Outsiders by David McWilliams – This is not a review

Since I haven’t seen a review anywhere (well to be honest I haven’t looked, but in not looking I haven’t found one) I thought it would only be fair to put pen to paper and give my thoughts on the “part stand up, part discussion, part social observation” performance. This is not intended to be a review, because I simply wouldn’t know how to go about one, just some incoherent thoughts tied loosely together with full stops and capital letters.

Outsiders is probably best described as economics stand-up, the discussion part is nonexistent and the social observation part is at best selective. It’s an attempt to put McWilliams’ writing over the last number of years into a fully formed narrative – in this sense it is thoroughly engaging.

As you might guess the story comprises all the characters McWilliams has created to explain economics to the unfortunate readers of the Irish Independent, so breakfast roll man and whoever else all play their part in the Irish history of financial meltdown.

While these collective caricatures are a pretty irritating form of satire, admittedly, McWilliams is funny, in an uncompromisingly upper middle class way. He can also wield compassion, in an uncompromisingly upper middle class way. Which is pretty handy considering the audience he is likely to be playing to. McWilliams intersperses his economic analysis with personal stories of gay Australian surfers and his fathers’ humiliating period of unemployment, in a sense, it felt as if to try and convince the Abbey’s patronage that there is actually a recession going on.

In Outsiders McWilliams brings little new information to an audience familiar with his work, but it should come as a rude awakening to those who aren’t. Outsiders builds to a crescendo of damning criticism against NAMA and Fianna Fáil’s bank bailouts. However McWilliams does offer some reprieve, he argues that Ireland is well positioned to recover and gives one possible solution – suggesting that the funds of those corporations availing of Ireland’s tax haven (amounting to billions apparently) should be temporarily appropriated to stimulate indigenous business.

Outsiders is a call to arms, only time will tell whether Dalkey will rise up and take on the challenge.

Outsiders by David McWilliams
Abbey Theatre
On the Peacock stage
Wednesday 16 June – 3 July
Previews Wednesday 9, Thursday 10, Friday 11, Saturday 12, Monday 14, Tuesday 15 June
Tickets: €14 – €22

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