Unfit For Purpose – Smock Alley – Review
17 – 20 Jul 2019 | 8pm | Boys’ School
Ronny (Lorcan Strain) is down on his luck. He gave up his job in a factory and doesn’t know where he fits into the world. He’s been suffering with depression for a while now and is starting to seek help. He goes to his local GP for advice. That’s where he meets the unconventional Dr Marianne Mc Cormack (Teri Fitzgerald). She is a pillar of the local community but isn’t quite know how to deal with his problem. She is used to meeting people with colds or flu, and seems to struggle with this more esoteric ailment!
This is a new play, written and directed by Grace Corry. It was developed at Smock Allies: Scene + Heard Festival, and was originally part of the Five Lamps Arts Festival this year. It now has a home at Smock Alley for one week only.
The set is a pretty impressive rendering of a doctor’s surgery, complete with a desk and various filing cabinets. There are two skeletons, one standing to attention and the other reclining, with only its legs visible behind a screen. There are a variety of self-help and positive affirmation posters on the walls, and many of the phrases on these posters are repeated by the cast during the performance.
It is unusual for a modern play to make mental health the theme for a humorous story, as it is such a hot topic at the moment. Dr. Mc Cormack is the type of person who doesn’t really believe in depression and thinks the depressed individual needs to cop themselves on! This is the source of much of the humour as Marianne gives Ronny a variety of bad advice.
This is a light-hearted comedy that does not overstay its welcome. The play is very short at about 45 minutes and there is no conventional story arc. Instead, it is an extended comedy sketch, as we get to see the strained relationship develop between the two characters. Ronny is very much the straight man, allowing Dr. Mc Cormack to show the full range of her kooky behaviour. Teri Fitzgerald does very well with the character and seems to enjoy the part, it’s just a pity there’s not enough meat in the story for her to chew on.
WRITTEN + DIRECTED BY: Grace Corry
CAST: Teri Fitzgerald & Lorcan Strain