- Photo by Jim Coates.
A series rating the Irishness of local Irish plays for St. Patrick's Day. For an explanation of the scoring read: Which of D.C.'s Irish plays is the most Irish? Previously: Charming Billy, Juno and the Paycock.
Speedy (Josh Sticklin), the punk-rock Peter Pan of Belfast, is eager to avoid adulthood, playing pranks and putting up his dukes when he gets caught (he's named his fists "pinky" and "perky"). When his best friend decides to join the Army, he's judgmental of the choice that will force him into adulthood. But is this one-man-show the most Irish play in D.C.? (Note: some spoilers are revealed)
Drinking: 10. There's so much of it, and it's so destructive. Speedy spends much of the play in a drunken haze, and his one-man reenactment of a bar fight is epic. He also does some harder stuff, smoking pot, taking ecstasy and doing cocaine throughout the show. And just as Inuit populations have many different words for snow, Speedy uses several different words for drunk (swalled, speccied) and fighting (biccies, diggin').
Swearing: 10. Yep! Speedy even has his own swear word euphemisms, decoded on the handy vocab sheet distributed to audience members. "Donald-ducked," for example, means fucked.
Family drama: 3. The drama here is more about Speedy and his friend Stig. But Speedy's mother, who talks all too earnestly about her sex life, does make an appearance when she asks her son to leave so she can entertain a male visitor overnight.
Male/female ratio: 10. This is Speedy and Stig's story, and their world is one of delinquent male teenagers in pursuit of sex and trouble.
The supernatural: 0. Ghosts and fairies don't have a place in this play.
Death/injury: 7. There are injuries in the bar fight, of course, but the most grievous harm that comes to a character happens in Basra. When Stig comes home from the war, he's missing a leg.
Tracksuits: 0. But seriously, Speedy could have been in one! He's wearing jeans and a t-shirt.
Potatoes: 0, despite the fact that, with all the drugs Speedy does, he probably gets some pretty serious munchies.
Weather: 0. The closest thing to a storm in this play is Speedy's hurricane of a bar fight.
Accents: 8. Sticklin's got it down, and Jenkinson's melodic and slang-packed script certainly aids in the accent's authenticity.
Bonus points: 5. One of those points is for Sticklin's acrobatics — he worked up a sweat within the first 20 minutes of the show when I saw it from bouncing off the walls and across the bar. The other four points are for the following entries on the Basra Boy vocab sheet: "Schwalldinkle — an alcoholic drink. "Sensibles — ecstasy pills." "Faugh-a-ballagh — _rish battle cry meaning 'Clear the way!'"
Total score: 53. Basra Boy just barely edges out Charming Billy to take the lead. That's good, because it only seems right that an Irish playwright could write a more Irish play than an American.