The play takes its title from a game played by Belfastmen abroad - cheerfully badmouthing someone in English, and hoping they don't understand - an undeveloped metaphor for the rounds of "Truth or Dare" games that structure the conversations, and lay bare the plot. Jo (Peter O'Meara), like the author, is a writer who lived abroad and has now returned to meet his old mates, to whom he owes an unspecified apology. Colm (Alan McKee) is now a teacher in a Catholic school, and thus, although estranged from his wife, Anna (a hard-bitten, upsetting Emma Jordan), will not grant her a divorce. Meanwhile, a furiously embittered Tim (Peter Ballance) is still around, fired up to stir the manure again as a violent, yet catalytic truth-teller. Two hapless bystanders provide comic foils to the increasing savagery of the evening: Thomas Lappin's Ollie, hilariously dangle-jawed as the gormless recreational drug enthusiast; aching mournfully after the crumple- zone scowls of Maria Connolly's equally funny air-headed drop-out, Sarah.
All the performances have a vivid, even frightening commitment, and as the temperature rises, and they make the occasional mouthful of a line, it's because they're actually getting pissed - unlike the honeyrose joints, the alcohol is all for real. The resultant sweat beads certainly add an adrenalising lather to the later cathartic show-downs; director Tim Loane has sculpted an extraordinary, ferocious ensemble.
The immediacy of the bam-bam wordplay produces a hugely enjoyable buzz- a-minute comic texture of young-minded ceasefire cynicism, bathed in a kind of jokey Lavery's vernacular of these children of the l970s (Hong Kong Fuey, Pacers, the late John Pertwee) and their drained illusions (how crap Morissey is now); peppered with the kind of crude, free-range slagging that makes anything fair game for a gross riposte, most of which send belly- laughs rippling back through the crowd.
It's not a terribly original, or even a well-made play, but it's a wired- up acknowledgement, without any moralising intrusions, of the sloppy hedonism - or nihilism and damage, depending on the way you look at it - of the dominant youth culture. It's extremely inconclusive, with many of the issues raised left hanging in their air, but it's a serious opening salvo that bodes well for a new Belfast writer - so long as he doesn't waste his youth trying to write it all down.
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