RTÉ Radio 1 Drama On One

Reviews

Listener feedback and press reviews

Some listener feedback for The Pipes by John Kelly...

Who do you like? Flann O’Brien,? J.P. Donleavy? Salvador Dali? Picasso? Hg Wells?
Like some or all of them then for the most surreal , most unexpected, the most supreme audible visuals you have heard you must listen to this broadcast.
Barry McGovern’s jaw dropping narration of John Kellys script is a match made in another dimension.
Listen, listen carefully, and you will still not be sure if you actually heard it or simply dreamt it.

LISTEN TO 'THE PIPES' BY JOHN KELLY Excerpt from Review of 2020 by John Boorman by Mick Heaney of The Irish Times


..Those seeking relief from the heartwarming speech programmes, musical specials and annual round-ups of the Christmas schedules could have done worse than tune into Drama on One: 2020 (RTÉ Radio 1, St Stephen’s Day). John Boorman’s satirical play had a sharp tone that not only cut through the cloying excesses of the season but also sought to shatter any fond illusions one might still harbour about Irish life. Written and directed by the veteran Wicklow-based film-maker, with a sterling cast in support, the drama presented a grim vision of Ireland’s future. Set nine years from now, in a country that has defaulted, exited the euro and abandoned its currency and State institutions amid a global economic crisis, 2020 followed two old friends, Joe (Brendan Gleeson) and Brendan (Stephen Rea), as they pursue contrasting paths. Joe leads a self-sufficient existence on the land, running a barter mart on the principles of “give what you can, take what you need”; seeking to escape this subsistence existence, Brendan proposes launching a new currency, the punt nua, with the aim of re-establishing the State’s supremacy. Gleeson’s character is content with life in postmonetary Ireland: “Now there’s no money, there’s no crime,” he says. For Rea’s character, this is proof that egalitarian frugality has robbed even criminals of initiative and motivation. Boorman’s drama was driven by a palpable distaste for injustice absent from would-be Irish satirists

Boorman makes it all too clear where our sympathies are supposed to lie.

Brendan’s new banknotes are adorned with portraits of Haughey and Ahern, while he promises the fickle mob that “your iPods will sing once more, your mobile phones will be clamped to your ears again”. In the end, Joe’s noble anti-materialism loses out to Brendan’s appeal to baser consumer desire, helped by wider financial interests: in the world of 2020 , the Chinese have bought up Kerry.

As the latter laboured gag suggests, Boorman’s play traded in the obvious too much for it to reach the Swiftian heights it aspired to. But there were some wry lines, such as Brendan’s pledge to “tempt Joe Duffy back from America to listen to your woes and triumphs, and tempt Pat Kenny back from Tahiti to keep us honest”. It was also difficult not to empathise with Joe’s manifesto for a country that works on the basis of “compassion, kindness, unselfishness, honesty and modesty”. Above all, it is striking that an English-born, seventysomething film director should be the one giving voice to such righteous anger.

Boorman’s drama may have lacked subtlety, but it was driven by a palpable distaste for injustice absent from Irish would-be satirists such as Oliver Callan (who appeared in 2020 ) and Mario Rosenstock, who instead favour a bland parity of esteem when it comes to picking targets for their gentle mockery.
The Irish Times - Saturday, December 31, 2011

LISTEN TO '2020' by JOHN BOORMAN