Tuesday, February 11, 2014

MIRARI Productions, 'In Dog Years I'm Dead': Thirty Old Town

In Kate Heffernan's brilliant comedy two unfulfilled individuals try to take control of their lives as they stand on the threshold of turning 30. 

Bewley's Cafe Theatre
Feb 10-Mar 8

My review of In Dog Years I'm Dead by Kate Heffernan coming up just as soon as I have a flurry of posts delighting in the animated bears from our childhood ...

Turning 30 suggests to some an anticlimactic life scattered with non-achievements and dated childhood references. A thoughtful meditation on the matter by MIRARI (the latin root of the word 'mirror') delights in dispelling such delusions.

Two 29-year-olds cross paths at a things-that-turn-30 costume party. Stepping aside from the A-Team's cigar-touting Hannibal and the Yoda-dressed chihuahua escaping from its Princess Leia owner, Emily and David chew on Wham bars as well as their thoughts on turning 30.

Emily (played by the ruly Marie Ruane) has written a blog list of 30 things to do before she enters the next decade in life: finding the perfect shade of lipstick, eating alone in a restaurant, walking the Camino de Santiago, etc. David (a diligent Robert Bannon) is so eager to offer technical support that he writes to her online under the alias 'Fragglerocker'. Waywardly romantic perhaps but thankfully one of Emily's aims is: "Give a guy a chance".

Crackling under Maisie Lee's direction, Heffernan's clever script buzzes with pop culture references that leave the audience in stitches. Ruane shows hilarious discomfort around her babbling wooer and is prone to intermittent bursts of panic ("How can a face have both spots AND wrinkles???"). Bannon snaps between characters with expert timing and funnily hurls out the humiliation of romantic efforts. It's all ridiculously charming.

Yet there is something subversive in the Fisher Price-furnished set organised by stacks of toy boxes, and in arranger Tom Lane's soft interpretations of 1983 chart-toppers, that suggests the only crime of turning 30 to be the further suppression of the use of play in our adult lives. Ignore the mathematics in the title; In Dog Years I'm Dead celebrates our milestones when they are life-changing as opposed to being numerically prescribed. A joy to watch.

What did everybody else think?

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