The Cyclone Kid – Bewley’s Café Theatre – Theatre Review
by Paddy McGovern
WALKABOUT THEATRE – The Cyclone Kid – July 14 – 24, 2021
Time: 1pm & 3pm Wed-Sat
Venue: Merrion Square
High on the list of arts groups who have performed miracles of innovation, imagination and gritty determination to maintain audiences committed to live performance, are Bewley’s Café Theatre. The group commissioned a series of plays suitable for walkabout or outdoor theatre, now presented in a season of highly successful productions. The final production of their current season is The Cyclone Kid, written and performed by Sam Ford.
Once Dublin’s third-most-highly rated tour guide and son of Dublin’s – nay Ireland’s – third-most-highly rated harpist, Gabriel lives a happily conventional life with his partner, Katie, in their flat in Portobello. Until, that is, the gods of chance and happenstance combine to produce a result no one could have predicted when an interloper from another cultural planet, a world of colour, confidence and pzazz arrives on the scene.
Gabriel’s conversations with the Mammy and his surprisingly urbane grandad, explaining the changes in his new life, offer a great opportunity for comedy that is briefly exploited – but great figures from Irish history await us, so we move on.
Ford has chosen the economical and practical structure of a guided tour of the statues of Merrion Square, leading the audience around, musing and speculating about the lives, times and relationships of characters from Mother Ireland to Michael Collins to Bernardo O’Higgins and Oscar Wilde. In between, we are treated to highlights of Gabriel’s experience, herding cruise ship visitors and creating a major diplomatic upset in Anglo-Irish relations. It is a most entertaining and diverting piece, a tonic for those of us starved of live theatre for so long, in a charismatic performance by its creator.
Audiences meet at the entrance to Merrion Square East (opposite the Goethe Institute) at about 12: 50 pm for 1 pm performance, ending at about 2. Go, you will certainly enjoy yourself, though it may make you nervous about beautiful South Americans who can land on your doorstep – with unforeseeable consequences!