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May I use the Bathroom Please? & Mic Drop – Smock Alley – Review

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Smock Allies – Scene and Heard at Main Space Smock Alley – Review of Block 27

May I use the Bathroom Please? & Mic Drop – Smock Alley – Review by P. McGovern

Scene and Heard continues at Smock Alley until March 4th

Billed as a dark comedy with laughs and twists, Johnny Walsh’s May I use the Bathroom Please? promises more than it delivers. It is set in a near-empty Dublin pub on St Patrick’s Day, with just the blowsy landlady, a barman and two regulars engaged in chit chat. A stranger appears and asks to use the bathroom, but his real purpose is to carry out his contract to murder one of the two men who may be a member of the IRA, but isn’t. The plot offers possibilities for spoof and fun but both the writing and the acting lack the necessary sharpness for the piece to take fire. Cues are slow, pace is plodding and the acting is generally ponderous. At times the actors seem to be simply “acting the part of actors”, complete with hackneyed theatrical gestures, rather than inviting us to suspend disbelief. The sole exception is the actor playing the barman (individual actors are not identified) who has fine presence, sure timing and an excellent voice.

Gareth Stack’s Mic Drop is an interesting piece of theatre. Perry Pardo (played by Adam Tyrrell) is here to show people how it’s done. How to succeed in business, how to make your mark on the internet, notching up the clicks and the chicks – oh yeah, let’s go folks. He invites us into his world, shows us his phone messages. Is he just longing for our approval and, if so, why? What is this intense young man concealing? Surely much of what he confides to us is fake? The relentless spiel is superficially confident but somehow rings hollow. A descent into intemperate outbursts and a dive behind his desk for a quick sniff of cocaine confirm that there’s more to come.  When eventually the mask falls away, the truth is sprung on us in a flash. It is uncomfortable and disturbing, well-judged in the writing and carried off to perfection by the actor.  This is a talented writer and a fine young actor; their future work will be worth watching.

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Categories: Header, Theatre, Theatre Review

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