What can I say about Richard Dormer's play Drum Belly except you'd be mad to miss it. Seriously, pick up the phone or go online and order those tickets! And guess what, there are €10 tickets on Monday-Wednesday so there's no excuse! In addition it's a world premiere commissioned by the Abbey Theatre which only adds to the excitement.
Set against a backdrop of the 1969 moon landing, the scene is a warehouse type stage setting in New York. Opening with a bloody scene as a body is cut on a butcher's block for disposal it continues in this vein where second generation Irish Brooklyn gangsters survive through violence and stand-offs with their Italian mafia neighbours. The staging is excellent, and without giving too much away, the stage itself is subjected to all the elements. With minimal props, each scene is brilliantly conjured up - wheeled on by the cast at high speed to the background of cool high blast music and almost thrown off again. The characters are brilliantly portrayed, each quickly identifying their individual quirks and the addition of a jukebox to bring appropriate music to each aspect of the play is both inspired and funny as they dance in their dated funky way to the tunes.
Written by Richard Dormer, it has an edgy brilliance that makes you think immediately of Reservoir Dogs. The script is sharp, humorous and ultimately clever and is delivered absolutely on point by the talented cast (Gerard Byrne, Liam Carney, Declan Conlon, David Ganly, Gary Lydon, Ciarán O'Brien, Karl Shields, Phelim Drew, Ronan Leahy and Ryan McParland).
The Abbey's director Fiach Mac Conghail has the privilege in this production of collaborating with Sean Holmes, the director of London's Lyric Theatre and they have both brought their brilliance to stage Dormer's script at it's very best - he must be delighted with the result .
(Fiach Mac Conghail) (Sean Holmes)
Drum Belly previewed from Friday 5th April and runs until Saturday 11th May at The Abbey Theatre, Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1. 01 878 7222