Pacemaker – Smock Alley, Dublin
For Pacemaker the day couldn’t get worse. But then it does.
Two women are at work. They have never gotten on and soon things develop into a full-scale feud when they find themselves speaking to management. Charges range from ‘she smells of egg’ to ‘she ate my sandwiches’. Oh and a mistimed joke about weight loss. Things intensify until the recently promoted Pacemaker finds herself being escorted out of the building to begin a week of temporary suspension before her disciplinary hearing. The week goes downhill from here. Soon she finds herself having a strange conversation with a pharmacist about the morning after pill, being accused of stealing shoes in a dole centre and running away from the scene despite the cries of ‘murderer’ coming after her. At the same time her former colleague finds herself engulfed by guilt which she then drowns in wine and drunken mistakes. For both characters one small action goes on to effect the rest of their week as they have to face who they are while also being forced to leap through various comic hoops.
The scenes in the dole centre and the pharmacy are hilarious. They begin as something recognisable before escalating into something absurd and strange; Pacemaker is living a week long nightmare told through the lens of comedy. The dialogue is fresh and pacey. The speed of the piece does not drop for a second so the 30 minutes go by in a flash. Movement, speech and facial expressions are timed perfectly.
The play is performed by Meg Healy and Camille Lucy Ross. Both Ross and Healy are very fine comic actresses and have the audience laughing from the beginning with a short silent routine before the conversation begins. There were also moments for the audience to take away with them that are honest and touching. Anyone, including this reviewer, who has ever had a day they just wished would end will be able to return to Pacemaker and breathe a sigh of relief that they are not living her life.
Pacemaker, written by Ciara Elizabeth Smyth, is a must see and a highlight of the Dublin theatre calendar. It is with excitement that we will wait for Smyth’s next piece of work.
Runs until 25 February 2017 | Image: Contributed