If We Got Some More Cocaine I Could Show You How I Love You at the Old Red Lion Theatre
In a loft above the Old Red Lion Pub in Angel is a theatre. This is the setting for County Clare native John O’Donovan’s debut play If We Got Some More Cocaine I Could Show You How I Love You. Despite the lengthy title it is a pithy affair, all taking place in one scene: the roof of Casey’s house, which he and Mikey have just burgled.
Tough Irish lad Mikey (Alan Mahon) and well-spoken Londoner Casey (Ammar Duffus) are both not as they first appear, and as the piece progresses more and more of their history, both shared and individual, is revealed. Mahon’s comic timing is flawless, but his ability to simultaneously reveal a tortured soul elevates Mikey’s character. Similarly, Duffus performs Casey’s outsider well but imbues him with all of the emotions of a 19-year-old boy in love.
The production’s simplistic staging augments its dialogue; the power is all in the speech, there is nothing extraneous. Like Brecht or Beckett before him, O’Donovan removes anything that might detract from his characters and their helpless predicament. This said, an hour plus is a long time for such intensity, and with nothing else the play often requires acute concentration from the audience. But its speeches flow so well and its narrative unpacks so skilfully that this is rarely a problem.
Moving from the trials of growing up and abusive families to community and regeneration through to sexuality, and finally to love, If We Got Some More Cocaine I Could Show You How I Love You is a remarkably sweet show that is also laugh-out-loud funny and talks about the feelings that shape our lives for better and for worse. As contemporary drama goes, it manages to mark itself out as a play that is more than just standard cookie-cutter fare, and one that could stand the test of time.
Photo: Claudia Marinaro
If We Got Some More Cocaine I Could Show You How I Love You is at the Old Red Lion Theatre from 30th August to 24th September 2016, for further information or to book visit here.