Bewley’s Cafe Theatre, DublinThe Candidate, by Gina Moxley, is a frothy fusion of frivolous holiday romance and social satire. In both its form (one-act, first-person monologue) and setting (the departure lounge of an international airport) it is the quintessential globalised millennium play. But it is critical of, rather than aspirational to, the vacuous material lifestyle and seedy political drama that its heroine, thirtysomething singleton Myra, finds herself embroiled in.
Myra (the buxom bombshell Frances Healy) has escaped to an exotic island hoping for a holiday fling only to find herself surrounded by honeymooning couples. Seeking solace and company in the hotel bar, she meets and falls into bed with an Irishman whose bad suit and livid sunburn belie bedroom moves that Myra never even knew were possible. It turns out, however, that he’s a TD, and Myra soon learns that she was foolish ever to trust a politician.
Healey relates Myra’s bedroom antics with personable candour over a glass of something luminously potent as she waits to be called for her flight. But there are plenty of social and cultural observations, too, in her raucous monologue: the exploitative economy of luxury holidays and female sexuality in the postfeminist age, for example, although the barely sketched backstory of Myra’s “disappointed pregnancy” attempts to layer psychological realism on top of an already crowded storyline to unconvincing effect.
The writing is at times more literary than dramatic, with devastating descriptions tripping a little too easily off Myra’s acid tongue: “Lies poured out of him like scutter out of a bull.” But the caustic reversal of chick-lit cliches that Moxley achieves with her mordant humour is ultimately satisfying, and The Candidate is a pleasantly escapist confection for a lunchtime hour in rainy July.
Until July 21st