The Duality of Man, written, directed and produced by Niall McCarthy seems very promising from the flyer. . Indeed, some of the jokes are simply hilarious and show the potential of the show. However, sadly, the jokes that show the potential do not complement the work that has to be put in to realise that potential. By the end of the show, the audience is more focused on not falling asleep than laughing. By this point, there have been too many aspects that require improvement.
A few of McCarthy’s jokes are quick and witty, but he also has the courage to say things that while not controversial are rather unexpected from someone who is 24 years old: “I don’t like to travel. I prefer to go on boring holidays.” In a world of comedians that strive to be as relatable as possible, admitting that you are the black sheep who doesn’t share these common passions could be alienating to the audience. It would be scary to admit in a casual conversation, let alone into a mic on stage. But this honesty is the show’s biggest strength and is not to be sniffed at.
However, only several such jokes are funny, but in general, the content lacks properly-researched material and development. Unfortunately, the list of aspects that need improvement only starts here. In the case of The Duality of Man, the problems are caused one by another in a line of falling dominos.
Both the presentation and technical side of the show are poor. . In a show that does not require any props, scenery, costumes, one might expect the technical side of the show to be by default polished almost to perfection. A truly good show cannot be solely based on content but depends also on how the content is communicated to the audience, and the technical aspects of that communication are lacklustre.
The microphone is obviously not working, yet McCarthy keeps it in his hands. The venue is small and the volume of his own voice is enough to perform without the mic, but he clings to it. If a piece of technical equipment is not functioning, get it off stage as quickly as possible to avoid distracting the audience.
The problem with the microphone only highlights another issue: McCarthy freezes onto it seemingly because he does not know what to do with his hands. The answer is simple: do nothing. Keep them the same way you would in a casual conversation, and the presentation alone would be much better. Indeed, if McCarthy spoke more like he were in a casual conversation, so too would his poor articulation be resolved. The script should be delivered to the audience clearly, and not quickly muttered.
These issues with the physical performed are also seasoned with technical flaws, which are minor but still irritating and distracting to the audience. Just like holding the not working microphone is pointless and unnecessary, so is the random switching of lights which seemed to happen at the free will of the technician. It adds nothing to the show, possibly only helping the audience to wake up a little bit.
Overall, The Duality of Man by Niall McCarthy suggests minimal work put in. Whether this is due to the lack of external coaching and unawareness of what to do and how to do, it’s hard to say. This is a show with potential, but to be good and worth watching it requires much more effort.
Niall McCarthy, The Duality of Man is on at theSpace@Surgeon’s Hall (Venue 53)
Image: Niall McCarthy