- Chris O'Rourke
Reboot Live: Episode Six
Reboot Live: Episode Six.Image Uncredited
Don't Kill Spiders/A Time For Healing/Lie Low
After three weeks, six episodes, and eighteen short plays the curtain finally falls for Reboot Live 2020. Keeping some of its best wine till last Reboot Live: Episode Six sets out to send everyone home wanting more. And does so exceptional well, as each show asks how much fun can you pack into 25 minutes?
Witt Tarantino and Emma Rose Creaner in Don't Kill Spiders. Image by Cate Reid.
With just a dash of the absurd and a sprinkling of the surreal, Witt Tarantino's Don't Kill Spiders sees a man taking life advice from the spider who shares his apartment. Insights might be flimsy, and its depth only skin deep, but there's a lot of heart in Don't Kill Spiders, as well as the best cigarette gag in years. The kind of show that would thrive in the gay pubs of The East Village, where its not about how good it is but about how brave you are. What the writing lacks in rigour, even admitting its use of rhyming couplets links nicely with the nursery rhyme form, it more than makes up for in novelty and charm. If director Leo Hanna struggles with pace and transitions, Emma Rose Creaner as the slinky spider, and Tarantino as the man child in her care turn in wonderfully engaging performances. You'll never look at the spider in your bathroom the same way again
Steve Gunn in A Time For Healing. Image by Cate Reid.
Following on from his superb short play A Christmas Matter as part of The Corps Ensembles Christmas Craicers, Gary Duggan makes it two for two with the utterly irresistible A Time For Healing. Through the device of a Group Therapy Session Duggan, as director, cleverly engages the audience without their direct participation and cranks up the investment tenfold. But it's easy to become invested when it's done this well. Sure, there's a few lags when some things overrun a little, but in the hands of Steve Gunn and Aenne Barr you have to look very closely to notice. Barr's pained widow might be projecting onto Gunn as session leader, but the soft spoken Gunn, exercising the patience of job, is one twist of the coil away from snapping. Measured and memorable, Gunn turns in an astoundingly good performance and his chemistry with an impressive Barr sparkles. Full of heart and humour A Time For Healing is arguably one of the better works addressing the losses experienced during Covid. One which confirms Gary Duggan as a master of the short play form.
Michael Patrick and Aoibhéann McCann in Lie Low. Image by Cate Reid.
Ciara Elizabeth Smyth's Lie Low suggests it's very nice to be naughty. And when it isn't it makes for serious good fun. Serious because there's a sense of Smyth pushing against an unhealthy puritanism, shaking the sexual tree to see what laughs can still fall out. Incest, masturbation, revenge porn, celibacy, all are given a good, respectful rib-tickling. Throughout, Smyth's sketch styled script functions to set Michael Patrick's wannabe stand up comedian, and his soon to be married sister, a frustrated Aoibhéann McCann, on a collision course in which their separate lives dovetail in a rather unusual way. Directed with pace by Oísin Kearney, monologues with moments of dialogue set McCann and Patrick off on a rollercoaster ride where the wheels feel like they might come off at any second as they steer into the next, unpredictable curve. But Smyth ensures you're always in safe hands. If Lie Low is not a show for your sainted grandmother, unless she has a wicked sense of humour, even she will have to admit that McCann's invested carol singing is worth the price of admission alone.
It's been wild, it's been weird, it's been wickedly good fun. It's been messy, its been mayhem, its been marvellous. It's been Reboot Live 2020 and it's been live theatre. And it's great to have it back.
From early next week, shows from Reboot Live 2020 will be available online for €3.00.
Log on to www.thelockinn.io/rebootlive for more information.