Deadline! – Dublin Fringe Festival – Review

Deadline! – Dublin Theatre Festival – Review

Venue: The Offices of The Dublin Correspondent, Mountjoy Square West
Dates Sep 09-24 @ 19:00 – Tickets €10
Duration 60 mins

Photo: Conor O’Toole

The deadline in question is that of a newspaper. Editor Conor O’Toole has set himself a near impossible task, to write a newspaper in under an hour. Along with his crack team of journalists, he sets about his assignment. There are a variety of sections that need to be completed, from agony aunt columns to personal ads, crossword puzzles to Sudoku. The paper also required a headline story along with a controversial opinion piece and all with the clock ticking.

Conor O’Toole is best known as a stand-up comedian, but is also a cartoonist and has made several short films. He also worked on a student newspaper, hence this new work! It should come as no real surprise that this man has found a home in the Fringe.

The venue for the event was described as the ‘Offices of the Dublin Correspondent’ in the festival brochure, but they took a bit of a liberty with that description. It was early on in the proceedings that you realised this location also doubles as Conor’s flat! Conor welcomed the audience into his home, with his belongings around them. It felt a little like an episode of ‘Through the Keyhole’ as you get to scan the room, from his record collection to what brand of eco-friendly washing up liquid he uses. His girlfriend was home on opening night, but she sat away from the proceedings on a small mezzanine accessed by a ladder.

This happening was not scripted and other than a song and one joke, it was completely improvised. It is a one man show with the audience used as source material for the articles. We were quizzed for interesting events in our lives, with several members ‘commissioned’ to write short articles. After an initial awkward phase the group relaxed into it. He managed to create a sense of camaraderie amongst the participants, which helped the flow. He also showed considerable skill with the editing software required to make the newspaper itself. The computer screen was projected onto one of the walls at all times, allowing the audience to follow his progress. Obviously with an event such as this, much depends on the group and their willingness to cooperate but on opening night it worked well. There was something quite unique about this ramshackle, home-cooked happening, and something quite heart-warming about it also.

Deadline! by Conor O’Toole

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