The Voice Factor [X]

The Voice Factor [X] is the playwriting debut of Michael-David McKernan, an hour of sharp satire and musings on the nature of fame for those that are unprepared for it.

The tale charts Quincy's rise through a televised singing competition.

The tale charts Quincy's rise through a televised singing competition. He's a young lad from Swords and at first, he is uninterested in the competition, since he was signed up as a prank by his friends. When things start to go well, he finds himself drawn into the seedy world of talent competitions.

McKernan also stars as Quincy and it is an interesting choice of character. He's unremarkable, that mate that still works in the local and you don't think about him unless he's right in front of you. His initial trepidation of involving himself in the vice-ridden world of reality TV helps ground the character in the audience's mind. So, when he makes his inevitable fall from grace it's more poignant. It's all basic Hero's Journey stuff, but here it works. McKernan makes the character likeable and familiar. Both through the acting and the script I was constantly reminded of Renton from Trainspotting.

All the other characters are played by Daryl McCormack and he brings plenty of talent to the production. In opposition to Quincy's laid back nature, those that he interacts with are outrageous caricatures, all gargoyle grimaces and over the top accents. Usually, I'd lambaste this amount of scenery chewing when attempting comedy but it works a treat and there is plenty of snappy jokes throughout to enjoy. McCormack does get one subtle character as Quincy's dad, and these moments of reflected solemness really add emotional weight to proceedings.

You'd think in a show about a talent competition there would be some singing and dancing but thankfully it is avoided here. Whether through chance or design this helps drive home the message that these programmes are not really about the music, but about the characters. Though the music that is heard underpinning certain scenes his class act in subtly.

The Voice Factor [X] is a solid show from a talented bunch and is certainly worth your time.

Reviews by James W. Woe

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★★★★
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Performances

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The Blurb

Quincy, a young man from Dublin, is entered into The Voice Factor by his friends. Quincy’s always been up for a laugh.

Then people start to stand, applaud, and compliment.

The Voice Factor [X] is a satirical exposé of the artificiality associated with talent shows, as an unlikely contestant is sucked into the hostile celebrity machine, and precariously climbs his way to the top.

Directed by the award-winning Rosa Bowden, The Voice Factor [X] marks the introduction of an exciting new writing voice to the Irish theatre scene in a play which challenges ideas about modernity’s obsession with fame.

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