Monday, March 14, 2011

Explosive Grenades

I've complained (who hasn't) about the ubiquity of one-person shows before on this blog, but having seen a good decent sized-cast in the last 4 things in Limerick: (The Rabbithole, The Mai, The Glass Menagerie and Tartuffe) my palette was nicely cleansed for a decent 'one-personer' as I ambled down towards The Locke Bar last Friday to see 'Grenades' in the Loft venue.

The company presenting it was 'Mephisto' and all I knew of them was that they had brought 'The World's Wife' to the Loft a couple of weeks before Spinal Krapp and I'd missed it.
I wasn't happy with the attendance of 'Spinal Krapp'; I wanted it to sell out more nights than it did. I remember the Bot-Dogs response to my frustration was to tell me the play was doing better than 'The World's Wife' had done.

After Friday night I have begun to appreciate what an absolute tragedy this must have been. If the Bot-Dogs weren't just being kind to me, and Mephisto's 'The Worlds Wife' was even half the show that 'Grenades' is, then I can actually think of nothing worse. It causes me pain and it causes me shame. But I'll move on.

What has me so very enthusiastic about 'Grenades' was the sheer quality and control in the performance of Emma O'Grady. It was a virtuoso piece of acting that came across as a work of courage and... yes I'll say it, as work of perfection. The sound was great, I found the stage set okay but not particularly relevant and the technical effects could have been a tad slicker but really, it mattered not a jot, because the performer never relied on any of these things for a nanosecond.

She was the play, and she knew she was and so did we and it was great and you really should've been there you fool.

The script won the P.J.O'Connor award for Radio drama and it transports effortlessly to the stage; combining nostalgia, comedy, music, drama and action in a very satisfying blend that never lets go it's grip on the audience.

Because I enjoyed it so much, I've been thinking about it quite a bit and I do have a couple of micro-niggles with the script, as I remember it. I can't describe this without ruining the show for anyone who hasn't seen it, so I'll put it in white (so's you have to 'select' it to read it). -{click'n'drag}
Right, the 'badges' that her brother wore; the bad guy is wearing a badge that she identifies with his collection and this identifies him as what? A corpse robber? Her brothers' murderer? It's a pivotal point, so how come it isn't more clear? How does someone remove a badge from somebody blown into the water from a grenade explosion anyway? Also, how come her Ma got 10 years for shooting someone who had doused her in petrol and threatened to set her on fire? Clear case of self-defence surely?

The show is on in Derry in March(19) and Nenagh in April(23).

If you live in either place and you miss it, I have no sympathy for you.

'Grenades' by Tara Mckevitt. Starring Emma O'Grady. Production Director Caroline Lynch.

Produced by Mephisto Galway.

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