Monday, September 8, 2014

Boys and Girls at 59E59 Theaters

L-R: Sean Doyle, Maeve O'Mahoney, Claire O'Reilly, and Ronan Carey in BOYS AND GIRLS at 59E59 Theaters.  Photo by Carol Rosegg..
Boys and Girls, written and directed by Dylan Coburn Gray, was a hit at the Dublin Fringe where it won the Fishamble New Writing Award before transferring to the Project Arts Centre in Dublin.  It is now receiving its US premiere at 59E59 Theaters on East 59th Street in midtown Manhattan as part of Origin’s First Irish, the world’s only all Irish theatre festival.

The play, emerging from the Irish spoken word scene, features Ronan Cary, Sean Doyle, Claire O’Reilly, and Maeve O’Mahony as four young, single individuals hitting the Dublin bars and hoping to get lucky.  The playwright has a wonderful ear for language, including its rhymes and rhythms, and a talent for playwriting in a form almost the equivalent of free verse.  The four characters’ intercut monologues, all addressing one or another aspect of their sexual desires and performances, are individually clever, sharp, literate, and articulate - and range from impersonally analytic to sexually exhilarating, from potty-mouthed to emotionally incisive, from banally mundane to rollickingly funny.  And yet, when all is said and done, although the play is well-written and all four actors are quite competent in their respective roles, the entire production comes across as being something less than the sum of its parts, with the intercutting of the actors’ passages serving to fragment, rather than integrate, the play as a whole.

In its promotional material, the play’s producers urge would be theatre-goers not to bring their kids to this one and they’re quite right: the play is well-written, humorous and entertaining, but it is also dirty to a fault, and most inappropriate for children.  A good example of this would be Maeve O’Mahony’s riff on what to call the vagina (her own personal “vagina monologue,” as it were) which was, to my mind, one of the play’s funniest, albeit dirtiest, passages. 

So given that this is not one for the kids, what about you adults out there: ought you make an effort to see it?  Well, that’s really up to you.  If you can appreciate unabashedly low-class and grossly ribald humor, then you might very well find it worth your while.  But if gutter language and rampant sexuality is not your cup of tea, then this is one you might do best to avoid.


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