Richard Lynch brought his own one-man show, From The Shoulders Down, to Garter Lane and entertained a receptive audience with his story of P J Mulpeter, a builder’s labourer. In one sense I was expecting wither a version of Domnnaill MacAmhlaigh’s, An Irish Navvy, or an England saved Ireland lost, but Lynch gave us a more mundane stay-at-home Midland labourer, who worked for fifty years with an almost dull but crafty family firm. And early on I missed the depth and characterisation that the various people needed to create larger than life moments.
But it was the wonderful mime sequences at Mass and at confession that gradually won me over and in the second half his fine singing voice from Eileen Reid’s – Are You Teasing Me and a Buddy Holly song, impressed.
The setting was minimal with two chairs, a concrete block and a standing rack for high viz tabard, pick, shovel, brush and hardhat.
He opened with – Ye know what? ‘Tis better it’s getting and we were off through the same – the wan 4/6pence – schooldays. Then working on the bog, before graduating to Marquee dancing; suit and brylcreme and a ceili band.
I wanted more of the ace plasterer, The Hat Reilly, and Larry Lick Arse O’Leary was a cut-out. The timeframe puzzled me at times but Lynch won me over by sticking to his task. I sensed the heartbreak of a failed romance but felt it was a structural fault, that by the end of the show he had educated himself and become a writer.