Everything is Grand, and I’m Completely Okay – Smock Alley – Review
Malachy has just turned 25. He googles ‘Advice for turning 25’ to see what words of wisdom he can find for people his age. The majority of the lists he finds are aimed at American audiences and don’t quite fit with his life. That’s why he’s decided to make his own list and share it with us!
This is a one-man show written and performed by Conor Burke. He introduces us to Malachy, a young gay man finding his place in the world. He still lives with his parents and works in a call centre, dealing with complaints for a refuse disposal company. During the day he has to stay calm while people vent their anger at their bins not being collected! We hear about nights out with his best friend Pauline, his bosses called simply the two Sarahs, and also his younger brother Fiachra, who died long before his time.
The production is performed as a talk, with Malachy speaking directly to the audience with a microphone from centre stage. There are also moments of audience participation, as we’re encouraged to sing along to a Spice Girl ‘classic’. At times, it has the feel of a stand-up comedy routine, but often the jokes don’t quite land as the character of Malachy exudes nervous energy on stage. He’s a dedicated employee and loves his job, but has been encouraged to think ‘outside the box’, which is the purpose of this show!
The subject matter of the play, other than the death of a sibling, is relatively small in scope. It’s an insight into the life of a young man who is struggling with the modern world. The most impressive element was the performance of Conor and the warmth and humanity he brings to the character of Malachy.
At the end of the show, after the final applause, Conor thanked the audience and said that this production had received no funding, and talked briefly about the difficulties facing new theatre companies. It is always impressive to see a young theatre company fighting their corner, and Eruption Collective are a new name to watch out for.
WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY Conor Burke
DIRECTED BY Lesley Conroy
LIGHTING + SOUND DESIGN BY Aidan Cooney
PRODUCED BY Lisa Nally