The Wickedness of Oz – Project Arts Centre – Review by Frank L.
Written and performed by Kate Gilmore
Dates: 25 Feb – 02 Mar 2019
This single hander was originally seen in 2016 in the Fringe Festival in Bewley’s Cafe Theatre. It was then converted into a radio play for Radio One, for which Gilmore won the Writers Guild ZeBBie award in 2017 for best script.
Gilmore now returns with it to the Cube where the space is configured with a central longitudinal stage with three rows of seating on each side, facing each other. On arrival (at the entrance-end) Gilmore is wedged into a box above which on the wall are various knick knacks; at the other end is a dressing table around which are various gilded picture frames and within each is a light bulb. During the performance, Gilmore utilises the entire length of the stage as she reveals her character Debbie’s fears and hopes.
Debbie has graduated from the Dublin Business School the previous year with a degree in hospitality. The challenges of her job are not of the greatest concern to her. The issues that obsess her are her relationship with friends and family. We meet her boyfriend Arran, his workmate Ciara (from Cabra) , her best friend Ali, and a multitude of others. The various incidents which happen are highlighted by suitable excerpts from the musicals which Gilmore delivers with a confident gusto.
Gilmore’s script is engaging as she brings the various characters to life. She is adept at having her characters make comments which they think are helpful but when put into context are anything but. This coupled with Gilmore’s vitality as she moves along the stage ensures that this trip into a young women’s anxieties and dreams is at all times on the button.
Gilmore was correct to revive this show and undoubtedly the audience loved it. It is an ideal piece of theatre for the intimacy of The Cube.