In asking us to join his cult, John Doran deconstructs the influence of exploitative institutions. What's unsettling is that he's immensely likeable along the way.
Bewleys Cafe Theatre, Dublin Fringe Festival
Sept 11, 12, 14, 17, 19, 20
My review of The Centre Of The Universe by John Doran coming up just as soon as I treat you like my best friend ...
The universe doesn't revolve around you but what if it did? Those of us down on our luck, seeking someone who understands, might welcome the arrival of John Doran. Addressing the auditorium with the cool-headed assuredness of a motivational speaker, his intent is direct: "I want you to join my cult".
Preaching the power of self-fulfilling prophecy, you'd consider it as sound advice if it didn't feel especially dubious. Taking the guise of an honest piece of self-help oration, Doran is deconstructing the influence of cults and exploitive institutions in the same line. What's unsettling is that's he's immensely likeable while doing it.
Choosing the relatable reality of a college graduate unemployed and alienated, Doran presents his own drama involving a desperate job hunt and crippling social anxiety. Morphing into a multitude of characters, it all cascades into meltdown. These moments of collapse in the actor's otherwise impervious performance are strangely affecting. He then revisits the drama utilising his motivational advice, reshaping the outcomes and reprogramming his world.
It's a forcible turn from Doran, whose transformations are sharply outlined under John Morton's direction. You look on with a feeling of joy, immediately accompanied by unease. It raises alarms to our susceptibility if nothing else.
What did everybody else think?