THEATRE REVIEW Radio Luxembourg, by Mick Donnellan

Going Out

Niall Molloy in ‘Radio Luxembourg’.
?Niall Molloy in ‘Radio Luxembourg’.?Pic: Javi Gil

Donnellan’s Radio Luxembourg – an explosive production

Theatre review
Ciara Galvin

BALLINROBE playwright Mick Donnellan has established himself on the theatre circuit of Ireland with his sharp, dark and comedic tales of rural Ireland and its characters.
For his latest instalment, the talented writer has steered away from the norm and has instead brought a much darker play to audiences in the west.
Radio Luxembourg, a black comedy centring around two Irish criminals involved in a tiger kidnapping, ran in the Galway Fringe Festival, finishing up on Thursday night last.
At last Tuesday’s staging by Donnellan’s company Truman Town Theatre, audience reactions were a mix of nervous laughter, gasps of shock and silence at times when characters discussed killings and societal taboos.
Donnellan’s writing holds no punches, the dialogue he has created between the two protagonists Joe (Neil Molloy) and Paddy (Callaghan O’Connell), is fast paced, ricocheting off a myriad of emotions, from Joe’s deep despair and loneliness to Paddy’s misplaced feelings of love for former girlfriend Samantha, played by Zaina Newesser.   
The play takes place in the sitting room of the daughter of a bank manager. The men plan to hold her ransom. At first everything seems to be going to plan, but, like many of the plays produced by Truman Town Theatre, things take a drastic and unexpected turn.
As Joe and Paddy reveal more about themselves to each other, their intimidating, scary clown makeup gradually diminishes, representing their vulnerabilities coming out into the open.
At first, the audience sees Joe as the bad guy, who speaks of killing his brother and wife for having an affair and burying them under his garden, while Paddy comes across as the rookie who wants to patch things up with his ex-girlfriend.
But as the 70-minute play progresses, Joe emerges as the vulnerable one of the pair who describes living alone in his ‘lonely skin’ with a house that smells of ‘mothballs and cheese’. Joe lives for the job, and indeed is prepared to die for the job. And it becomes apparent that Paddy’s darker side involves a long list of abuses of his former girlfriend.
Both men shone in their roles. Molloy’s Christopher Walkin impression was chilling; O’Connell’s portrayal of a frustrated, love-crazed criminal was utterly intimidating.
Another impressive production from Donnellan and all at Truman Town Theatre.

Radio Luxembourg has been bought and adapted for the screen by London film company STORY. The cast will include Love/Hate’s Robert Sheehan and Brian Gleeson. It is due for release in early 2015.