The Collector – The New Theatre, Dublin
Director: Cian Ó Ceallacháin
“Sounds like you’ve got a bigger problem with living than with dying, pal.”
Welcome to the Dark Horse pool hall. On one long night secrets will out and debts must be repaid. Oren Collins is a small time thug, quick to anger and confrontation, always hanging around with dodgy characters and getting into trouble. After the death of his dear brother Frank things begin to spiral out of control. Joseph, Frank’s old American friend, is back in town and Oren stages an intervention with him in his Uncle’s pool hall. The three men discover a lot about themselves and each other in just a short space of time.
Daniel Wade’s new play is not shy of tackling the big issues, however it is also funny. The Dublin vernacular is captured perfectly with the slang and colloquialisms we are all used to hearing but rarely see bought to life on stage with such authenticity. The Collector covers themes of regret, masculinity, family and the weight that debt, both financial and personal, can have over a person. Set in a dingy and unwelcoming Dublin pool hall it is a powerful snapshot of a life lived always trying to catch up, to pay off debts owed.
Graeme Coughlan gives a stand-out performance as Oren Collins, a young man struggling to find his way in life. This is a difficult character for a young actor to take on and he pulls it off with aplomb. Coughlan was perhaps given the role with the most surprises involved, however, the rest of the cast all work as an ensemble that allows each other to play to their strengths. Kevin Brennan and Joseph Duggan are sinister and frightening as debt collectors, wielding words and crowbars with equal menace.
The play comes to a powerful and emotional climax. The stage falls to black and as the curtain closes it seems that there is only darkness ahead of our protagonist. Interestingly this play was one of many to be a part of the staged reading series at The New Theatre
and was partly funded by a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. The Collector’s success helps to show how independent new Irish writing and theatre can flourish. A thrilling evening’s entertainment not to be missed.
Runs until 4 February 2017 | Image: Contributed