If We Got Some More Cocaine I Could Show You How I Love You – Project Arts Centre – Review
One Duck and Project Arts Centre Present – If We Got Some More Cocaine I Could Show You How I Love You
Dates: 16 Jan – 03 Feb – Show Time: 7.45pm – Tickets: €14 – €16
We are introduced to the two characters as they scramble onto the roof of a house. Mikey and Casey are hiding out and the flashing blue light of a police car can be seen below. The two have just robbed a petrol station and are now stuck in this unlikely spot. They empty their pockets to see what they managed to get on their night of plundering and settle in to wait for the police to leave. One is a young black man that arrived in Ennis five years ago when his mother emigrated. He has always felt like an outsider for a variety of reasons. The other is a local man with anger issues, who is always looking for a fight to prove himself. The most unusual aspect of this tale is that these two criminals are also lovers.
This is the Irish première of this play by John O’Donovan that explores the lives of these two characters on Halloween night in Ennis. As they wait on the roof they start to talk about their lives and share things they haven’t told each other previously. We hear of the various types of discrimination they suffered at the hands of the community around them. Casey has lived with an abusive stepfather for many years and is not comfortable with others finding out about his sexuality. Mikey has taken another approach, everyone knows he is gay and he is willing to fight anyone that has a problem with it!
A version of this play was already performed in a small theatre in London and received a number of awards and positive reviews. The play runs at the Project Arts Centre before moving to Galway and eventually returning ‘home’ to Ennis. It is writer John O’Donovan’s first full length play and is a remarkable debut. While it is difficult for a play based purely on dialogue to hold the attention of the audience throughout, it does have moments of real insight and humour.
The two cast members also show considerable skill. Alan Mahon plays the older Mikey as a wild and flamboyant character and it is hard not to like him despite his obvious flaws. Josh Williams plays Casey as a young man coming to terms with the world around him and slowly figuring out his place in it. While the on stage chemistry doesn’t quite sparkle between the two, they both embrace the parts with Williams particularly enjoyable.
In terms of the writing, this is as rich a debut as I can remember in recent years. O’Donovan has already received considerable recognition and his work has been read or staged in Ireland by the Abbey Theatre and also the Old Vic in London. He is certainly a name to watch out for in future. It is rare to see a gay story about two people at the lower end of society and the tale does have something quite unique. The stage is also worthy of a mention as the two actors are on a sloped roof for the duration, constantly battling the forces of gravity. Despite the recent victory of the Marriage Equality Referendum this work acts as a reminder that the battle against discrimination is ongoing and this work is an insight into the lives of two outsiders who continue the fight in their own way.
Writer: John O’Donovan
Director: Tom Martin
Movement Director: Sue Mythen
Set and Costume Designer: Georgia de Grey
Lighting Designer: Derek Anderson
Associate Lighting Designer: Sheila Murphy
Sound Design and Composition: Jon McLeod
Cast: Alan Mahon and Josh Williams
Original Casting by: Verity Naughton
Production Manager: Eoin Kilkenny
Producer: Alan Mahon