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LAD by Alan Mahon and Rhys Dunlop at the Vault Festival | Review

LAD by Alan Mahon and Rhys Dunlop
LAD by Alan Mahon and Rhys Dunlop

Have you ever wondered what that little voice in your head looks like? Maybe it’s a small child, a ‘devil-like’ figure? Some would have you believe it’s a chimp! Well, One Duck Theatre have the answer, and in Lad, the lastest production from writer-performer duo Rhys Dunlop and Alan Mahon, that voice in your head is a twentysomething manchild!, attired in an oversized patterned shirt, very tight cycling shorts and in possession of an oh-so seductive Irish accent! His primal aim in life is to protect you from embarrassment, ensure you get laid and to keep your mind focused on sex! And herein lies the problem!

On the face of it, Lad is a laugh-out-loud, 60-minute production with buckets full of sex jokes, both verbal and mimed! However, when you step back from this production what you see is a beautifully written, expertly performed production exploring how millennial men, lads, are struggling to navigate society – how the role of the dominant, beer-swilling, foul-mouthed sexist lad is balancing his masculinity whilst also trying to become a feminist and embrace his emotional, softer side.

Lad is a two-handed monologue, both Rhys Dunlop and Alan Mahon portray our protagonist! The archetypal lad. There isn’t really any set, just a large bench which is shaped like a cock and balls. The lighting is used to break the scenes and show movement in time, but the rest of the production is just Dunlop and Mahon. They are excellent, their onstage chemistry is the best I’ve seen in years, they are one and the same. Watching them banter, work together and in conflict is like watching a masterclass. Their characterisation, movement and interaction is seamless.

We join the action with our lad writing, or trying to write his best man speech, and the piece ends with the delivery of that speech. What happens in the 50+ minutes in between is a pure joy to watch.

I found my self laughing loudly throughout most of the production. I particularly enjoyed the scene where our lad is on a night out at a student bar, and his alter ego is narrating David Attenborough style the mating dance of the young drunk man!

The way in which this piece explores mental health is really positive and impactful.

I would highly recommend this show if you are looking for a release, or you need reassurance that you’re not alone in this world, or you just want a good old belly laugh.

5 Star Rating

Review by Faye Stockley

Steve is fine. No really, he’s grand. He’s a lad. He’s always been a lad — one of the lads. But the lads have changed and Steve feels like an endangered species. The last of his kind. With nobody to talk to.
But there’s one lad left. His lad. And his lad… talks back.

LAD is a cheeky two-hander that tugs playfully at the knot of toxic masculinity.
A balls-to-the-wall comedy about… balls. And becoming a better man.

Credits
Written and performed by Alan Mahon & Rhys Dunlop
Director Thomas Martin
Movement Consultant Bryan Burroughs
Lighting Design Cillian McNamara
Sound Design Ekaterina Solomatina
Set Design One Duck
Set Builder Stephen Lockhart

4 – 8 Mar 2020
https://www.wearevault.org/

Author

  • Faye Stockley

    Faye read Theatre & Performance at The University of Warwick; she went on to work as a stage manager in London and Edinburgh. She had a year's stint on-board the MV Island Escape as a Social Host and Compere and now works full time as a Recruitment Manager for the broadcast, entertainment and media sectors.

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