Selvage – Smock Alley – Review
1 – 4 Dec – 8pm – Boys’ School
Brú Theatre Company presents Selvage
Joe Fanny lives with his Granny in a small town. One day, while Joe is on an epic journey to his local convenience store, his Granny decides to stick it to the patriarchy by burning down City Hall. While her efforts are not totally in vain, she is arrested at the scene of the crime, and locked in prison! What does this mean for Joe? He is lost in a world of social services, fostering and Tulsa. All the while, he awaits the outcome of his grandmother’s trial!
If this all sounds quite serious, it really isn’t! This is a twisted fairy tale told by sole performer James Riordan, who plays all the various characters with intensity and a touch of madness. The initial scenes are performed with shadow puppets, with the inventive use of an old-style overhead projector. There are also other full-size puppets on stage, along with some miniatures, as Joe battles with his real enemy, his anxiety!
There is also a musical element to the production with Anna Mullarkey adding a score to the proceedings. Her muted piano and percussion sounds add an interesting if subtle layer to the play.
While there is no full set and much is left to the imagination, there are a number of different settings recreated on stage. There is a large wooden contraption on stage, which looks like a gallows and is used for a variety of purposes. There are also desks, computers and sofas used for different locations, all moved with minimal fuss.
The star of the show is James Riordan who plays a multitude of creepy and overzealous characters that Joe encounters along the way. Most of them are well-meaning but they’re all unusual, to say the least. James is a bundle of energy on stage as he moves between the various over-the-top characters.
You can also expect a degree of audience participation, and even those that hide away in the back rows are not ignored.
This is a show that could easily be altered to suit a teenage audience, with a reduction of bad language. There is much humour and energy that would suit a younger audience. This is a fun and irreverent show that will put a smile on many a face. James Riordan is a live wire entertainer who creates a feeling of madness for all to enjoy.
Written and performed by James Riordan.
Original Music by Anna Mullarkey.
Directed by Lara Campbell.
Produced by Jill Murray.
Dramaturg: Hanna Slattne.
Lighting Design by Sarah Jane Shields
Set Design by Gavin Morgan.
Puppetry design by Gala Tomasso
Prop/Mask design by Orla Clogher