Dublin Fringe Festival: Counter Culture

Katie Kelly's 'Counter Culture' as part of Dublin Fringe Festival

Katie Kelly's 'Counter Culture' as part of Dublin Fringe Festival

“Visualise.  Organise.  Potentialise.  And remember: Always fluff and fold.”  This is just one of the ‘Top Tips’ given to the employees of Macken’s Department Store in Dublin by an overly articulate and sickeningly smiley woman (O’Kelly) whose voice is accompanied by the cheesiest elevator music imaginable.  Other unbecoming guidelines issued by this hilariously patronising tycoon include how to shower properly.  It’s funny, yes, but this one-woman show has an unsmiling message of sorts to deliver.
Katie O’Kelly begins and ends her multi-character journey as a personified snowflake who finds a momentary point of rest in the palm of the outstretched hand of Jim Larkin’s statue.  From here, the tenor of the play is set on which the story of four employees (and a few too many other ephemeral characters) on a normal working day can be told.  With O’Kelly’s unfaltering transitions, we meet Gemma, a heavily pregnant young woman who is not permitted to sit down during her long shift in the bedding section, and her frail Grandmother, Bridie, who has never missed a day’s work at Macken’s since she started there at eighteen.
Through this kaleidoscopic story of inequity in the modern workplace, nostalgia, bribery, struggle, and half hope, told with the utmost industriousness by the pitch-perfect O’Kelly, the plot brims to the point of overflow for such a short play.  With taut direction by Donal O’Kelly and the brilliantly imaginative use of an empty metal clothes rack, it is clear that Katie O’Kelly is not afraid of hard work.

Star rating: ★★★

  • Review
  • Theatre

Dublin Fringe Festival: Counter Culture by Katie O'Kelly

11-14 and 21 Sept 2013

Produced by Katie Kelly
In Bewley's Cafe Theatre

This is part of the Show in a Bag series at Dublin Fringe Festival 2013, supported by Fishamble:The New Play Company and Irish Theatre Institute