The Rice Krispie Killer
Lion and Unicorn Theatre
Reviewed – 11th August 2021
“an exceptionally well written and funny piece of theatre”
You think you’ve had it tough over the past eighteen months. Imagine not leaving your house for eighteen years; which is where we find the two brothers, Finbar and Donnacha in Little Shadow Theatre’s two hander. Six thousand five hundred and fifty-six days, to be precise, if we are to believe Donnacha, the elder sibling, who appears to rule the roost. They have been barricaded inside the four walls of their suburban Dublin home since the mysterious death of their parents from a bad batch of Rice Krispies.
Written by Seán Basil Crawford, this sixty-minute duologue is a bit of a find. The language trips off the pair’s tongues with its delightful Gaelic rhythms. Initially light and charged with surreal humour, it soon has hints of darkness that flicker subliminally in the background. Crawford (who also plays the younger brother) writes with a skill that renders the absurd believable. You can imagine him spinning a yarn over a pint of Guinness, weaving his eccentric mind patterns into a patchwork quilt of mismatched anecdotes.
The pair are a hilarious couple on stage. They gently spar, comfort each other with stories, play word games and talk about biscuits and giraffes as though Samuel Beckett had been hired by the Comic Strip team in the eighties. Crawford bounces with a childlike energy and innocence, with touches of a young Ardal O’Hanlan in his delivery, while Ross Gaynor humours, tolerates, babysits, entertains and ultimately controls him. Gaynor captures the dynamics of their relationship perfectly, only occasionally letting slip that something wicked this way is coming.
Finbar’s belief, endorsed by Donnacha, is that their parents were poisoned by a sinister villain known as the Rice Krispie Killer and now, after nearly two decades, his quest (vehemently not endorsed by Donnacha) is to go into the outside world to see if he can catch the culprit. Donnacha’s arguments to keep him in the house have the veneer of protection, of wanting to shield his vulnerable kid brother but it reeks of propaganda and supremacy. It is difficult to know whether this is intentional political commentary in the shadow of lockdown, or just serendipity. But it doesn’t really matter – this is a character driven piece and director Niall Jordan knows how to spotlight the contradictions of these weird personalities.
The only minor qualm about the piece is that you can anticipate the final twist a bit too early on in the play. But hey, who cares? I’m in danger now of becoming over analytical (read as pompous). Let’s just tell it straight: this is an exceptionally well written and funny piece of theatre, played out by two hugely talented comic actors. It is running as part of the Camden Fringe Festival so only has a limited run. I suggest you don’t waste time getting your ticket.
Reviewed by Jonathan Evans
The Rice Krispie Killer
Lion and Unicorn Theatre until 14th August
Part of Camden Fringe Festival 2021
Previously reviewed this year by Jonathan: