As the Young Critics hit the stage of the Dublin Theatre Festival on Oct 9th , we will publishing a series of written reviews from our Young Critics.
In the first of our reviews Louis Flanagan from Droichead Youth Theatre reviews Calipo Theatre Company’s production of Glitch by Martin Maguire
Glitch by Martin Maguire
Produced by Calipo Theatre Co.
Directed by Darren Thornton
Cast: Martin Maguire & Grainne Rafferty
June 22nd- 24th 2016
Calipo Theatre Company’s return to theatreland has been a long time coming. Nearly five years after the success of Pineapple by Philip McMahon at the 2011 Drogheda Arts Festival, the troupe recently pounced back on our stages with a fresh and authentic piece of work called Glitch.
Time may have passed but the Calipo team remains as strong as ever, with director Darren Thornton – currently in the spotlight for his acclaimed feature film A Date For Mad Mary – and writer/performer Martin Maguire reigniting a theatre partnership that stretches back almost twenty years.
Glitch has a simple plot – it follows the story of broadcaster Mike Adams (Maguire), whose drivetime radio show has dominated the landscape for nearly fifteen years but whose popularity is diminishing. Everything appears to be changing – the politics, the technology, the public opinion. The media has become increasingly fast-paced and suffocating and Mike is under fierce pressure to change as well.
Constantly in denial and trying to escape his commitments, Mike is faced with a crisis when Jesse (Grainne Rafferty) emerges – a bitter and stubborn caller, who ends up alone on the air with Adams, following a technical glitch. For rest of the piece, we see Mike and Jesse engage in a battle of wits. Amazingly, these two characters never come face-to-face, which Jesse positioning her battle station behind Maguire, which spends most of the performance downstage.
On paper, Glitch does not make a striking impression. However, this production was not only executed sharply but had an incredibly original and innovative design. Kieran McNulty’s set was spacious and vibrant, comprising of an orange desk and vertical fluorescent lights emerging from the polished, black floor.
While the set was imposing and eye-catching, it was the sound design by Jack Cawley which made the greatest impression. Cawley successfully compiled over fifty voiceovers to create an array of different characters, from frustrated callers to newscasters to the people prominent in Mike’s life. Despite just two actors onstage, the flawlessly executed sound design created the illusion that there were many more.
Glitch is Maguire’s first play in nearly ten years. In fulfilling the challenging task of being both writer and performer, Maguire’s nerves were evidently visible onstage on the night I saw the show, and his delivery was sometimes unclear and unsteady. However, he maintained an excellent chemistry with Rafferty, who herself gave a robust and fiery performance as a single mother caught up in the struggles and prejudices of modern Ireland.
Tough on the surface, through lengthy and passionate conversations both Maguire and Rafferty’s characters’ softer, weaker sides are revealed. Both are isolated and have problems, and both have continuously disappointed the people in their lives. Through some particularly heartfelt monologues, we learn about Mike’s relationship with his elderly parents and his father’s final hours alive.
Overall, Glitch was a highly enjoyable production. Thornton’s ability to make the audience become invested and engrossed in Mike and Jesse’s strained lives demonstrates his excellence as a director.
Louis is an NAYD Young Critic for 2016 and a member of Droichead Youth Theatre
Come join Louis and all our Young Critics on October 9th at 1pm at Project Arts Centre. They will be critiquing three productions as part of Dublin Theatre Festival 2016.