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Fringe Report is now closed. Fringe Report closed on its 10th anniversary, Thursday 12 July 2012. It remains online as a record of 10 exciting years in the arts. Till July 2013, previously unwritten content is being added to the site from the past 10 years, but we are no longer reviewing new material. You can still write to us on the existing email addresses. Good luck with your shows.
Verdict: Rapid-fire magic realism
This one-man show by talented Ray Scannell is a rapid-fire monologue while playing a grand piano for accompaniment. It tells the life story of the fictional Julian Neary, a misfit with a talent for mimicry, who never really knows himself.
It starts with his origins as an adopted son in a manically-conservative Irish family, until he gets kicked out of home for failing college exams. He ends up in England working as a famous mimic and comedian, which feeds his drug habit.
The second half of his life is set in a dystopian future of economic collapse and intrusive medical technology, ending with his return to a broken Ireland. This vision of the future is done skilfully and without heavyhandedness - the style used is closer to magic realism.
The stream-of-consciousness format, as well as the musical background and what can at times be low-volume delivery, can make the piece a little difficult to follow, especially in the early stages. But the effort is well worthwhile and Ray Scannell pulls off a well-rounded story with a character who proves lovable despite his vacuous life.
While much of it is narrated in the third person, and scope for physicality is limited because of the piano-playing, the characters are illustrated through enough first-person vignettes to bring them to life. Ray Scannell's own skill as an impersonator is liberally used throughout, bringing comic relief to a pessimistic tale.
Cast Credits: (alpha order): Raymond Scannell - (performer).
Company Credits: Writer / Composer - Raymond Scannell. Director - Tom Creed. Set Designer - Tom Creed. Lighting Designer - Tom Creed. Costume Designer - Joan Hickson. Technician - Anthony Hanley. Stage and Production Manager - Lucie Ryan Donnelly. Photography - Colm Hogan, Michael McSweeney. Producer - uncredited. Company - Raymond Scannell.
(c) Colman Higgins 2009
reviewed Saturday 27 June 2009 / Cork School of Music, Cork, Ireland
Fringe Report (c) Fringe Report 2002-2013