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Nutshell review: The Year of Magical Wanking

Every day, TheJournal.ie brings you reader-generated reviews of the hottest tickets at the ABSOLUT Fringe Festival 2011.

Image: ABSOLUT Fringe Fest

THE ABSOLUT FRINGE 2011 has over 100 shows playing out across Dublin until 25 September. Each day, TheJournal.ie will bring you our readers’ reviews of the pick of the crop and everything in between. You’ll get the chance to get in on the act yourself with our daily reader review tickets giveaway!

Today’s review:

The Year of Magical Wanking

(THISISPOPBABY, Neil Watkins)

Peter Berry’s review: Sometimes performances come along that break new ground and push people into unchartered and unfamiliar territory – where the viewer feels unfamiliar or discomforted. When The Playboy of the Western World was first staged there were riots outside the Abbey Theatre. It is easy to imagine that in front of certain Irish audiences Neil Watkins, the subject of the play, would incite the same sort of riots.

This is a very powerful journey into a world of sordid taboo which Irish people in general are usually all too happy to tippy-toe around as they segway through life. This performance is as brilliant as it is disturbing. Throughout the play Watkins vividly illustrates his experiences of drug use, of being a self-confessed masochist and a victim of child abuse.

This is not for those that are easily offended. However, it represents a quantum leap in how it addresses issues which are all too often conveniently kept in the background and dark corners of society. There is nowhere to hide from the Watkins’ experiences in the sparse stage layout and the entire performance is exceptionally executed in a rhyme and verse that is nothing short of Shakespearean.

This play needed to be staged. It is about time that in 21st Century Ireland we come to terms with what has and is going on all around us.  As much as anything this is a requiem for the Catholic Church and all the bogus social standards that once dominated Irish society.

In three words? Disturbing. Anti-Establishment. Controversial.

Read more Fringe Fest reviews in a nutshell>

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