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March 1, 2010 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

Irrepressible Urge


Y‘know how much it hurts to see something really valuable wasted? Like when you catch your toddlers tipping your gin down the sink because they wanted to make a waterfall? Irrepressible Urge gave me that feeling.

Obstensively an exploration of storytelling, it is four episodic stories intertwined with very little really connecting them, apart from books appearing in most of them. Jackson Coe sinews across the stage as a peeping tom with a story to tell. Sam Ennor and Aimee-Lyn Marshall are a cynical bookshop owner and his only customer, both with issues around ideas of love. Barry Lakeman, in a highly impressive suit, is a dragon who faces down Kirsty McGuire’s princess in a confrontation that reveals that neither of them are what the other expected. Majorie McKee is a world-wise aunt to three half-sisters—Tamsin Dashfield as an internet-addicted tweetoholic, Karin Reinholt as a girl who’s only defining characteristic seems to be that she has a crush on the third half-sister, played by Sahra Smith, who lives her life by dice rolls. None of these stories are nearly as interesting as they sound.

While Coe, Ennor and Marshall all show talent, charm and humour, the rest of the cast flounders under weak material and seemingly aimless direction. Judging by the other times I have seen works by most involved with this and the clear talent they have displayed before (especially director Brooke Smith-Harris), you cannot be help but be struck by all the ringing tones of a troubled production. The dialogue rings deeply hollow and is ridden with sickeningly purple prose and clashes heavily with the deeply predictable storytelling. Irrepressible Urge was deeply in need of a writer, or at least a dramaturg to give this show a shape and thrust beyond its episodic shard form. There was simply not enough tying the show together.

And, sadly, the other fundamental issue with Irrepressible Urge is that it is simply not as smart as it thinks it is. It is awash in truisms, clichés and obvious observations about life, love, storytelling and technology. It states the painfully obvious as if it was sharing some profound secret, which at the end of the day just begins to be feel decidedly presumptuous and condescending of it.

While the design elements of the work, the lighting, set and props, are all well-executed, that is not nearly enough to save Irrepressible Urge from its own black hole of bleh. What a waste of talent.

Irrepressible Urge
Devised by Quite Sensible
Directed by Brooke Smith-Harris
With Jackson Coe, Sam Ennor, Aimee-Lyn Marshall, Barry Lakeman, Kirsty McGuire, Tamsin Dashfield, Karin Reinholt, Marjorie McKee and Sahra Smith.

22 – 25 Feb 2010

Part of the 2010 Fringe Festival.


About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

Comments (3)

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  1. Your Name says:

    Aimee-Lyn was that gin.

  2. My Name says:


  3. Whose Name says:

    Second that motion.

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