Etcetera, at Garter Lane Arts Centre, was the 14th Waterford Youth Arts Summer Project and this year a cast of 27 young performers made a mini-movie and a devised play on the classic theme of boy meets girl. Devised by the cast and then written and directed by Liam Meagher.
A bit long-winded, at 90 minutes without a break, it was enlivened by nifty humour, lots of exasperation and some excellent performances. They chose to take the audience behind the scenes as they devised and discarded wilder and wilder ideas. A bit like youths playing at play acting or pretending to pretend. So you got shouting bossy boots directors and a pink haired Martina Collender was a scream in the part complete with axe. Luke Carparelli had lots of good meaning lines and a running gag about trying to borrow others mobile phones in a rocking tunes sequence. Ben Quinlan settled for being gorgeous and Freddie Quinlan was impervious.
Hannah O’Sullivan was the girl and she shone in a sad scene. Alex Browne was cool and impressive in a Benny from Benny and Joon way. Zarima McDermott was excellent as the diva actress and her Dream Dance was a highlight. She was also the best dressed.
At times, the pace dragged and the cast forgot there was an audience to entertain, but the mini-movie was great fun and jokily well-made. Adult actors, Joe Meagher and Nick Kavanagh, were great onscreen presences and a quiet lesson in acting. Michael Power’s deadpan expressions as the Father was worth the admission price.
But the surprise of the evening was the gentle emerging of a love story between a splendid Eamonn O’Neill and Aisling Walsh who was wonderful with an economy of gesture and look.
Three lines stick in my mind. Luke Carparelli – can I use your mobile phone; Dnny Hale – girls are never happy and Luke again – God, I love showbusiness!
Other co-conspirators and improvisers were Richard Smyth, Beth Quinlan, Emmet Power, Rebecca Phelan, Emma Kearney, Shane Flynn, Kealon Foley, Sinead Bolger, Aoife Barron, Jenny Cullen, Ruth Connellan, Matt Foley, Emma Giles, Ciara Kavanagh, Sam Keating, Victoria Paperovska and Emma Power.