24 Hours from Tulsk – Viking Theatre – Review
by Frank L.
Written by Michael O’Sullivan
Initially, there is a park bench at the front of the stage which enables Feargal (Seamus Moran), a mature bachelor who is up in Dublin for the day from Ballaghadereen, to encounter Ruby (Deirdre Monaghan) who is sitting on the bench while doing a crossword. Each explains how their respective lives have been upended by reverses suffered on well known television programmes; he as a contestant, she as an actress. He is smitten by her and invites her to come to Ballaghadereen. The bench is then removed and the stage consists primarily of a sofa and a desk. Behind the desk is one Dr. Phil (Brendan Conroy) a psychiatrist of dubious repute. He has a stepson Murty, a twenty-four old, who is at a permanent loose end. A series of unlikely encounters, sometimes of an amorous nature take place, between Ruby and these three disparate men when Ruby makes a visit to Ballaghadereen.
While there are some gags in the script which raise a smile they are overwhelmed by the bizarreness of the situations within which they emerge. Each event stretches your credulity further. One such extraordinary event is the subject of a television news report which is shown. As a send-up of a news report it was all the better for being close to the reality of live television reporting with the inevitable obligatory vox pop where the contributors add little or nothing to what is being reported – so much inconsequential blather.
The first part of the play lasts about an hour. It was always going to be a challenge to bring many of these far-fetched elements of the plot together and so it proved in the second part which lasts about a half an hour. That said, the audience appeared to love it and gave it warm applause at the end.