Review: Tom Crean: Antarctic Explorer

Review by Kevin Worrall

A tall, grueling and laborious tale that was told in the simplest of manners. 

Taking to the stage as the renowned Tom Crean, Aidan Dooley dons shabby clothing and a face covered in soot. Branding a lantern and pipe, he crashes through the fourth wall, and welcomes his audience to the world of 1912.

His delivery is inviting, instantly making onlookers feel at ease by poking fun at random people in the crowd and even starting a coughing party (just so we can all get it off of our chests)

Whilst the performance can at times struggle to hold focus, due to it being a straight monologue, Dooley ultimately manages to regroup daydreamers attention with his utter charm. 

It’s difficult to tell which parts are scripted and which parts are at Dooley’s own whim, due to his unique style of free flow and spontaneity. The show is written in  such a way that allows it to be messed with. Nothing feels meticulously planned.

However, the actor doesn’t make much use of his makeshift set, apart from picking up random objects which lay at his feet.

The production may have at times benefited with the use of sound to elevate the experience, even something as simple as the whistle of a snowstorm in the background. All of the responsibility to deliver the story fell onto Dooley’s shoulders.  

With such an ordinary looking man appearing before us, it’s almost unfathomable to imagine the struggles and perils that were faced on his long scavenge through Antartica. A man who is famous for saving lives, who ultimately would not live long enough to see the impact of his.

Crean will forever be remembered as a hero, and with the reception being received in the Gaiety theatre each night, maybe somewhere, Crean can hear.

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