Dublin Fringe Festival: Whelp

Whelp by Come As Soon As You Hear at Dublin Fringe Festival 2013

Whelp by Come As Soon As You Hear at Dublin Fringe Festival 2013

‘When you’re eighteen, you’re out the door.’ Parents often make this threat, but a persistent economic downturn has rendered it an idle one. Empty nesters have found that their nests don’t remain empty for long, and the front door of many twenty-something’s childhood home has become a revolving one.
 In a series of comic vignettes, Red (Mary Conroy) and Yellow (Lola White) dissect with sharp irony the pitfalls of moving back in with your parents after trying to make it in the real world. We’re first introduced to the two young women decked out in 1950s Donna Reed décor and Dorothy Gale’s ruby slippers (‘There’s no place like home!’). Here they proclaim, as though starring in an infomercial, the highlights of actually living independently in your own home. There’re such princely benefits as having your own front door, a bed and appliances to cook things in. 

Jobless and beset by unpaid bills, the women are forced to move back into the drab black and white world of Mammy and Daddy’s place, enduring a string of infantilizing humiliations. The material, devised by the company, is clever and timely, but one or two segments could afford to be trimmed, and instances of audience participation fall a little flat. While director Joey Kavanagh could have sharpened the precision of some of the gags, his use of the Boys School space is well managed, and designer Niamh Cleary does wonders with cardboard cutouts and simple projections. The show’s heart belongs to Conroy and White, whose effusive charm ultimately keeps us hooked.

Star rating: ★★★

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  • Theatre

Dublin Fringe Festival: Whelp by Come As Soon As You Hear

8-13 September, 2013

Produced by Come As Soon As You Hear
In Smock Alley Theatre Boys School