Scotsman Assembly, Edinburgh
August, 2002

**** The latest of O'Neill's solo narrative comedies

In the last few years Owen O'Neill has turned from stand-up toward scripted comedies with story and characters. The change suits him.

This time he portrays football-mad Ulsterman Danny Mulligan, first seen being threatened with kneecapping by the I.R.A. for sawing down his school's Gaelic football goalposts, then travelling to London, determined to make it as a soccer player. He never does, and becomes a semi-compulsive liar about it. Around halfway through the one-hour piece, he suddenly acquires a wife in labour; from this point on, Danny's soccer ambitions are located in his son.

I've had my reservations about O'Neill's monologues in the past. He has a marvellously sardonic vision, but I sometimes felt that he overplayed his protagonists' humiliation and their ultimate sentimental redemption. But this time round, it works almost perfectly. The various moods are shaped together into a satisfying journey, and it becomes apparent that although the story is fictionalised, it is based on O'Neill's real pride in his real son... enough to draw a warm "Ahhh!" from the audience at the end.

Written for divento.com

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

Return to index of reviews for the year 2002

Return to master reviews index

Return to main theatre page

Return to Shutters homepage