Shoot the Women First

Shoot the Women First revolves around a mercenary company. Starting from their first assassination it quickly moves to a job in the Middle East which quickly starts to go wrong. The show is full of potential. It’s got plenty of good gags, but a lack character development and meaningful structure means it sadly misses its mark by a fair margin.

Those without the knowledge of the private global military industry and their blight on this world might feel lost

The script is filled with good jokes; it's not a laugh a minute but it’s funny when it really wants to be. Dark humour abounds and it can be quite crude, fitting in well with the characters and the world that they live in. Unfortunately, it's not enough to carry the show.

Simply the acting isn’t good enough and maybe in the hands of stronger performers this show would have worked much better. Both actors seem to have a lack of confidence in the material. A handful of awkward pauses, coupled with a lack of emotional resonance when it matters, slows proceedings to a snail's pace. It’s like having a John Pilger novel read at you.

The plot is inserted far too late in proceedings, so the ending can’t help but feel rushed. We are promised hard-hitting unlikeable characters. It delivers on that, but by the closing we are asked to feel pity and empathy with them. With some backstory or explanations for their actions, it might have worked. As it is, they just come across as unlikable profiteers in unlikable jobs.

Hardly any time is given to explaining what is being satirised. Those without the knowledge of the private global military industry and their blight on this world might feel lost and confused. I really wish this show had utilised its potential; with a rewrite and stronger performers it could be a hard hitting bullet of satire. As it stands, it's more of a wet flannel of disappointment. 

Reviews by James W. Woe

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The Blurb

This is the first play from award-winning Irish comic Mary Bourke and it deals with the role of female mercenaries in modern global warfare. If you're offended by coarse language and adult content then there's probably a nice Noel Coward revival down the road that's more your speed. None of the characters are likeable but they're blisteringly funny and there's absolutely no nice, neat redemption for anybody at the end. This is war.