This is NOT a Cult – Smock Alley – Review
by Frank L
In the advertising material for this production, it states it is set in “the near future (where) the seas have risen (and) the end times are nigh … you’re stuck singing and worshipping… in Athlone”!
The set consists of a large sofa centre stage with a Persian rug in front of it, along with a couple of chairs and a side table. The play begins with a voice-over which announces the catastrophic consequences of rising sea levels with the devastation of various coastal populations around Ireland with survivors fleeing to the sanctuary of Athlone. A movement has been created led by ‘Jesus 2’ (Eoghan Collins). He has four disciples, who have been saved and who rejoice in unlikely new names such as Abortion (Gemma Kane) and Porn (Tiernan Kearns). There is Sandy (conceived on a beach) played by Niall O’Brien and the Virgin Mary (Aoife Martin). The theatre company responsible for this production is No Desserts “which is devoted to bringing weird, wacky theatre to Irish audiences”. While the production does have songs, the theatre company are at pains to point out it is ‘not a musical’.
The story careers along over a series of happenings largely based on incidents from the Bible (with various additions and alterations) and on the habit of religious leaders having hidden (or not that hidden) sexual foibles.
There is also a band (more or less completely hidden from view) to accompany the songs. The five actors keep up a merry pace throughout the show and there are moments of high hilarity. They are well drilled in their various routines as they move from one crisis of faith in the group to the next. However, if you are a person with religious sensitivities it is quite likely that some of the material might seem offensive rather than funny.
It lasts almost two hours including an interval and at the end, the audience showed great enthusiasm for this absurd and irreverent new work.
Written by: Eoghan Collins
Directed by: Robbie O’Raw
Cast: Gemma Kane, Niall O’Brien, Tiernan Kearns, Eoghan Collins + Aoife Martyn
Light / Costume / Sound / Set Design: Aine O’Hara