PICK OF THE WEEK

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - THE TICKET | SEVEN DAYS - JC JC Peter Craw­ley

Blonde are Bris­tol pro­duc­ers Ja­cob Man­son and Adam En­gle­field, a duo with a great han­dle on in­fec­tious house mon­sters. To date, tracks such as Fool­ish, I Loved You and Higher Ground have en­joyed plenty of chart and ra­dio love. Last year’s re­leases, All Cried Out with Glee ac­tor Alex Newell on vo­cals and Feel Good with Karen Harding, showed that Man­son and En­gle­field’s ap­proach is well ca­pa­ble of find­ing favour. HOUSE Plea­surekraft Since 2009, Kaveh Soroush and Kalle Ron­ngardh have been pro­duc­ing deep, in­tox­i­cat­ing, in­fec­tious grooves which make the big­gest club spa­ces around purr with de­light.

Tracks such as Taranat­ula and Chlo­ro­formd have en­sured good times while their Kraftek la­bel has re­leased tracks by Bon­tan, Stacey Pullen, Oliver $, Green Vel­vet and many more. THEATRE Cyprus Av­enue “This is a safe place,” a psy­chi­a­trist tells Eric Miller, the sullen Belfast loy­al­ist at the cen­tre of David Ire­land’s provoca­tive new com­edy. “Here it’s okay to say any­thing you want to say. About any­thing.”

As a play­wright whose scabrous work has of­ten ex­plored the mind­set of loy­al­ism, Ire­land rarely sticks to safe places, and it takes Eric – played with mas­ter­ful melan­choly by Stephen Rea (above) – roughly 60 sec­onds to test her pa­tience. For Eric, though, nowhere is safe: with both his iden­tity and the fu­ture of union­ism un­der threat, the unimag­in­able has hap­pened: Gerry Adams has dis­guised him­self as Eric’s new­born grand­daugh­ter to in­fil­trate the fam­ily. “It’s very un­usual, yes,” he agrees, with grave con­cern.

The greater provo­ca­tion of Ire­land’s play is to make Eric’s iden­tity cri­sis stand for the predica­ment of loy­al­ism, a cul­ture de­fined through rigid op­po­si­tion, and the chal­lenge for the Abbey and the Royal Court’s co-pro­duc­tion, di­rected by Vicky Feather­stone, is to move be­yond com­edy and bring the au­di­ence deeper into his para­noid delu­sion.

Rea, who presents a man as alarmed as he is con­vinced by his be­liefs, does well with mono­logues of painfully funny iso­la­tion. But be­yond Eric, Ire­land is prone to both un­der­writ­ing (in thinly con­ceived fe­male char­ac­ters) and lu­dic over­writ­ing (such as a pro­longed visi­ta­tion from an ab­surd “an­gel of the UVF”), while Feather­stone’s pro­duc­tion seems to pre­fer the an­chor of re­al­ism, mak­ing the play’s later tran­si­tion into hor­ror harder to pull off.

Ire­land’s play, though, is a bold un­der­tak­ing, a neat in­ver­sion of tragi­com­edy, which – un­like the doomed Eric, who can only de­fine him­self in op­po­si­tion – is able to be two things at once.

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