Saturday, 13 October 2007

The Creative Lower Being by Karl McDermott

The Creative Lower Being
Karl MacDermott
Killyon House Books

MANUS Mannion is a Creative Lower Being, "screenwriter, committed melancholic and non-viveur", his lonely life taken up with efforts to sell scripts that exude a damp self-loathing.

Each time he makes a pitch, his victims make bright suggestions that may help him to catch the tune of the 'zeitgeist', and rush to answer their mobile phones and get away.

Lyric FM has been broadcasting fabulously funny scenes from this, Galway comedian Karl MacDermott's first book. But it works better as spoken word than a book for reading.

There are some belly-laughs that burst with an unexpected joie-de-vivre.

In one scene, the student Manus mistakenly takes the part of Lucky in the H-Block Godot. Mullet-wearing poseur Ivor O'Doherty tells his cast: "Not many of the established members of Dramsoc have been prepared to risk their so-called careers by working with me."

In this Godot, "tramp costumes are out. Shit covered sheets are in," he tells them.

Naturally, Manus's parents want to support their son in his career choice, and no matter how he tries to stop them, they're determined to see him act.

Later Manus gets an acting job with Curious Lemon theatre company, directed by 'taboo rich' Nigel MacBeth (rich, but doesn't like talking about it).

The superstitious actors are terrified. Nigel ridicules the superstition about mentioning That Play, and insists on being called by his surname. The actors is hobbling around in casts and on crutches as sinister accidents befall one after another.

The Creative Lower Being could do with sticking to the comedy and avoiding the dank angst that takes it over at times. But it's a promising start for a badly-needed comedy voice in Ireland.

xxx stars

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