Brendan Galileo for Europe review: A frenetically enjoyable one-man show

Dublin Fringe Festival: Fionn Foley is irresistible as an anti-establishment politician

Brendan Galileo for Europe: Fionn Foley tells performs multiple roles with comic gusto. Photograph: Cáit Fahey


Bewley's Cafe Theatre
★ ★ ★
Ireland is at a crossroads, Brendan Galileo, a failed Dáil candidate, says at the start of this frenetically enjoyable one-man show by the actor and writer Fionn Foley. The problem is that Brendan's west-Galway hometown has been bypassed by a motorway, leaving his granny's music school at the mercy of rapacious politicians and developers, forcing him to rekindle his electoral aspirations, this time for the European Parliament. This apparently simple set-up then takes a twist, as Brendan decides he needs a continent-wide musical platform for his campaign.

Under the direction of Jeda de Brí, Foley tells his story at manic tempo, performing multiple roles with comic gusto. At times the characterisation tips into the grotesque and the dramatic devices stray into zany territory, but there is also much surreal invention, and the pace ensures boredom isn’t an issue. Above all, Foley’s performance is irresistible. By the end the anti-establishment theme unexpectedly takes a – gasp – moderate turn: like his astronomer namesake, Brendan discovers that the universe doesn’t revolve around his locale, but that doesn’t mean it’s insignificant.

Runs until Saturday, September 22nd