absurdity of some of the individual situations are played out. However there is not much within the script that gives definition to the other characters who form part of the story. The text leaves them without blood in their veins; they remain distant, but Kelly keeps the text alive with an innate energy to his performance.
Although described as a comedy it is also a moral tale about the dangers of borrowing on expectations. In this the plot has echoes of another quintessentially Dublin play “Juno and the Paycock” where the intended inheritance was spent by means of borrowed money before it was confirmed.