This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub.
In a slightly skewed reality Aodh and Bea are on their first date. Only it isn’t exactly the first time they’ve met. Thanks to the services of everlast.com, a controversial dating agency, users no longer have to tolerate an awkward or unpleasant evening. They don’t have to walk out on it either. They can simply reset the entire date at the press of a button and start afresh, in the hope that the next time round things will be different. It is unclear how long Aodh (Colm O’Brien) and Bea (Charlene Craig) have been caught up in the cycle of pressing the reset button, but they veer between always getting things right to getting them horrendously, but humorously, wrong. With each press of the reset button more and more of their individual stories emerge and in this piecemeal fashion the truth begins to out.
McDonnell takes a well used trope and gives it a fresh feel by adding an element of high concept. While the dialogue is a little wordy at times, though forgivable given that Bea is studying linguistics, the word play and humour is solid and fun. In a story that it repetitive by its very nature McDonnell’s writing is engaging and crisp enough to carry the plot. The dynamic between O’ Brien and Craig works very well under the direction of Ralli. Given the circuitous nature of their interaction and dialogue both actors manage to present their respective characters as new with each reset of their muddled date.
A simple but stylised set (Dylan Farrell) works very well with this high concept piece. Hard plastics and strip lighting, as well as neon accents, provide a slightly futuristic feel. Lighting (Teresa Nagel) and sound (Richard Dunning) are of particular importance during the reset scenes and these both ably keep the futuristic continuity ticking over.
Revolver is the first production of Sugar Coat Theatre and certainly bodes well for its future. This fast paced play, running just over an hour, explores the human desire for perfection and how in the quest for it we many overlook the things that really matter. It is complex at times but retains its sense of humour throughout and is certainly worth a visit.
Writer: Seanan McDonnell
Director: Matthew Ralli
Runs until 4 June 2016 @ Theatre Upstairs, Dublin
Image: courtesy of Theatre Upstairs