Comedy is such a difficult medium and even RTE and BBC have problems establishing shows and routines. With this in mind, I went to the An Audience With . . . by PushPull Productions at Garter Lane, for one night only, with more trepidation than anticipation. PushPull are a young company who think screenplay rather than play script. I missed their first two outings at the Granary and comment on those was mixed. Either I missed a great night or your wouldn’t have liked them.
This time, I had a great whale of a time, with some eager raw writing talent from Tarantino inspired and this brave step was vindicated. A capacity audience laughed a lot and so did I. Yes there is uneven and over-written passages, plotting is fast-forwarding and a good serious piece of drama failed to sparkle into comedy and I suspect the writer/director wasn’t going to stick to the storyline – an evening of comedy shorts.
Opening with Dean Sullivan’s sketch, Son Of The King – about an Irish son of Elvis, or as Sullivan delivers it – the greatest bit of Elvis memorabilia. The irreverence of his brother urinating at Graceland, was a howl and it was obvious that Dean Sullivan is a fine comedy performer.
A one-woman monologue by Jamie Flynn followed and Shauna Farrell, excelled in Something Blue, a good take on a wedding that goes horribly wrong. This was possibly the better piece of writing and made a good unity of purpose and presentation.
Dean Sullivan’s Billy Liar, closed the opening half with a typical riff on romcom with men thinking they knew that women want but the woman seems to know more. Elaine O’Brien was the cynical Amanda, and Ciaran Murphy and Darren Malone, were two stereotypes. Once again Sullivan shone as the Liar.
After the interval Annabelle’s Interview by Alan Cliff took 25 minutes to explore a sleazy strippers and blow jobs scenario. The writing built on the tension but the implied sexuality was mawkish, the work came across as serious, not comedic and this could be a fault of direction or clarity of purpose.
Jamie Flynn wrote and directed the closer, Dr. Dr.! set in a mental institution and it is to his credit that he got new-ish routines out of a stereotype. His characters helped as did fine performances. Ciara Dower was a howl as a paranoid freak and Darren Malone had great physical presence as a Kung-fu obsessed inmate. This was Fast Show meets Couples. Dearbhla Guinan had a lovely cameo, as a temptress.
Where do they go from here? Perhaps they could look at the hour-long work of the new rave festival in UK – the Bristol based Action Hero.
I want to see more of them, their audience want more and Waterford needs a PushPull.