So someone in Dublin writes a play that mashes up your relationship, your peccadilloes, anything that’s previously affected both of those fatal obsessions, Ireland’s economic and political place on the exploited edge of its ‘mother country’, and the West’s responsibility in a world leaking dangerously with refugees, death and disease from ideology-driven wars – that invisible slow-motion genocide, brings onto that harsh, angular stage the media’s fickle dealings with all of the above and the play wins some awards somewhere and why should we care?
Because, citizens of Adelaide, in the hands of these ‘instantly Irish’ graduating students at AC Arts and their precocious director, Charles Sanders, this strong, simmering brew – laced with live music, panto and hip-hop – wields a bread knife which will cut you to your core. It will make you laugh. It will hurt.
As couples struggle with affairs/love and here/there and us/them, we find innumerable resonances to the small worlds we occupy down here. In scenes that range from a handful of ejaculate needing disposal at an inopportune time, to a climax with all the impact of America Hurrah but involving projectile vegetables, we are all shown up for our personal and universal pettiness, while loving it.
It’s all there – our own romantic absurdity, our shortcomings, our own country’s lack of ability to handle British Separation Anxiety, a declining profile and profit, a depleted iron-ore heap, the slow decline of the collective brain drip-fed dopamine in daily doses, floss and dross which keeps us dumb or in well-controlled, ratings-measured indignation. It’s all there, but it hits here.
O Go My Man runs like a post-midnight channel surf in the hands of an ADD sufferer, but cohesion is constant: a Mike Leigh-ish loving obsession with the heart and hurt embedded in the ordinary and a refreshingly healthy respect for what theatre can do in basic ways: people, place, words, plot, guts.
Go for a great night out and stay for the sheer skill of this company, the directorial elan. Go just to see why Stella Feehily got that award, why the Royal Court picked this up. Go for the sobering lesson and stay for the drunken food fight, but just go – it finishes Saturday and you’ll not see the like of it for a while.
O Go My Man, by Stella Feehily, runs until December 6 at the Adelaide College of the Arts, Main Theatre, 39 Light Square, Adelaide.
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