Leper + Chip

Leper + Chip will hold you by the throat and squeeze the tears from your eyes. Conall Keating (Leper) and Amilia Clarke-Stewart (Chip) power their way through this high-octane story of young love and loss in Dublin and each is as mesmerising as the other. Either of them could have easily held the stage on their own and to begin with, they do, stories intertwining until they meet and the lights flash up on an electrifying kiss.

Leper + Chip leaps the hurdle that many productions about young people trip on.

Meeting at a party one night, the two are thrown together by consequence only to be cruelly torn apart by circumstance. The pair play their own characters as well as a host of supporting faces. Most entertaining are Leper’s snivelling accomplice, Beaver, and Chip’s gluttonous sidekick, Pringle. The shifts in character are expertly signalled, indicated with sharp changes in posture, in facial contortion and in pitch.

The story is told at breakneck speed but it’s easy enough to keep up with them. Framed by just two rows of flashbulbs, the show’s energy is addictive. I could easily have watched another hour. The final third sees a lot of narrative rush through at once but it’s not disorientating and never feels cheap. Instead the pile-on of tragedy on tragedy pinpoints that feeling of loss of control that underlies, and ultimately dictates, the pair’s lives.

The beauty of the production is in its simplicity. It is just storytelling at its most basic but you’d be forgiven for forgetting that entirely as Keating and Clarke-Stewart drag you into their world through writer Lee Coffee’s script.

The script itself is a knockout; funny yet heartbreaking and shockingly intelligent, Leper + Chip leaps the hurdle that many productions about young people trip on. It’s genuinely cool. Leper and Chip aren’t half-arsed teen stereotypes with teen problems - they’re all too real and they’re here to be taken seriously. 

Reviews by Caitlin Hobbs

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The Blurb

Boy meets girl – in the middle of a battering. Boy wrecks bus full of pensioners, girl gets chased by machete-wielding maniac and love without madness isn't love at all. Leper and Chip is a new play by Lee Coffey, directed by Karl Shiels, performed by Conall Keating and Amilia Stewart. This frantic, funny, breakneck two-hander smacks you with an ultra-violent vision of young urban Dublin. Leopard-coated cougars, Pringle-eating whales, pint-sized chaps chained inside a fridge, broken dreams and hearts on fire. Blink and you'll miss it. 'Hilarious, fast-paced and deeply heartfelt' (Mark O'Rowe).