This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub.
Fresh from this year’s Scene + Heard Festival, Aisling’s Seven has been developed over the last few months from a short work-in-progress to a fully fledged piece of theatre. Presented by “professional messers” Underdog Theatre Productions this is the story of the eponymous Aisling (Susan Barrett) and her boyfriend Dan (Stephen Gorman), who are both are sick and tired of their humdrum lives in Dublin.
Living a fairly squalid existence Aisling and Dan work hard but don’t seem to be making much progress in life, especially compared to Aisling’s more successful (and haughty) sister Aine (Sinead O’ Brien). They both dream of better things but are hindered by a lack of finances. Working in Dublin’s Central Bank, Aisling realises that she’s literally sitting on a fortune, if only she could get her hands on it. This leads to her having a hare-brained, get-rich-quick idea but unlike most people she doesn’t contemplate it for a few minutes and then brush it aside. Rather, she runs with it and allows it to become all consuming, dragging a more than willing Dan into the plot with her. Their plan to rob the Central Bank is flawed from the get-go, and their only real research is what they learn from watching old heist films. As their idea develops, and they try to hide it from the ever invasive Aine, they spend their haul before they’ve even got it. In the process they come to love the rush of adrenalin that their dastardly plan affords them.
Keeping in line with previous Underdog productions, Aisling’s Seven is hyper and fun from the very beginning. Written and directed by Cian Ó Ceallacháin the laughs as well as the drama are well paced and the inflated characters are perfectly in tune with the overall feel of the piece. Barrett gives a wholly commendable performance as Aisling; her clear sense of wanting more from life is not lost behind the humour and frolics. As the slightly gormless but incredibly likeable Dan, Gorman appropriately plays for laughs in his physicality and facial expressions. The interaction between Gorman and Barrett is well executed and their on stage relationship is the backbone of the entire piece. In the supporting role of Aine, O’Brien is the whining voice of reality and is necessary in grounding the story. Her uninvited analysis of the situation provides much humour in its own right and adds an extra dynamic to the overall storyline.
Linda Walsh’s original music flows well; at times being stylised to match the excitement and daring of this chaotic duo, while also soothing and enabling the more tender moments throughout. Lighting and special effects (Colm Horan) are used with much humour during this show as it momentarily dips from a flat in Ranelagh to a high octane Hollywood experience, complete with explosions.
Aisling’s Seven is a larger than life piece of theatre that doesn’t take itself too seriously; it is fun for fun’s sake and provides ample laughs in what is a fleeting escape from reality. This 70 minute show is ultimately a sweet tale of two people in love who go to extreme lengths to put a bit of spark back into their relationship, and life in general. The adventure it takes them on, and what they discover in the process, is priceless.
Director: Cian Ó Ceallacháin
Writer: Cian Ó Ceallacháin
Runs until 23 April 2016 @ Theatre Upstairs, Dublin
Image: courtesy of Underdog Theatre Productions