Walkinstown – Smock Alley – Review by Frank L.
Mon 22 – Sat 3 Feb | 8pm – Boys’ School
Walkinstown written by Keith-James Walker
Keith-James Walker co-wrote with Ian Toner the well received “How To Build Your First Robot” in the 2014 Dublin Fringe Festival. Here in this two-hander he performs with Kieran Roche. They initially manifest themselves, draped in black, in the pair of apertures which look down on the Boys’ School Auditorium in Smock Alley. In the rhythm of the Lord’s prayer they recite a poem which refers to various Dublin districts. They then descend on to the floor of the theatre having discarded the black drapes and stand with their backs to the audience, moving in unison as if they were in some dance routine. They then turn around and start telling their tales of careering around Dublin expressing their fears and hopes. They are dressed in everyday gear and perform without any props. They are assisted from time to time by spotlights which fall on one or other of them. While there are no props there is a soundtrack which intermittently assists.
They speak quickly, often in verse, some times solo and sometimes in dialogue. The story takes them around the streets of Dublin and they even make it to Terminal 2 at the airport. There is an elusive girl Joanne who chimes into the story fairly often. Each of them is on a journey which digs into their pasts and also into their future. It is all very fast moving. There is no time for reflection as they hurtle towards their next verbal escapade. In this high-speed chase inevitably there are times when all is not as clear as one might like. However Roche and Walker are extremely well drilled and never miss a beat as they dash forward. As between the two of them they have a very good rapport. They are hand in glove.
The running time was advertised at 65 minutes but the play lasted about ten minutes longer. It is difficult to imagine the two actors speaking faster so one assumes the advertised time was somewhat of an underestimate. As their respective stories began to drag as they neared the end of their journeys the thought arose that some judicious editing would tighten up the piece for its overall benefit. However, this is an intense, verbal roller coaster.