Lad – Dublin Fringe Festival – Review
by Paddy McGovern
Performances – 17 – 21 September
Venue – The New Theatre
Steve is a lot of man for one man. In fact, he’s really two men, two personalities locked in a struggle: one decent, sensitive, considerate, respectful of women but crippled by self-doubt, the other a strutting, uber-confident, alpha male who sees women as merely objects to be seduced and dominated, existing for male gratification.
Is Steve a real man? If so, should he not be assertive, even stridently macho, letting a woman see who is boss? After all, that’s what women really want, isn’t it? Well, isn’t it? He’s not sure – and while his contradictory attitudes make for an entertaining hour’s theatre, they also invite the audience to take a hard look at young Irish men, especially in their approach to women, sex and equality.
Written and performed by Alan Mahon and Rhys Dunlop, One Duck Theatre’s fast-paced production is brimming with imaginative touches from director Thomas Martin and slick movement choreographed by Bryan Burroughs. Steve and his id are performed by Dunlop and Mahon, the former like a crude, hyperactive, athletic sex maniac, the latter reticent, shy, sexually frustrated and inhibited with women. As he prepares to deliver a best man’s wedding speech, quiet Steve’s decisions and revisions show the tension between the “sound lad” and the would-be cool guy, “one of the boys”.
Both performances are excellent. Scenes, locations and imagined characters are handled with deftness. There is a drift into repetitiveness, however, that even bravura performances cannot entirely conceal. Special mention must be made of the clever, witty and, shall we say, symbolic set design, constructed by Stephen Lockhart. But this is a company and a production that deserves to be seen. It continues until September 21st.