Friday, November 11, 2005

REVIEW: Luca (Project Upstairs, Dublin)

Good is bad and bad in good in the latest frantic, cartoonish satire from Barabbas. So it helps to keep in mind that when the show’s three odd characters say that they “abhor” something, they mean it as the highest praise; while whatever they “adore” is considered worse than worthless.

The three, dressed as standard issue drama-student boho types, seem to be members of a race of time traveling sprites. Luca (Raymond Keane) is the shock-headed leader, while Him (Eoin Lynch) a lecherous beardy whose bare backside appears on stage before he does (not the first time that approach has turned up in a Barabbas show) and Sparrow (Amy Conroy) a blue-haired circus school drop-out, if appearances can be trusted, are his less than obedient footsoldiers.

On a massive, splayed dodecahedron (helpfully identified with the aid of the program) the gang travel at will through time, fetching up at any point that seems in need of a bit of laying waste. Once there, they proceed to have a bit of crack, doing everything from an aerobic work out exploring the various sexual combinations available to two males and a female, to exploring the Pope’s Nazi past. Well, it passes the time.

Despite all of that (and slightly too much more) the show’s clear desire to be a side-splitting romp, remains unfulfilled. It is hard to tell if it is the performances (which are surprisingly brittle) or the characters (which lean towards annoying) that cause the problem, but Luca turns out to be unexpectedly thin on the laughs.

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