Bandit – marathon man seeks redemption

Bandit was one of 5 ‘Show in a Bag’ at this year’s Absolut Fringe, an initiative was established in 2010 by Fishamble: the New Play Company, ABSOLUT Fringe and Irish Theatre Institute to facilitate the creation of five new small scale, tourable shows which would highlight the talents and skills of performers making work for the Dublin Fringe.

Bandit is a mile by mile account of Peter (Brian O’Riordan) as he runs in the Dublin City marathon woven into the story are Peters childhood, the relationship with his sister, women, leaving for London and 2 years spent in Mexico. One small point in what was a very enjoyable show; I never heard of the term Bandit in terms of running before and I was really curious about the title. Since the show I have found out a bandit is “One who runs a race without paying an entry fee or wearing a number” However in the story Peter says while in Mexico he filled in an application form to run in the Dublin City Marathon.

Peter who is the past had shown potential to be a top athlete but had failed to deliver. Having drifted in London, Peter regains his focus for running in Mexico and with perfect altitude training and away from all distraction he decides to enter the Dublin Marathon his aim is to make the B time for the Rio Olympics which is 2hrs 18minutes. At the beginning of the race he pushes his way up to the elite section, and has been spotted by one of the officials and asked to move back. Peter ignoring his pleas is befriended by a girl who claims that Peter is actually her pace maker and he just forgot to bring his singlet. Up ahead Peter see a rival from the Irish Junior championship Gary, who tangled with Peter who then fell although he recovered he finished in fourth. We sense there is little love lost between Gary and Peter.

Peter provides detailed account of the race and effortlessly moves between characters of the Gary and the girl during the race, Gary is depicted brilliantly with a Northern accent, Each mile is signified by a blip on his watch which provides the opportunity to switch back to his childhood, his life in a dead-end job at the bank, moving to London and absconding to Mexico with £3,000 from the bar he worked at.

As Peter edges closer to the finish line, a tragic incident involving his sister become central as to why he wants to make Rio 2016. Similar in style to Aenghous Og McNally’s very successful ‘Fight Night‘, still a lovely story nicely paced over 2 hours 18 minutes or in our case 55 minutes.

Written and performed by Brian O’Riordan

Location: Bewley’s Café Grafton Street.

Dates September 12 -21

Times 18.00 each day

Duration 55 minutes

© Tom Dowling image by Tom Dowling

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Categories: Theatre

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