“Ireland, Ireland – Together standing tall – Shoulder to shoulder – We’ll answer Ireland’s call.” So goes the chorus to the unofficial national anthem, whose lyrical claim to national identity is scrutinized in a climactic scene midway through this honest, hard-hitting play.
A one-man play written and performed by John Connors, of RTÉ’s Love/Hate and the film Cardboard Gangsters, Ireland’s Call explores the bygone misadventures of three northside working-class Dublin friends through the words of James (Connors).
Told in the traditional style of seanchaí Irish storytelling, where crowds would gather round and hang on the storyteller’s every word, Connors is similarly able to engage the audience and take them on a journey to the point of peak suspension of disbelief.
Seated in a lone spot lit chair in the centre of the stage, the Coolock native begins by introducing himself. He dips in and out of memories as he recalls childhood shenanigans with friends that gradually turn to exploits of drug and alcohol fueled good times. But what goes up must come down, and for James the comedown is fast and hard, and the people he loves most tumble down along with him.
An auditory adventure that is equally hilarious, uncomfortable and heartbreaking.
Director Jimmy Smallhorne does a brilliant job of keeping the physical action to a minimum so that each spoken word powerfully expresses the realities of those living life on the margins. Rose Ugoalah
Two performances in the Axis 11.30am & 8pm
Also in the Viking Theatre, Clontarf from Monday March 25 to Saturday March 30