Ireland's Call review: A stark anthem to life on the margins

Dublin Fringe Festival: John Connors lends a charismatic presence to his polemical portrait of urban deprivation

Ireland’s Call: Written and performed by John Connors, the story is a familiar one

Ireland’s Call: Written and performed by John Connors, the story is a familiar one

 

IRELAND’S CALL

Bewley’s Café Theatre

★★★

Delivered in the cathartically honest style of a counselling session, John Connors’s monologue is as much stark parable as it is unvarnished portrait of life in economically marginalised Dublin. Written and performed by Connors, the story is a familiar one, tracing the foundering attempts by Coolock native James to escape social deprivation and troubled family history by any means he can find.

Whether it’s extravagant consumption of stimulants, hedonistic holidays, doomed relationships or drug-dealing, James finds that nothing can dull the pain of his upbringing, nor dampen his rage at the system that allows such injustices. It’s not a subtle polemic, but the sincere fury at contemporary Ireland is hard to deny.

Moreover, under Jimmy Smallhorne’s direction, the charismatic Connors brings vivid life to his character, whether consumed with anger and despair, or unleashing profane asides with verbal vim. And for all its bleak worldview, it’s a drama with a dogged faith in people, not least the flawed but appealing James. After all, anyone can’t stand the eponymous Irish rugby anthem is only human.

Runs until September 22nd

 

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