Jenny Butler takes a look at Tracer, running at the New Theatre in Temple Bar until September 6
If you’re a creative person who has to work in a non-creative office-based job to ensure that you have a steady pay cheque to pay the bills, then you’ll immediately identify with one of the main characters, Richard.
He’s a documentary film maker, played in a brilliantly believable performance by Patrick O’Donnell, who is settling into his first few days of work in the coding department of a market research firm. The bland, grey carpet and white blinds set the scene perfectly and gradually we’re introduced to all of the characters that work in various departments of the company.
I can tell you straight away that if I were to bring you into one office in particular that I used to work in, I could point out the people who are carbon copies of the characters in this play; both the casting and the authenticity that the actors bring to their roles are superb.
Simon Toal does an excellent job of bringing the character of Baggot Street pub regular and Leinster Rugby fan Ken to life; Toal’s performance was rewarded with several genuine laugh-out-loud moments from the audience. Ken’s uncle got him his job at the company and like most benefactors of nepotism, he’s pretty much hopeless at everything and relies on feisty Lauren, played by promising actress Clara Purcell, to keep him in check.
Michael Bates shines as a caustic and calculated accounts department employee named Loftus, while Ranae Von Meding brings realism and poise to her role as the somewhat unlikely hero of sorts, Deborah.
Noticing that people are being transferred to different sectors of the company around the world, and after having overheard a conversation between two of his colleagues, Richard figures out that something is amiss, and recruits his co-worker, Campbell, played with laid-back charm by Stephen Kelly, to help him to uncover the mystery of the missing colleagues, and what lies behind the door of forbidden fourth floor.
What unfolds turns out to be the rumbling of an intricate operation which calls for the intervention of ‘advanced HR’ manager, Decker, impressively played by Stewart Roche. Decker and Loftus must ensure that their company’s plans are not disrupted, and Richard is left with an important decision to make.
I am a fan of Roches’ witty writing style, which does come across really well in this piece in several scenes. However I was left feeling a little disappointed in the second half of the performance, perhaps due to the interval break disrupting the suspense somewhat. That being said, ‘Tracer’ is an enjoyable piece of theatre with a strong and talented cast. Setting aside an evening to see the show in the charming New Theatre would be an evening well spent.
Purpleheart Theatre Company presents the world premiere of: ‘Tracer’ by Stewart Roche at The New Theatre, Temple Bar, Dublin until September 6th, 2014. Tickets: €15.00/€12.00 Concession. For more information: http://www.newtheatre.com