This year for the Newry Drama Festival, instead of offering critiques on the performances, I am inviting others to do so, while I merely reflect in advance on the storyline of each play.
The home team Newpoint …
… having signally failed to impress successive adjudicators in recent years with adventurous, innovative and complex productions such as Macbeth and last year’s (Brian Friel’s) Making History – have handed the reins to a younger generation who are offering the ultra-light weight Where has Tommy Flowers gone? by Terrence McNally – a play that I respectfully suggest would be better suited to the confined circuit. I make no bones about expressing my disenchantment from the outset though I wish the new producer and his cast well.
Where has Tommy Flowers gone? by Terrence McNally [Newpoint]
Constructed as a series of vignettes, skits and brief incidents, the play portrays the life and attitude of one Tommy Flowers – irrepressible cut-up, determined freeloader, and disenchanted rebel against society. In the course of his adventures he befriends a destitute old actor, acquires an over-sized sheep dog (his best friend), and finds love with a beautiful music student (whom he meets in the ladies’ room at Bloomingdale’s).
But as Tommy moves from scene to scene, his bright red shopping bag at the ready for pilfering and his agile wit poised to hoodwink everyone in sight, we also glimpse the root causes of his alienation – his ailing, complaining mother back home; an unhappily married brother; a former girlfriend who has settled for a suffocating domesticity; and a venturing forth which has brought more rejection than acceptance.
In the end, betrayed yet again, but still buoyantly defiant, Tommy devises his final rip-off – a bomb to blow him, and at least some small portion of a world he cannot accept into oblivion.
… more later …