Theatre: The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole – The MAC, Belfast
September 28, 2017 Chris Caldwell 0 Comments
The cast of Adrian Mole burst onto the stage from a massive copy of the book and quickly inform us that we’re being transported back from 2017 to 1980’s. The opening song is an amazing list of rememberberries from the 1980’s from TISWAS to Space Raiders crisps, from Swap Shop to Margaret Thatcher. It’s a great way to set the scene and starts the show with a tone and enthusiasm that doesn’t let out over the next 2+ hours.
Adrian Mole at age 13 3/4 has decided that he wants to become an intellectual, on the cusp of puberty he feels detached and above his parents and classmates. Things don’t get any better when his mum suddenly leaves his dad for the next door neighbour and moves away. The musical play explores this tumultuous time in his life in a way that has you laughing and tapping your toes. The cast of 5 all play an array of characters, all except Adam Dougal who plays the titular Adrian Mole and is omnipresent throughout. Adam plays Adrian to perfection, capturing the essence of this iconic character and succeeding in making the audience warm to a character that can be quite unlikeable at times. He also makes us accept quite quickly that he’s actually 13 years old, a tricky but vital task! The rest of the cast shine as well, easily adopting different characters and effortless moving through the set and costume changes, of which there are many. Longtime Bruiser member Gerard McCabe is both funny and poignant as Adrian’s dad and, whilst his accent in places could use a little work, once again makes us glad every time he’s on stage. The rest of the cast whilst new to me – Colette Lennon, Orla Mullan and Keith Lynch – feel familiar and accomplished. The actors really feel like they are working together as a unit and it’s easy to forget that there are only 5 people doing all these different parts. A real accomplishment that makes for some brilliant theatre. As Always Stuart Marshall’s set design is perfectly suited to the play, from the giant book cover at the start to the many, many moving parts that twist and transform for each scene. Never taking away from the action but giving enough to inform us of where it’s taking place. Sounds design, lighting, costumes and all the crew involved should be commended also.
Adrian Mole is a great way for Bruiser Theatre Company to celebrate their 20th year and we can only hope we’ll be here to report back just how good their show is to celebrate their 40th anniversary in another 20 years.