‘Fast Forward’

ffYesterday evening, for the 2nd time this week I attended the theatre. For my delectation on this occasion, was ‘Fast Forward’ by Firedoor Theatre. Written by Jason Coburn – who wrote last year’s ‘The Lover’s Guide to Losing your Mind’ – this play was inspired by the ideas of the Firedoor Theatre Devising Group.

Devised theatre is a method of theatre making where the script originates from collaborative, often improvisatory work by an acting ensemble. In this instance the group workshopped the ideas which provided the outline and the ideas for this piece, and the very talented writer then added meat, vegetable, spuds and gravy,  to the bare bones of the script.

An interesting way of creating a play and one which in this instance had a successful outcome.

‘Fast Forward’ follows the staff and customers of a video shop in a small Irish town over series of weeks in the year 2010. The shelves are packed with all the latest releases, but trouble is brewing. For starters the recession is biting deep. This is having an impact on the entire community, some of whom are dreaming of emigration to make a better life for themselves. Other threats are afoot. Not least something called ‘The Netflix’ which seems to be negatively impacting the customer numbers. Store employee Hayley (Christine Hynes) is infuriated by all the gossip that the store is about to close, and be replaced by a Subway. How could that possibly be? Isn’t ‘Fast Forward’ at the heart of this community?

Her colleague Eoghan (Adam Redmond) doesn’t share her concern. He dreams of a better life in Dublin.

Meanwhile regular customer – the sinister Mrs. Quinn (Geraldine Crowley) is rumoured to have IRA connections and to have murdered her late husband. She prowls around the shop all day, monitoring everything, never making a sound – save for the slurp on her sucky sweet. Peering over the shoulder of Teddy (Shaun Elebert) for racing tips. And worst of all never renting a film.

Hayley’s sister Stephanie (Marta Callava) views the shop as a source of free snacks and films, while George (Brian Quinn) has numerous video rental accounts on which there are massive fines for late returns.

No wonder the shop is about to go bust. And what exactly is high powered, shoulder-padded business-woman Aileen (Janine Hardy) up to? Prowling around the store, taking measurements. There seem to be shenanigans in the air.

‘Fast Forward’ is an entertaining slice of a life from a particular period in the very recent past – the era which saw the death of the video shop. It is a funny and poignant piece, which offers a nostalgic view on what has now disappeared from our town streets. Farewell Xtravision. You served us well.

The characters of Mrs Quinn and the gormless Mary (a hilarious turn by Christina McMahon) were my performance highlights, however the cast all acquitted themselves very well.

Directed by Alex McKenzie, ‘Fast Forward’ plays each evening until Saturday June 16th at 8pm in the Players’ Theatre in Trinity College. Ticket are €15 and can be purchased at the LINK.

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