Vinny made it big as a TV star in Ireland in his youth, but he’s a bit older now and finding the parts harder to come by. But something’s got to give, his girlfriend is pregnant, her father is offering him a proper job in his law firm, but Vinny’s biggest problem is his self-destructive alter ego, hellbent on hedonism.
Vinny is played by writer Mark McAuley, and is accompanied on stage by an Inner Vinny (Gary Buckley) at all times. It is a nice device and allows the inner impulses that drive Vinny to be illustrated and permits overt comment on his own behaviour. Although the separate personalities are not clearly delineated. Sometimes Inner Vinny is the hedonist, dragging him to Carlito’s for some Class A indulgence, other times it is Vinny messing things up himself with the inner psyche being the voice of reason. A more equitable division of the role, with each actor representing a particular aspect of the personality may allow for more clarity.
The play is dynamic and moves with great energy, but occasionally the dialogue is a little expository, Vinny’s conversation with his friend felt like a session with a psychotherapist as he explained at length his situation and feelings. Vinny is also let off the hook a bit too often, the loyalty of Sasha (Lisa Tyrrell) and the support of his friend doesn’t feel deserved as we don’t see enough of his charming side to justify their love and friendship. The overused trope of being saved by the love of a good woman is at work here.
The performances of the four strong cast are good, though it must be said that Fiach Kunz is a delight, playing a sequence of masterful cameos, every one – stern father-in-law, slobby taxi driver, the best friend, and particularly the drug dealer Carlito – clearly defined.
A Fear and Loathing Actor in Dublin captures the insecurities of actors, in and out of work, dreams of meaningful art balanced against the well-paying fluff. The highs of performing being transmuted into chemical highs and an expensive and damaging drug habit. The damage to the actor’s ego of the constant insecurity is painfully laid bare.