Devised by the company & writer Dylan Coburn Gray
Vault Brick Hall
Drop into MALAPROP Theatre’s show Jericho at any point and you might find something that briefly catches your interest. There’s a moment of outrage about humans burning the forests and creating the Great Plains, there is reference to the Irish referendum on abortion and mention of the disappearance of the Giant Ground Sloth. The philosopher Roland Barthes makes an appearance on a video clip speaking about wrestling. You might even like the biscuits they offer the audience.
Except you will also wonder what the connection is between all these fragments and why the actor Maeve O'Mahony is having a lengthy conversation on Messenger with her mum who calls her daughter “Cunt Magic”.
The other actor John Gunning mostly restricts himself to the sound desk where he is content to record the sound effects of him crunching cornflakes and Maeve biting on a carrot. However he does take a short break to have a quick wrestle with Maeve and drag her by her feet across the floor.
Its all very puzzling. Wrestling is the nearest thing to a key to the show since Maeve as an unnamed woman describes herself as a digital journalist asked to write about the freakish world of WWF promoted wrestling that is more theatrically rehearsed set fights between good and bad characters than any kind of competition. False stories are put out to build an audience and nothing we see should be regarded as entirely real. The subject could be intended as a metaphor for a world of cartoon politicians and fake news where the real is simply what we talk about and nothing more.
That might seem like a fairly nihilistic picture of the world but it is never presented in anything like a coherent form. Someone after the performance told me they didn’t really know what it was about but really liked the show's energy, its colours, its experimental approach, its sense of fun.
Those things are all true. It does have those qualities. But its devised assortment of fragments need a focus, a structure, a meaning or they will seem lost in confusion.