All aboard for fantasy island

This story of one man’s fantasies is told with simple effectiveness


Confusion Boats

Smock Alley, Black Box Theatre


Gerard Kelly, like most of us, is a fantasist. He’s Rocky, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Bruce Lee, Eminem and a mafioso. This is his world, his failings laid bare, from childhood scraps on the estate to much more nuanced arguments with his girlfriend.

Kelly also happens to be hilarious. A verbal montage of a childhood pre-fight training exercise is thigh-slapping stuff. And he’s sensitive. Throughout, his imposing figure becomes increasingly small due to his scattered thoughts, neuroses and faltering masculinity.

The production is disrupted by an unnecessary soap opera-like scene that is tacked on towards the end. Like a lot of contemporary solo documentary theatre, everything is left on the stage. There’s no residual meaning bar one man’s story, and the voice-recorded finale feels forced.

Confusion Boats benefits hugely from Grace Dyas’s deft direction and Eoin Winning’s lighting design, which, like the story itself, is simple but well done.

Ends Sept 14