It takes a certain amount of skill for an actor to hold an audience’s attention for one hour straight. Yet Tony Doyle, star of the one-man show, ‘Weekend Warrior’ manages just that.
Playing the role of, well everyone, Doyle shifts between the central character, Wayne, and a host of others including, Da and Jane. Wayne regularly goes out and gets into fights, does drugs and gets fired from his job. Yet he never brings his family any trouble. And he never tells anyone about how he sometimes stands on the bridge above a river and contemplate jumping.
The play, written by Doyle himself, (produced by Joe Murphy and directed by Aonghus Og McAnally) masterfully tells the story of a young lad who feels lost. He was never the sporty kid in school. Nor was he the smart one. He felt empty. Nothing. Something everyone can easily relate to.
It took place in the cosy upstairs lounge of Bewley’s Cafe. Sitting at round tables, some patrons sharing with strangers, the audience feel truly part of an intimate experience.
The writing of the play is sharp, and follows a confessional type of style. Doyle doesn’t necessarily break the fourth wall, but the crowd do feel engaged with. He makes people feel really comfortable, even if Wayne’s life is something no one in the room has any first hand experience of.
As Wayne sets out to make changes in his life, he runs into various obstacles. As an audience, we experience the highs and lows across a span of a few months of Wayne’s life. From moments of laughter to sheer heartbreak, ‘Weekend Warrior’ gives excellent commentary on mental health amongst young men. Even breaking the seal on the negative impacts of toxic masculinity.
Incorporating elements of dance at certain points, surprisingly, the combination of various theatrical motifs creates a wonderful experience. Lighting and sound are also at play – kudos to the tech team, Tamar Kean and Colm Maher!
Doyle seamlessly transitions between figures in the play, without it feeling cheap or gimmicky. After all, the idea of a twenty-something year old lad from the wrong side of town joining a hip hop class could easily become a farce. Yet, Doyle gives it so much heart!
‘Weekend Warrior’ is a humorous and gut wrenching tale, which expertly offers a glimpse into a story that is not often shared.
Review by Kevin Worrall