Love, Peace and Robbery

Reviewer's Rating

Writer for Cork’s Evening Echo, Liam Heylin’s Love, Peace and Robbery is a five star smash! Following the shows success last year, Heylin’s crime comedy returns to the stage under the direction of Asylum Production’s Donal Gallagher. With a sparse set and white backdrop Cork’s criminal underworld unfolds one lego piece at a time.

Darren and Garry have just been released from Cork Prison on TR (temporary release). With a string of misdemeanours under their belts and the good old days long behind them, this time have they really cleaned up their act? Suspect to nightly curfews and willing participation in a state rehabilitation programme, it’s not long before the pair fall back into their old ways. With the pressures of family life and financial worry weighing heavy on their shoulders, it is a sleepy post office on the outskirts of town which becomes the solution to all of their problems.

Delinquent Darren can’t help himself. His character epitomizes the dangers of an idle mind. Excited by any opportunity to break the rules, Darren’s disregard for the law seems to grow with every bust. While jailbird Garry’s petty criminal history has been nothing but a disappointment to his family. 14 year old Shane reluctantly discloses that his soccer club is planning a trip to Old Trafford. Having grown accustomed to Garry’s failings, Shane has assigned himself to that fact that he won’t be going even before he asks. Fed up of drinking and thieving, Garry is determined to make up for the wrongdoings of his past and finally do right by his family. Insistent upon keeping his head down, how will Garry source the money for Shane’s trip?

Robbery of course! Loaded with Garry’s brains, Darren’s muscle, two balaclavas and a handgun the duo embark on one last hoorah. Heylin’s script is effortlessly authentic. He finds comedy in affliction which is a real tribute to the character of the Cork people. Regardless of the binge drinking and weed smoking we want Garry to be able to send Shane to Manchester and we want Darren to be able to take a book off a shelf, open it and read it but their addictions run deep and although they vocalise the best of intentions, the pattern proves incessantly difficult to break.

Shane Casey is outstanding in the role of the young scut and despite the characters brash manners, Casey allows Darren’s vulnerability to shine through in perfect proportion to his hooliganism so as that we root for him from beginning to end. Likewise Aidan O’Hare delivers an excellent portrayal of the tired felon. But it is Ciaran Bermingham who dazzles in every role he acquires. From Darren’s beloved dog to Garry’s vexed ‘old doll’ Bermingham is exceptional.

With a standing ovation to conclude the saga, Love, Peace and Robbery is the perfect antidote for those January blues.