I trotted into the Project Arts Centre last night as I so often do without a clue what to expect from what I’m about to see. Sometimes I purposely avoid reading prologues and reviews in advance to see how a piece of work stands up by itself and what impact it has on me.
Sometimes I’m kicking myself for not doing so and other times I’m completely mesmerised and on cloud nine.
MIMIC was one of the latter. A one-man show with only a baby grand piano, a mirror and some lighting for company we are taken on an entertaining satirical journey through the life of Julian Neary’s turbulent, dark roller-coaster existence opening with what later turns out to be his dramatic demise.
Julian’s journey is troubled to say the least. Growing up in 80′s Ireland Julian discovers he has an unusual talent for mimicry, not something that his father – a man with strict ideals and stuck in the 1950s – takes a shine to and reacts by moving the family’s piano into the basement, or dungeon as Julian calls it. The dungeon is where Julian spends much of his youth during which time he forms a strong bond with his sister Aoife who seems to spend most of her spare time sneaking boys in and out the back entrance of the house.
Julian’s journey takes us through his failed college experience to his seemingly accidental rise to fame and all the way back down to earth again. The sharp and witty imitations of characters like Columbo and Morrissey set against the piano score make for welcome funny moments in amongst all the dark whirlwind life of the mimic.
I don’t want to say too much as I think part of the reason why I enjoyed it so much is that I went in with an open mind, a clean slate. Plus part of the joy is in how the story is told by Scannell and I certainly can’t do that justice here.
It was without doubt the best one-man show I have ever seen and one of the best pieces of theatre I have seen in my lifetime. I was completely sucked into the tale, absorbed into the crazy world of Julian and a small part of me didn’t want to come back out. Raymond Scannell – the writer, composer and performer – is nothing short of a genius. Stunning.
It’s at the Project Arts Centre only until this coming Saturday the 26th so rush to the website and get yourself a ticket this instant!