Chancers – The Civic Theatre, Dublin

Website Review

Ciara Murphy –, February 19, 2014

Presented by Viking Theatre and written by Robert Massey, Chancers is a lively, highly entertaining and hysterical comedy that shows its audience that “there’s more than one way to win the lotto”.

Struggling to maintain his livelihood, a small grocery shop, Aiden, played by Luke Griffin, and his wife Dee, played by Mary Murray, like many other Irish business owners have come on hard times. With Dee now looking for a job, and with the family living in the storerooms behind the shop, the outlook is bleak for their futures. Their fortune changes however when local busybody and cantankerous “auld one” Gertie Graham (Anne Brogan) walks into the shop with a winning lotto ticket. This ticket could be the answer to all of their problems if only they could get their hands on it…

The set for Chancers (Liam O’ Neill) is superb and its authenticity exaggerates the comedy of the piece. Massey successfully and simultaneously provides a commentary on the burst “property bubble” in Ireland and a vivid and amusing look into how far people are willing to go to come out on top. Though not necessarily believable, the script’s comedic pace allows it its success and the audience is left delighting over the many moments of hilarity peppered throughout the plot.

The onstage chemistry between the four characters is priceless. Brogan’s portrayal of the neighbourhood gossip Gertie Graham steals the show and propels the plot. The most important aspect of great comedy on stage is timing and Chancers delivers on this beautifully and captures the imagination of the audience with its whirlwind series of events. The relationship between husband and wife, Aiden and Dee, gives the production a sense of the serious as the audience is given a view of what is at stake and what has been, and will be, lost. The introduction of the couple’s best friend JP, played by Andrew Murray, adds a new dimension of comedy that works in time with the plot to diffuse the darkness.

The balance of light and dark, comedy and tragedy work in unison as the situation grows more and more ludicrous, working up to a dramatic final scene which leaves the audience laughing and craving more.
Chancers is a super charged comedic experience not to be missed.