Reviewed – 8th June 2018
“a tour-de-force of witty asides, reference-crammed sentences and zinging one-liners”
The list of STIs is long, and Cormac has been diagnosed with having all of them. “Bingo”, whispers his doctor, and his world starts to crumble.
Fresh, funny and fast-paced, Alan Flanagan’s script is a tour-de-force of witty asides, reference-crammed sentences and zinging one-liners. His diagnosis kick starts a life crisis that takes him from Grindr orgies to screaming down the phone at TfL. Yasmin, his “Muslim doctor”, becomes a friend and confidante. A trip home helps his family face their own muddied history too. The plot hangs on well-drawn characters and Cormac’s charms – luckily, there are plenty of both.
Flanagan, who also stars in this one-man show, is warm and whimsical. Bounding around stage on an office chair or lounging on seats next to the audience, his energy and charisma might just be the best thing about this show. This, coupled with his speedy delivery, sometimes means his words get lost, but the audience is nevertheless wholly on his side. Flanagan also handles the darker moments well, hinting at a family tragedy with moving candour.
Dan Hutton’s minimal direction gives this performance space to breathe, and the more audiences respond to Cormac’s journey, the more the show will develop and grow. The staging consists of an office chair and little else. Martin Young’s lighting too is sparse. Throbbing blue lights warn of impending catastrophe, and a wonderful moment of shared-light subtly welcomes the audience into the Cormac’s world.
The script is littered with cultural references and quick-fire jokes that mostly hit – but as anyone who’s watched Gilmore Girls will know, this style of comedy can quickly run dry. Sentences too often feel a little overstuffed, tangential, and, at times, hard to follow. Feeling like a well plotted stand-up routine, the text invites Flanagan to banter more with his audience – something he may feel more comfortable doing as the run continues.
Using a structure that weaves past and present, love and loss, Flanagan’s gripping monologue builds gracefully to a euphoric ending that can only delight. And, despite some reservations, delight it did.
Reviewed by Joseph Prestwich
Photography by Lidia Crisafulli
Pleasance Theatre until 24th June
Previously reviewed at this venue