Phantasm is the latest offering from local theatrical innovators, the Devious Theatre Company. Written by John Kennedy, directed by John Morton, produced by Ken McGuire, and starring Colin O’Brien and Hazel Doyle, Phantasm tells the story of Leaving Cert students, Adam and Frankie, a loner-stoner and his party-girl customer, whose unusal relationship is tested on a stormy Kilkenny night.
The play is a genuine account of Irish adolesence on the cusp of adulthood in the 2010’s, but is a timelessly relatable tale, with even the costume, set and sound design suggesting an amalgamation of influences from the past five decades.
The chemistry between the two actors is electric and the dialogue they share has a natural flow while also being littered with plenty of quotable lines and jokes. One particular prop malfuncition was a testment to their natural ability as actors, improvising on the spot and seamlessy incorpoarting the moment into the witty banter. Their is a dreamlike quality to the play, created by the intimate setting of the play’s action, which spills out into the equally intimate confines of the audience space, and the haunting bark of the fox which can be heard in the background throughout. The fox acts as a supernatural guardian, forcing Frankie and Adam to confront their relationship and their desire for an escape from the impending future.
The play balances hilarious moments with the tragic, deftly moving between both without jarring the audience, instead creating an even more captivating atmosphere.
The special effects are simple but extremely immersive and effective, proving the cliche that less is more. An electic soundtrack of Roy Orbison, Blur and Laura Marling, amongst others, provides the perfect soundtrack for this coming of age dramedy. The music directly affects the story in moments like the dream dance-sequence, while the use of the headphone device throughout is clever, allowing the audience an even more intimate glimpse into the two characters lives, partially placing us in their shoes without revealing their inner workings.
Phantasm is an engaging and poignant coming-of-age tale, filled with laugh-out-loud moments. It played in Cleere’s Theatre for three nights as part of OUT for the Weekend