Silent at the Peacock Theatre
October 24, 2013
In Space, nobody can hear you scream. On Earth, or at least if you live on the streets of Dublin, few people would care if you did. That seems to be the message behind Pat Kinevane’s Silent, an achingly funny monologue show that looks at one man’s ‘mental health’ and homelessness, where each belly laugh leaves us that little bit more exposed, our own silence and neglect providing the hard landing to his banana peel humour.
“If anyone asks, I’m not here,” says Tino McGoldrig, as he emerges from beneath his blanket, a scarred soul emerging from the tattered larvae of living. Named after that star of the silent silver screen, Rudolph Valentino, he embalms his precarious mind with thoughts of his brother Pearse (named for the rebel hero), exhibiting traits of both icons as his psychosis takes hold. As his past inaction haunts his present distraction, the downfall of both men are inextricably linked and enlivened by movement, sound and mime.
The silent movie aesthete frames the show as Tino enshrines the beauteous memory of his brother, ‘The faggot’, and his suffering at the hands of the villainous parochial prigs. Setting striking poses against voiced over prose, where profanity dissolved into poetry it successfully imparts profundity to the audience. While his less heroic description of his own ruin, breaking the fourth wall like a stand up comedian to laugh with – and at, the audience, is bereft of anger and self pity, which elicits the tragedy from the comedy.
Working with and against Dennis Clohessy’s soundscapes, these conflicted representations reveal Tino’s torment, placing his blood sacrifice against a cinematic backdrop. His barbarous tongue humerously lets rip at the state of the health services and those on offer to the homeless while reveling in prejudice and habit of everyday people. Yet all the while it is really a whip to thrash his own back for staying mum.
It’s a masterful performance. One that works largely due to the fact that Kinevane is still asking the questions inherent in his text. He’s toured this show for well over a year now and can anticipate a laugh but it’s not his own way with words that enthrall him. It’s just how absurd he still finds the truth within the punchlines. His ability to impart this connection to the audience makes us laugh all the harder and shames us all the more, his quicksilver thoughts slamming the brakes on when we’re laughing most.