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Curse of the Starving Class (at the Abbey Theatre)

You know, just once I’d like to see a play about a functional American family living within their means and completely satisfied with their circumstances. Still, Sam Shepard’s Curse of the Starving Class is a fairly solid deconstruction of the American Dream, a play that was – when produced – a prescient condemnation of a society living well beyond their means. Indeed, there are more than a few uncomfortable laughs during the play that suggest it’s just as relevant today (especially when certain characters trumpet land as a solid investment which only increases in value). Curse of the Starving Class is a solid production from the Abbey that handles a well-respected play in competent manner, but isn’t necessarily exceptional.

On the fence about it...

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Jumping the Sharks at the Smock Alley Theatre

Jumping The Shark is the moment when an established show changes in a significant manner in an attempt to stay fresh. Ironically, that moment makes the viewers realise that the show has finally run out of ideas. It has reached its peak, it will never be the same again, and from now on it’s all downhill.

tvtropes.org

Jumping the Sharks is a small, quirky play. Essentially a one-man one-act play following the triumph and decline of a Hollywood big shot as he waits in what must be limbo while outlining the seven core stories, it banks a lot on the central performance of Don Wycherley. Wycherley, an actor you might recognise from Perrier’s Bounty or Sweeney Todd, gives the play his all as former television executive and now dearly departed Nick Cross, managing to seem a convincing and charming conversationalist on a sparse stage. His delivery is truly impressive, inviting the audience to overlook some of the sleight of hand the play uses, and helping the hour breeze by.

Swimming with sharks...

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