Review: The Goof Thief

Mark Hoskins reviews ‘The Good Thief’, which runs at the ‘Theatre Upstairs’ until April 24th.

There’s something particularly Irish about the one man play. The fact that Connor McPherson’s The Good Thief is a noir tale of gangsters, betrayal and a femme fatal doesn’t change this one bit. The conversational nature of the performance coupled with the intimate setting of Theatre Upstairs at The Plough leave you feeling like you’ve spent the evening at the fireside of a modern day seanachaí, though maybe not the kind you’d like to encounter on a dark night.

The unnamed protagonist and narrator is a broken man. His ex-girlfriend is shacked up with his boss  and his latest job wasn’t as simple as it was supposed to be. When things go wrong he takes to the road in the hope of avoiding the Gardaí, the gangsters on his tail and possibly make, Gretta see what she’s been missing.

The Good Thief ticks many boxes. It’s a road story that takes you from Dublin to Leitrim via Kinnegad, Mullingar and Boyle. It’s a love story where the protagonist is torn between thoughts of the promiscuous Gretta and the more family orientated Anna Mitchell. It’s also comedy at its darkest as the protagonist reveals the murky depths of his psyche and the world he inhabits.

Written in 1994, this piece also raises questions about Irish society and authority. The ones who pull the strings and prosper are criminals and gombeen politicians. Others like Gretta sacrifice love in pursuit of wealth and power. Meanwhile, for people like the protagonist and Mrs. Mitchell a comfortable family life is a wild fantasy. In 2010, these themes are still relevant.

At times heartbreaking, sometimes horrifying and often hilarious, The Good Thief makes for a wonderful night’s entertainment and in the economic current climate the 10 euro admission fee, which also gets you a pint is fantastic value.