Connected @ The Project Arts Centre

February 21, 2011


An inability to talk is a common theme expressed on the Irish stage of late. From the Mark O Halloran double bill The Head of Red of Brien/Mary Motorerhead at Bewley’s Cafe Theatre to The God of Carnage at the Gate it is also central to this hangover from the Absolut Fringe Festival, Connected written and performed by Will Irvine & Karl Quinn. Ably acted and physically engaging it says nothing interesting about the new ways mankind have found to (not) communicate with one another but, like Celebrity before it, it is an entertaining, if empty, evening at the theatre.

Daz (Quinn) and Simon (Irvine) work for the internal accounts department, pushing paper and pissing about on the Internet, finding release in computer games, alternate realities and generally getting on each others tits. Daz is happy to scrape by in their boring 9-5’s, getting pissed 3 times a week and using Simon’s last-minute shit fits to feather his comfortable existence. Simon, meanwhile, is addicted to looking at a study abroad website, dreaming of do-gooder degrees in namby pamby courses like International Development while despairing at his friends lack of forward momentum. Together the pass the time insulting the size of each other’s genitals, questioning the others sexuality and discussing the women they left looking like a “painters radio”.

It’s a familiar scene for anyone who has worked for the man in one of those soulless industrial estates on Dublin’s South Side but beyond the comedy or recognition-and some suitably apt one liners- there is not much to like about either character. While Daz’s ineptitude grates, Simon’s shrill twatter makes the latters need to needle his mate comprehensible and while the constant juvenile innuendo, jokes about pronunciation and crude vernacular sets up the spine of this piece, it can be remarkably difficult to watch.

The build is interminable but once they go into their Second Life alter egos, LaLa and Sisyphus, the show ironically comes to life. Colin Maher’s lighting, Iseult Golden’s vibrant direction and the tightness of the actor’s movement fuse to involve the audience and ameliorate what went before. Saying through their avatars what they couldn’t say face to face, it only scratches the surface of the problems caused by aphasic male relationships, but there are some subtle touches (such as Simon leaving Daz a level behind in a game of Extreme Catch) that shows how this show might develop should the company decide to evolve it further.

Simon and Daz are realistic portrayals of men pegged by perpetual puberty. Unfortunately they’re a pair we neither care about nor root for making all the physical dexterity displayed by Quinn and Irvine bootless.

2.5/5

8.00PM
7 – 19 Feb 2011
Theatre
Space Upstairs

Tickets €15/12 (CONC)

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