Tonic: The utopia of 2021, revisited with the Amazing Calibri Triplet Family Band

Dublin Fringe Festival 2021: Fionn Foley and Rough Magic’s production is a collaboration of comedic and musical talent

Dublin Fringe Festival 2021: Tonic, by Fionn Foley, staged at Dublin Castle by Rough Magic. Photograph: Jed Niezgoda

Dublin Fringe Festival 2021: Tonic, by Fionn Foley, staged at Dublin Castle by Rough Magic. Photograph: Jed Niezgoda

 

TONIC

Dublin Castle
Dublin Fringe Festival

★★★★☆
It is 2047, the apocalypse is burning to its smouldering end and the world’s warring superpowers are struggling to save humanity from ruin. But wait: what’s this miracle cure that the Vultura Corporation has just released? Do you want to know more? Ask the Amazing Calibri Triplet Family Band, who can fill you in on all the details about Halcyon, a wonder tonic that can transport you back to the utopia of 2021.

The opening advertisement for Halcyon’s promised miracles sets out the satirical intentions of Tonic, Fionn Foley’s musical, staged by Rough Magic, which flirts with our jaded contemporary souls, providing recognition as well as escapism from postpandemic woes. A loose narrative of sibling rivalry draws us in, but it is the use of music as a storytelling tool – Arthur Riordan’s influence here seems important to namecheck – that makes Foley’s theatrical concept sing.

Fionn Foley draws from a folk and trad register for most of the music, but the references range from pop and rock to advertising jingles. The tone is upbeat, jaunty, even as songs’ lyrics remind us of the planet’s doom

Foley draws from a folk and trad register for most of the music, but the references range from pop and rock to advertising jingles. The tone is upbeat, jaunty, even as songs’ lyrics remind us of the planet’s doom.

All the music is played live by Foley, Aoife Kelly and Juliette Crosby, who bring individual strengths that work harmoniously together to create the production’s cohesion. Director Ronan Phelan nimbly choreographs the performers on Zia Bergin-Holly’s compact set, which is a giant display cabinet for the Calibri’s many instruments and the bright blue tonic they hope to persuade us to believe in.

The audience may not get on board with Halcyon as Tonic comes to a fittingly cataclysmic end, but they will certainly be persuaded by this collaboration of comedic and musical talent.

Runs outside the Printworks at Dublin Castle until Sunday, September 19th, as part of Dublin Fringe Festival

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