Monday, June 22, 2009

Play Review: All Over Town

I went to see this rather fine play this evening and wanted to share my thoughts on it. Kicking off the Queer Notions strand of performance, theatre and lectures that runs this week in conjunction with Dublin Pride, the play is a one man show about a young gay guy who runs off to find himself in Thailand and Australia. In just over an hour, he takes us on the whirlwind journey of being in the airpot, waving goodbye to friends, family and SIM card and waving hello to the bright lights of new places and new opportunities. It was staged two years ago but has been re-written since its original production.

The play is anchored by the riveting performance of Dylan Kennedy who is brilliant as the cocky yet naive, arrogant but innocent Sean, a brilliantly realised character. Sean is a perfect blend of exuberant adolescent offensiveness and youthful charm (though the insistence of having every second word he says be "totally" is both irritating and inaccurate. I can't think of anyone who says it. I think we're all stuck on how something is so annoying).

Kennedy sells the rather intense journey Sean goes on very well. We are right there with them as he surveys his new surroundings with a sense of awe and studied nonchalance. We feel that initial rush of power as his new found job takes a turn for the questionable. And we feel the unease that comes with realising that the life you've created for yourself could fall apart at any minute. (this sounds like a press release for the next Sex and The City movie doesn't it? Oh dear.)

The play does a fantastic job of taking us into both the glamour and the darkness of the new world Sean ends up in. It doesn't judge the characters or try to offer an easy way out but merely illustrates how quickly we can fall into situations that may or may not be the best thing for us. It is a powerful and punchy play that will make you think about your life and how you present yourself. The central conceit of the play that "Life isn't about finding yourself. It's about creating yourself." is a powerful one and you'll find yourself running the idea around your brain long after the play has finished.

The production is fantastic too. The lighting creates a fantastic sense of time and place and the use of the space and the beats Kennedy takes with the audience bring life to even the most darkest moments of the play.

This is a really engrossing and enjoyable piece of work, and one that starts the Queer Notions festival off with a bang. There is a wide range of shows to be seen (I'm gutted I'm without a ticket for Panti's "A Woman In Progress" which will no doubt be amazing) including performance art, drag, theatre and lectures.

For more information on the festival click HERE

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