The End Of – Gutter Bookshop – Dublin Fringe Festival – Review
Tickets €11 – Dates Sep 17-21 / 23-24 @19:30
Other performance Sep 21 & 23 @21:30 – Tickets €14 / €12 conc.
Duration 65 mins – Venue: The Gutter Bookshop
Siobhan and Drew work in the Children’s section of a book shop. It is an hour before opening time and they are doing the usual jobs of sorting and pricing books when they find an unmarked box. The box contains a strange object that somehow defies the laws of physics. Drew doesn’t know much about maths and decides that it is an optical illusion, something along the lines of an Escher print and probably destined for the Art department. Siobhan thinks it is something more sinister and starts to investigate…
This is a new play written by Seanan McDonnell and produced by Sugar Coat Theatre. The most unusual thing about this production is that it takes place in a book shop! The Gutter Bookshop is at the end of Cow’s lane in Temple Bar. It is a seated production and the book shelves have been pushed back to leave an open space for the seating. The performance takes place at the checkout beside the door, with several rows of seats facing it.
The other creative aspect of the production is the involvement of “Master Magician” Davey McAuley. As the play is about an unusual object that starts to affect the nature of reality around it, the magician uses a variety of tricks of the trade to make objects move, books jump off shelves etc. It’s an enjoyable ruse and one that I’m surprised more theatre companies don’t indulge in.
The play has a slow start with the normal rituals and in jokes of any work place. The characters show their rivalries before eventually stumbling on the package. Although the early scenes are enjoyable, it may have made sense for the object to be introduced earlier in the proceedings. The play is basically a light hearted comedy and it is rare enough for a new play to explore the genre. Far too many plays feel the need for gritty realism, when light escapism is always welcome. There is some interesting wordplay as the characters snipe and score points off each other. The ending is a little too abrupt when it arrives, but this is possibly due to the limitations of a Fringe production. Although about the end of the world, don’t expect this one to be too much of a downer. As Michael Stipe once said ‘It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.’
CREATIVE TEAM –
Seanan McDonnell / Writer
Conor Hanratty / Director
Charlene Craig / Producer
Bill Woodland / Lighting & Sound Designer
Saileóg O’Halloran / Costume Designer