‘Rogue’ by Lee Coffey in Smock Alley Theatre

This play was commissioned by the school to showcase the talents of the latest crop of the stars of the future, and it tells the tale of ‘Rogue’. Rogue is a young woman who is growing up in the city. Living with her drug addicted mother (her father having died of a similar skag affliction years earlier), her life is a mess. Having unwillingly been caught up in the nefarious schemes of sibling drug barons Jules and Dom, she loses a rucksack full of their banknotes. Reported to An Garda Siochana by her mother, Rogue goes on the run, where she is exposed to the grim reality of life on the street, accompanied by her new friend Gaz – an immaculately attired gay boy who shows her how to navigate the homeless life. Meanwhile the police and the dealers are closing in on her…

It’s a very entertaining play. The requirements of a commission piece that needs to accommodate a graduating class of fifteen, which equitably showcases what they have learned over two years of training, was quite the challenge. Coffey rose admirably to the task. The main character of Rogue was split between four actors (Isolde Fenton; Ava Hahessy Madigan; Tessa Brockis and Victoria Kidd) which was deftly handled and not distracting. The set was simple, functional and effective – with up to fifteen people on stage at any time this was a necessity.

The performances and the staging were impressive. Shauna McNevin who played Jan gives a hilarious performance of Rogue’s quick witted but dim best friend. Rosa Thomas who played violent drug baroness Jules was suitably sinister and scathing. Benjamin Reilly playing Gaz gave a moving performance as Gaz as he tries to navigate falling in love while trying to hide his lack of housing situation. He sang a lovely rendition of Starman by David Bowie – a song always worth listening to. Ronan Woods gave a funny performance as DJ Bangers – the clueless DJ who believes that he could teach Calvin Harris a few moves. Overall, it was a very enjoyable evening and the future of Irish acting is bright based on the class of 2021. Running until Saturday I’d normally encourage you to get a ticket. This might be difficult in current circumstances thanks to the limit of twenty-five audience members per show in the two hundred-seater theatre. Covid’s an awful rogue

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