Thursday, February 3, 2011

Theatre Review: Batsh*t

Batsh*t is a new play by Dublin Youth Theatre, "a no holds barred commentary on the pressures of modern Irish life and what can happen when the pressure gets too much." Before the play began I had a slight apprehension that it would be angsty and worthy but perhaps not very entertaining. I needn't have worried; the story is simple enough - a tragic romance - but the way it's told is both innovative and enjoyable.

The story of the two central characters is told through a range of techniques. At times there's direct narration to the audience; mixed with that are interview-style monologues from minor characters who know the protagonists. The use of costume is superb, simple yet effective. (I won't spoil it for you.) The most striking approach is the use of what I can only describe as montage sequences, highly physical scenes with musical scores and repetition.

Ah, montage sequences, perhaps mankind's greatest artistic invention. If they were good enough for Rocky and Team America, they're good enough for the theatre. Batsh*t didn't have anyone welding, lifting weights or running up stairs but its montage sequences were nonetheless excellent. The quality of the live music (including vocals) is a considerable bonus.

These sequences also highlight the unusual approach to developing the play: it was written and devised by the cast. Perhaps surprisingly, it's highly coherent, moves along well and remains interesting throughout. It's a good sign that the audience wants more at the end of a play, and they did.

Batsh*t is clever, original and highly entertaining. Recommended.

The play runs until 5th February 2011, including a matinee on Saturday 5th.


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