Misterman is a new production of the 1999 play by Edna Walsh, made famous by the 2012 National Theatre production starring Cillian Murphy. Thomas Magill is a fiercely evangelical Christian in the small Irish town of Inishfree, trundling through life in his own unique way. Through a variety of tape recordings, all recorded over the course of one fateful day, we witness Thomas’ descent into unstoppable religious mania.
Let’s just be clear from the outset: this production is simply stupendous. Brilliant acting, superb design and an electric script collaborate to create a truly unique experience from Siren Theatre Company. Solo performer Thomas Campbell and director Kate Gaul cram character and emotion into Walsh’s inherently dynamic script at every possible turn. From the opening scene to the final moment, Campbell barely stops for breath as he dives between characters and scenes with energetic athleticism. Such is the versatility and prowess of his performance that, in a scene where he was playing two separate characters onstage, I forgot he was playing both. The natural progression of the conversation is consistently maintained and it seems almost unfathomable that such a variety of characters and emotions are effectively portrayed by a lone performer.
‘this production is simply stupendous’
Walsh’s script is perhaps one of the most underrated of recent times, failing to even hold a Wikipedia page despite the surplus of positive reviews after its run at the National. It may be a touch self-indulgent, a little avant garde and even a tad pretentious at times, but it’s also an intricate, well-constructed character study within a riveting plotline. The stylised elements never take centre stage as the focus remains on Thomas Magee and showing you his perspective on the world. At times its wildly funny, at times its deeply bleak and for a lot of the play it treads a perfectly fine line between the two.
Out in C primo, Misterman is a little further out than the most central Fringe venues, but I guarantee this show is worth every step of the walk out there. If you have an interest in theatre, whether that’s an all-consuming addiction or a brief phase, go and see Misterman, you won’t regret it.
C primo, 2nd – 28th August (not 14th) 15:45
Image: Siren Theatre Company