Review of the play Guaranteed!

There's a performed reading doing a bit of a tour in the east of Ireland at the moment. It's a play called Guaranteed! and its timing is perfect, with the release of the Anglo tapes, where bankers are heard laughing.

Guaranteed! is about the banking crisis in 2008, and the bank guarantee that locked the Irish exchequer to the failing financial institutions.

Fianna Fail was the dominant party for the last century in the Irish Republic. They were the main party in charge back in 2008 when the poopeedoo hit the air ventilation system.

To give you a brief idea of the competence of Fianna Fail, parties to the immediate left and right of them might manage to scrabble and hold onto power for a few years before FF are returned to rule (often with a smaller coalition partner - a runt that usually gets hammered come the next election for being associated with the FF brand) for a decade or more.

In the brief time periods that the other parties gain power, you might get flashes of good stuff, like a reduction in the corporate tax rate to attract MEGACORP and PHARMAGLOBE to the country, where they'll set up big factories makin' drugs and microchips and concentrated sody pop serum in dustless, spotless rooms, or the establishment of the Criminal Assets Bureau, to shtrip criminals of their ill gotten gains so they can't buy houses and flash cars.

Then, FF come back into power for a decade or more and you'll get a smoking ban introduced, and they just sit at the tiller with their finger on the button and watch the world float by. Now, smoking bans in public places are positives. Anything that limits one's ability to suck burning tobacco sticks is good for the health. And in a country where rules and regulations tend to be laughed at - a vestige, some believe, from colonial times, when it was regarded as okay to do a bit on the side, to source stuff from the black market or to get paid under the table - the successful introduction to Irish culture of salubrious smokeless pubs and restaurants before anywhere else in Europe certainly ain't small pertaters. How'd you like them apples?

But other than the shmoking ban, what have Fianna Fail done for us?

None of this glib generalising has much to do with Guaranteed! which deals quite forensically with the period of three years leading up to the crisis and a little bit afterwards. There is a political even-handedness to the show, with the opposition parties also seeming quite culpable in terms of economic policy.

It's well worth a gander. There's even one moment where a bright minister - the best of the bunch, the late Brian Lenihan - is mansplaining a Latin term to what I believe was a female policy wonk. The unintended sexism only served to highlight a pretty impressive production that does in fact make things quite clear without seeming too expository, and shows what went down in the government offices in September 2008. Writer Colin Murphy has done his research, although he claims that in some cases artistic licence had to be taken and there is a certain amount of conjecture.

After the show, there's a discussion with the writer and various others, such as politicians and media commentators. Minister Joan Burton and high profile Independent TD Stephen Donnelly were in attendance last night at Draiocht in Blanchardstown.

Well worth a gander, as I said. (And if you catch the show in Waterford, you might even get a tasty ham and cheese blaa in a nearby cafe before the performance. Tasty!)

So maybe check out one of the performances for the rest of the run.

Pavilion Theatre, DĂșn Laoghaire
26th June, 8pm

axis: Ballymun
27th June, 8pm

Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray
28th June, 8pm

Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford
29th June, 8pm

Civic Theatre, Tallaght
1st & 2nd July, 8pm