This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub.
Quincy (Michael-David McKernan) is entered into a reality singing contest, The Voice Factor as a joke by his friends. The point of the contest, which is admittedly a rip-off of several other singing contests, is to focus on singer-songwriting talent rather than simply vocals. What Quincy’s friends do not realise it that the cocky young man has a penchant for singing in the shower and armed with a song his father taught him as a child he manages to make it through the audition. As the competition progresses, Quincy decides that rather than simply having the craic he could actually make a go of things as it might be his one big chance in life. A litany of other characters, from his old-school Dublin buddies to flamboyant German PR personnel and sexy makeup artists, help and hinder Quincy as he makes his journey from an everyday nobody to being on the brink of stardom.
This two-hander, written by and starring McKernan, pokes fun at modern society’s reliance on social media and the warped version of life it reflects back at them. As jack-the-lad Quincy, McKernan bounds through the story of how he has gotten to where he is right now- about to perform in the final of a talent show that he did not even enter himself into. He is joined on stage by a variety of characters, all played with gusto by Daryl McCormack. McCormack is pure comedic gold as he alters character so rapidly and proficiently that it’s hard to keep track. It seems there is no role he cannot master and, under the direction of Rosa Bowden, there are moments of almost riotous laughter.
In a show about a TV talent programme it’s no surprise that sound (Seamus Ryan) and lighting (Shane Gill) play a key role. This is mostly understated though punctuated with moments that, like any TV show, are over the top. Thankfully this adds to the overall feel rather than detract from it and key moments are well timed and precise. The set (Tiarnán Fallon Verbruggen) consists of two road cases, both of which are moved around the stage by the cast to indicate different times and places. This simplicity work well and gives an element of backstage insider knowledge to the show within a show.
Presented by Reality:Check Productions, The Voice Factor [X] is Michael-David McKernan’s first foray into playwriting and a strong indictor of greater things to come. Its comedic element alone provides ample laughs but the cutting satire that lies beneath is what gives this 60 minute piece its edge. In a world where love is measured in social media likes, nothing is truly meaningful and the dreams you are following might not even be your own. The Voice Factor [X] is big on laughs with tongue firmly in cheek but its underlying message is inescapable. Getting an audience to laugh is one thing, getting them to laugh at themselves is quite another; The Voice Factor [X] does both with apparent ease.
Writer: Michael-David McKernan
Director: Rosa Bowden
Runs until 21 January 2017 | Image: Reality Check Productions