Foxy – Project Arts Centre – Review
27 October 2015-07 November 2015 8.15pm
Foxy is the tale of a man that carries a mutant gene; one that differentiates him from the majority of humanity. It makes him an outcast in Ireland and an oddity overseas, and all it does is alter the colour of his hair. Mark is a red head. He has never been troubled by the colour of his hair, despite the many insults he received during his childhood. After reading a newspaper article on a sperm banks that refused red haired donors, he sets out to discover what separates his kind from the rest of humanity. From this initial search, the story broadens into a discussion on other types of prejudice.
The set for this production in the Project Cube is simple and quite striking. As you enter the theatre, the seats are on two sides of the space, with the floor in-between covered in fallen leaves. There are strong lights on either side of the stage, casting an orange glow onto the space. The play opens with a song, with guitar and vocals working through the many insults that redheads receive on a daily basis. It’s an effective way of allowing us to see how unrelenting this abuse is.
The style of the play is quite loose with the actors playing a variety of parts. There is no cohesive, linear storyline and instead we get to see and hear a collection of memories, thoughts and ideas on the topic. The actors move between characters in internet chat rooms, busybody neighbours, Gardai and beyond.
The play is quite topical, with the Carrickmines fire still fresh in the mind, and the actions of the locals that didn’t want the families resettled near them. Also, the recent settlement of the case where a blonde child that was removed from his Roma parents, which served as a springboard for parts of this storyline.
Foxy is a play that aims to give an insight into the everyday racism or prejudice that those with red hair receive. While it is often seen as light-hearted banter, it can have a deep impact on those on the receiving end. It also moves from this topic onto a more difficult one, which is the way Irish society treats the travelling community. It’s a thorny issue, but this tale uses a powerful tool to discuss it; humour. There are many hilarious moments, but it can also leave you squirming in your seat and questioning your own prejudices. It is a bright and well crafted play that opens a debate that is worth having.
Written by Noelle Brown
Directed by Oonagh Murphy
With Michael Collins, Mark Fitzgerald and Sorcha Fox
Set Design by Maree Kearns
Costume Design by Liv Monaghan
Lighting Design by Kevin Smith
Sound Design by Denis Clohessy
Composer: Sarah Kinlen