**** 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.
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