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Theatre Review: Tommy's Song ***

Lorna Irvine reviews a production with a protagonist 'with a dark charisma and energy which is impossible to resist'.

So this is Christmas--in May. An inflatable Santa Claus, miniature Christmas trees and crackers incongruously festoon the Oran Mor theatre space, as Lou Prendergast brings an off-season festive flavour to her new play for PPP.

Tom McGovern, performing her one-man monologue, plays Tommy, seemingly a salt of the earth type. He has had troubles but longs to escape them and cook Christmas dinner for his dying father, and get back together with his 'ex-burrd'.

Soon, however, it becomes clear he is not as harmless as his initially chipper 'wee man' appearance would suggest--he hides a dark secret or three, and the spectre of violence is never far away in his life.

Prendergast's dialogue is sharp and pithy, with keenly observed points on the cycle of hurt working-class masculinity, yet on occasion it strays into banality, particularly towards the middle when inevitable triggers appear. It is humour which is her ace, a description of a drunken trolley dash around Iceland very funny, or the mere mention of Dream Topping cream, Elvis and Advocaat, which is the height of sophistication in Tommy's eyes.

Flaws aside, McGovern invests Tommy with a dark charisma and energy which is impossible to resist--even if his song is one that is a little over-familiar.

Tags: theatre

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