If We Got Some More Cocaine I Could Show You How I Love You

Casey and Mikey cannot escape: not from who they are, not from how their lives have moulded them and, more immediately, from the rooftop onto which they have just clambered. An essential part of committing robbery and theft is planning the escape and that’s the bit that just went wrong. Nothing left now but to sit it out until the gardaí below give up their search.

The creative unity of design, sound and lighting by Georgia de Grey, Jon Mcleod and Derek Anderson shines out in this production enhancing the story and increasing its intimacy.

Neither is a hardened criminal; rather they drifted into the culture of the area and appear as likeable rogues. The initial commotion and banter eventually dies down and the nature of their relationship opens up. Stranded for the immediate future they look out across the halloween bonfires scattered around the socially stratified neighbourhoods and contemplate the prospect of ever getting to tonight’s party. The cramped conditions of the rooftop on which they are precariously placed serves to intensify the inescapability of the issues they must face and the balancing acts of their lives. For a while this becomes their world. It is removed and detached from what is going on below although determined by it, just as their lives are by the community of which they are not fully a part.

Casey has to live with the effects of his parents’ broken marriage, the aggressive stepfather, the girlfriend who is the cover for his true feelings and of wanting to be loved. He is also the black boy from England in a small white Irish town. Ammar Dufus manages to weave his way through the emotional complexities of these issues, generating a sense of hopelessness and the feeling that this cannot go on. Alan Mahon contrasts strikingly as the self-assured, local boy who’s been there and done that. Among all the bravado he is also able to expose Mikey’s vulnerabilities, his bitterness and resentment and the thin line between love and hate. Both actors challenge stereotype and distinguish their characters physically and in terms of personality while demonstrating a close bond.

Outside their personal worlds of ifs and maybes everything else is clear. The creative unity of design, sound and lighting by Georgia de Grey, Jon Mcleod and Derek Anderson shines out in this production enhancing the story and increasing its intimacy. The slate-effect roof is a work of art, with each tile individually made to give heightened perspective to its slope.

John O’Donovan’s work is a comfortable seventy minutes of action and anecdotes from the past and the present. There are many humorous moments in the punchy, often witty exchanges, initially aided by forgetting where they are in terms of movement and the need to keep their voices down. The detailed performance instructions in his script are taken up by director Thomas Martin to ensure the intended precise delivery.

If We Got Some More Cocaine I Could Show You How I Love You is refreshing in its originality and in uniting disparate themes in an innovative setting. Greater in-depth development of a few issues might have given the opportunity to identify more closely with Casey and Mikey, but it all still works in a way that it is interesting rather than moving; fascinating rather than likely to raise the hairs on your arm. There is also the delightful irony that they don’t need any more cocaine; they haven’t finished what they stole. Maybe they have to realise that everything they want in life is actually there and they just don't see it; but then it's probably difficult to find it when you're stranded on a rooftop being pursued by the police.

Reviews by Richard Beck

The Playground Theatre, Cafe and Bar

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★★★★★
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★★
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★★★
The Queen's Theatre / The Queen\'s Theatre

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★★★★
The Space

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★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Drink, drugs and homosexuality in modern Ireland in this debut play by John O’Donovan, the first production in a new literary model at the Old Red Lion Theatre and directed by Ross and Rachel’s Thomas Martin.