Thursday, May 1, 2014

Bigger Picture Projects, 'Small Plastic Wars': For What Died the Sons of Róisín

An unemployed man throws himself into a hobby of plastic model-making in Pat McGrath's physical play. But when tension is placed will he snap?

The New Theatre
Apr 28-May 3

My review of Small Plastic Wars by Pat McGrath coming up just as soon as I get home in time for The Wire on TV ...

A man does what he must. For the intrepid Joe, huddled over a work bench, the mission is to assemble a plastic model of a Sherman battle tank in time for a national competition. However, while sheltered in his man cave, his wife calls him out on his compulsiveness: "Is this about control"?

You see, Pat McGrath's charming play - with its amusing portraits of model-making enthusiasts and a hilariously heavenly glow that comes when opening a wardrobe full of building kits - is secretly holding a grenade. The hero has picked a fight that is 1/35 scale and made of plastic because it is a world in which he has control. When tension is placed will Joe snap?

Reality lead him to sign up for this plastic war - cutbacks in the workplace left him without a cause - and now it threatens to divert him. Aside from his duties as a husband and a father, bank letters denote the devaluation of his pension, a friend is lost to emigration, and a sick mentor struggles to procure a hospital bed. The aim of McGrath's gunfire is to carve out a political commentary that sees ordinary life surrounded by the bigger problems in Irish society.

With strategic direction by Alan King, Small Plastic Wars is mounted for national tour by Tom Dowling's new production company Bigger Picture Projects. McGrath proves himself a tour-de-force, a big guy as spry as a scout, fending off the oppressors of modern society.

What did everybody else think?

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