Sean (Drew Boone) and Gerry (Paul O’Doherty) are two veteran radio hosts who have an opportunity to hit the big time – the leading breakfast show on national radio. What could possibly go wrong you may ask? Well, in answer to your question, quite literally everything and anything in this one hour and ten minute production. The production is suited for those aged 14+ due to some strong language, is part of the online and on demand productions showcasing at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.
The Sean and Gerry Breakfast Show was curated by the Fish Mail group, written by Jack Gallagher, Niall McCarthy and Fintan Morrison and directed by Jack Gallagher. The two man show was created as part of the Cinematic Arts within the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Ulster. This comedic venture is a timely reminder of the power of traditional broadcasting in an age of the dominance of social media and internet culture, and the impact which it can have, especially when two somewhat foolish and amateurish broadcasters are given the reins.
From the outset, we jump straight in. The play relies upon the simple singular setting of the radio booth and our two lead characters with contrasting personalities but equal measures of inappropriateness for their new roles as national breakfast show hosts. We see this presenting pair attempt to adapt to the trials which arise from hosting a new show, adapting to the modern broadcasting format and maintaining professionalism. Whether it is toneless jokes, messing up the schedule, swearing, failing to engage the audience or quite simply looking like a fool. The opening of this play may not be laugh out loud funny as a viewer, it’s more head in hands, due to the incompetence of these men wrecking their first radio show. But do not let the ineptitude of the characters result in lack of praise for the lead actors, engaging in their roles and their dynamic duo performance is engaging and well crafted.
After a fair bit of settling in time, the play begins its chaotic unravelling with a controversial take; do all ABBA songs sound the same? Are they really the most overrated band of all time? From here on out within the production, the chaos ensues. Whether it be angering the attendees of a Swedish Music Festival which is taking place nearby, upsetting woke society by damning a leading podcast host, causing a major car pile up, endangering a very needed trade deal with Northern Ireland and Sweden, or even accidentally announcing the death of the Queen. These two radio hosts seem unable to catch a break during their first breakfast broadcast.
Although we do not witness the chaos due to the simplistic use of a single set, thanks to the effective use of an off screen radio producer attempting to keep them in line and the use of the news bulletin, we successfully grasp the impact which these two bumbling breakfast hosts have caused.
The Sean and Gerry Breakfast Show ends on an admirable note, regardless of the chaos and general incompetence of both Sean and Gerry alike, the off stage producer who we have heard grow more and more in despair, informs the pair that in the end, they shall be rewarded. This aspect of the plot offers us as a viewer a timely reminder of how much the general public enjoy witnessing the chaos and mishaps which happen to others in our society and the fact that this sort of chaos is often rewarded with listenership and commercial success. Whether the presenting pair take the offer is for you to find out yourself, but all in all the play ends on the strong note of camaraderie which we have seen develop throughout the show, as it reminds us the power that there still is in radio broadcasting.
The Sean and Gerry Breakfast Show is playing online as part of the Edinburgh Fringe until 30 August . For more information and tickets, see Edinburgh Fringe’s website.