The Irish aren't happy

Hip-thrusting, moving songs and abortions – Adam Hutton finds much to enjoy in The Iconoclasts. Shame about the staging

The venue for this show was beautiful, although that proved to be its undoing. 

It began strongly, a band silhouetted as the audience enter. #10pointsforsexy. I thought the frontman looked rather like Matt Smith, but then he was lit and I realised that he did not. He was just in a bowtie. Which frankly is a missed opportunity. #minus2points The show sounded and looked cool. I was in. I felt like shit was about to go down. And it did. A bit. A projection introduced us to the eponymous family in a rather amusing and succinct way before the family all came out and sang. We couldn't hear them, of course – they seemed to be as interested in the band as we were, but they sang nonetheless. I should add that once they stopped being enraptured by the sexy band they all sounded lovely.

I won't go into great detail about the performances in this show, as I do not think that would be fair. The reason for this is the staging. The space was vast, open and clean. I feel that this ruined the show. Had this piece been in a grotty, small theatre, it would have worked, it would have been great. But it wasn't. The performers drowned in the space, with only the Irish stand-in for Gob Bluth, Alec, played by Alexander Cosgriff, really filling it with his performance. His leaving the stage and sitting in the audience really humanised him. Something that none of the other characters really got to do until the last 10 minutes. Will Taylor discussing what occurred with the baby was wonderful, however, it was too little too late for me to really care all that much. I'm probably a bad person lacking the correct amount of empathy though, so take that with a pinch of salt. 

This isn't saying I didn't enjoy this piece; I did, I just wanted more. Perhaps seeding the abortion angle a little clearer earlier… but that's just a crazy idea. Don't feel you have to follow it.

Stray observations:

  • Will Taylor's incessant hip thrusting while singing about the EU was gold (another 3 sexy points).
  • The mum (Katie Coen) and Matt Smith 2: Electric Boogaloo (Thomas Parrish) interacting was fun. More of that. Actually, this should have been in the bulk of the review. The band felt very separate for most of it, bring them in. I'm sure they don't bite!
  • This was just my experience due to where I was sat, but the song that Will, Katie and Alex sung together was fucking moving as shit. Alex being sat directly behind me and the harmony almost surrounding me was gorgeous. 
  • Overall, the music/singing was great.
  • Too much smoke. It looks nice, but too much. I'm a smoker and it was too much for me for god’s sake! (But where did the smoke come from Michael?)

To sum up! 

On a scale of a rock concert to a presentation about the City of Culture, this show definitely leans more towards the fun side of things.

Standout performer: Alexander Cosgriff 

Sexy points: 11 

Explain a play badly with Josh: Miscarriage! The Musical (With a Twist).

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Photo credit: Aenne Pallasca