Bullied – Bewley’s Cafe Theatre Review
by Brian Merriman
‘Bullied’ is one of the first productions to start the 2024 theatre year, playing in Bewley’s Cafe Theatre.
The play was previously staged in collaboration with the Five Lamps Arts Festival. It is a neat piece of theatre, well crafted by writer Michael J Hartnett.
Bullying is not a nice subject. It needs to be handled well, in an accessible way, so that we will all open our ears and eyes to the signs and show the courage to take on nature’s ultimate coward – the bully. Bullies only target talent and Anna’s early achievements in a new school project her towards this unwanted attention.
Hartnett uses an intergenerational story to engage us and it succeeds very well in the hands of Vinny Mc Cabe as the ‘Grandfather’ and a polished Shauna Brennan as ‘Anna’ his granddaughter. Brennan is a fortunate young actor to tread the boards with such an established professional as Mc Cabe. They work well together and she acquits herself well in meeting the challenges of the impeccable timing Mc Cabe is known for, along with his considerable stage presence.
The script also harvests the intergenerational challenges of customer service being geared to one generation though depended on by another. The ‘customer care’ scene should be a compulsory part of any call centre training course.
It is quite a considerable length of time into the script before the ‘B word’ emerges. There are hints and a lot of space for Mc Cabe to entertain us with light-hearted Dublin humour. The importance of the adult listening, the consequence of pre-occupied parenting which fails to read the signs and the ultimate building of trust between the generations, makes this short piece of great value to schools and parents tackling this toxic culture.
‘Bullied’ is well-paced, has plenty of humour and handles this topic well. It is a finely crafted tale, which maximises the skills of both the production team and the on-stage performers, to ensure a lunchtime well spent at this city centre theatre.
Written By Michael J. Harnett
Directed by Vinnie McCabe
Starring Shauna Brennen and Vinnie McCabe
January 10th to February 3rd, 2024
There will be a SOIRÉE SHOW at 7pm on Jan 18th
Mon-Sat at 1pm (doors open at 12.50pm)
Low-price Mon/Tues €10
SOIRÉE Tickets: €12
Duration 55 minutes