10 Rounds

Carlo Gébler

Tricycle, Kilburn

(2002)

Review by Ian Willcox

Writer Carlo Gébler's thinks that the Northern Ireland peace process is "less worse than what proceeded" - unfortunately the same can't be said of his play. Using the structure of Schintzler's La Ronde he delivers his views through a thinly built daisy chain of 10 peri-coital conversations in which the scaffolding of his idea is more obvious than the architecture.

The play hangs on "10 Rounds" Maguire (so named because he survived being shot 10 times by the British Army) - a Republican volunteer who is supposed to have abandoned his bomb making as part of the peace process. He sleeps with a prostitute and a German au pair - both of whom notice he smells strongly of fertilizer (often the major constituent of home made bombs) and both who mention it in subsequent liaisons.

The play was commissioned after the Northern Ireland police Ombudsman's report on the Omagh Bombing - which gives a heavy hint as to the outcome of the drama. In the meantime we watch one coupling after another, one scene change after another and one blackout and music cue after another.

There are glimmers of interest and insight - most notably the bedside conversation between a Republican spokeswoman and a very English Northern Ireland official as they candidly negotiate their covert intentions for "10 Rounds" Maguire.

But taken as a whole both the play and the production fail to overcome the challenges they have set themselves. We know how it will end and we know the structure. What is left to keep us in our seats for two and a half hours? Somehow a bit of nudity and simulated sex isn't quite enough no matter how good the cast or the acting.

10 Rounds runs until 19th October.