Ross O’Carroll-Kelly’s Postcards from The Ledge – Gaiety Theatre – Review by Fran Winston
The Gaiety Theatre, South King Street Dublin 2. Until April 14th
7.30pm nightly with 2.30pm matinee on Saturday 14th
Love him or loathe him, rugby jock Ross O’Carroll-Kelly is now a bona fide pop icon. Even if you haven’t followed his adventures from day one he has a way of tapping into the zeitgeist meaning that everyone can relate to his adventures on some level. Here we fast forward to 2029 where our eponymous hero (or anti-hero depending on your feelings) is the MD of estate agents Hook, Lyon and Sinker. Arriving to value a charming abode with scope for improvement (or in lay terms an ugly, structurally unsound hovel that needs the plumbing and electrics redone) he is taken aback when he realises it was, in fact, his childhood home.
Thus begins a trip down memory lane as he recalls his upbringing reflecting on everything from his parent’s relationship to his first crush. All the while he is fielding calls from assorted family members since this also happens to be his daughter Honor’s wedding day – but he is refusing to give her away.
Rory Nolan reprises the role of Ross that he has played to great acclaim in the previous three stage outings over the past decade. However, this time around there is no supporting cast (other than on the end of the phone) and it is left to him to tell the story. To command an audience for what is basically a two-hour monologue is no mean feat and Nolan is extremely impressive. His energy is infectious as he bounds through the story channelling Ross’s legendary arrogance and swagger.
While other characters come and go via telephone calls, Nolan’s co-star here really is the set which is very effective. Set Designer Grace Smart has created a fantastic backdrop for the show featuring the façade of the aforementioned house and its front yard and immediate surrounds. It allows Nolan plenty to work with as he segues between ROCK’s yarns.
There were some sound issues on the night I attended but I’m sure these will be rectified and overall the sound design works with the phone calls and other interruptions to ROCK’s train of thought appearing seamless.
What elevates this above just a guy on a stage telling a story are the zinging one liners buried throughout the script. Many of the circumstances that Ross finds himself in are pretty everyday fare. But it is the inverted snobbery and writer Paul Howard’s ability to mine a gag from even the most seemingly mundane circumstance that really keeps the momentum going. Very few people won’t find something to laugh at in this.
This is far from a deep thought-provoking drama and it’s not going to leave you pondering the meaning of life. But it will tickle your funny bone and raise your spirits. It feels far shorter than its 2-hour running time (which is always a good sign) and you’ll exit the theatre with a smile on your face which should qualify as a good evening’s entertainment by anyone’s standards.