Wednesday, September 21, 2005

REVIEW: Adrenalin (A Secret Location, Dublin)

Can there ever have been a show in Dublin with more shooting? Irish purveyors of blank rounds probably haven’t had such a payday since Saving Private Ryan fetched up on these shores. Once the shooting starts in Adrenalin, Semper Fi Theatre Company’s heist movie-cum-revengers’ tragedy, it doesn’t stop until…well, let’s leave that bit a secret.

The other big secret in this show, of course, is where exactly it takes place. Members of the audience never know for sure. They obediently pile into a fleet of buses with blacked out windows in front of the Customs House and are deposited at a mystery warehouse some minutes later. Soon, we are in the company of a gang of partially clad dancers and some murderous villains in spooky clown make-up. We have all, clearly, been taken on a trip to Sin City.

The gang has returned from an armed robbery and is ready to split the spoils. Unfortunately, everything is not running according to plan and pretty soon the place starts to fill up with dead bodies, severed fingers and gunshots. Lots of gunshots, for Adrenalin relies heavily on shooting, along with knifeplay, girlfights and stylised kickboxing choreography, to supply its energy, something that often leaves script and plotting feeling a little undernourished.

Perhaps as Adrenalin is a kind of live exploitation movie, that skewed balance might be fair enough. But at times, even with constant tension that so much noise and brutality engenders, it felt that the strings of the production needed to be drawn a little tighter. There is an enviable extravagance in ambition here that could have been better rewarded with more crispness in the performances, more cunning in the storytelling.

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