This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub.
Growing up in the shadow cast by their father’s limelight wasn’t easy for Dolly and Teddy, especially when Daddy was a notoriously bad ventriloquist with emotional issues. This lack of stability resulted in their mother leaving and Teddy eventually having his own breakdown. Following in daddy’s footsteps, Dolly (Niamh McGrath) has her own children’s ventriloquism show and continuing in the family tradition she too has a breakdown on live television. Now unemployed and having lost a lot of her fortune she is faced with returning to the family home where reclusive, and heavily in debt, Teddy (Donncha O’Dea) resides. Neither of them have spoken to each other in years but circumstance being what it is they must learn to work together if they are both to get back on their feet.
From the get-go Dummy doesn’t take itself too seriously and its over the top characterisations are rightly played for laughs. Under Sarah Finlay’s direction McGrath and O’Dea give solid comedic performances and their synergy results in plentiful chuckles. Peter Dunne’s story, while fun and emotive at times, feels somewhat unsure of itself and this results in a very mixed 80 minutes. Careening from family drama to variety show there is a lot, perhaps too much, happening within the story. Though the individual elements all work well, including the lighting design (Eoin Lennon), they don’t come together as they should, which is a shame given the talent on stage.
Dummy is an entertaining show with a lot of potential but becomes muddled quite frequently. Much like the ventriloquist dummies on stage the story doesn’t quite do what is expected of it but that doesn’t mean there isn’t fun in the chaos.
Note: Contains adult themes.
Writer: Peter Dunne
Director: Sarah Finlay
Runs until 16 September 2017 | Image: Contributed