By Carmel Shortall
Eddie bumps into old school friend, Paul at the Donegal wake of the latter’s uncle, Martin. Paul is clutching a new briefcase and appears to be a bit of a dick. Eddie may not be the brightest and he certainly hasn’t done too well for himself. There’s no love lost between the two and they bicker and spar until it emerges that Paul has got the job that Eddie had set his heart on and Paul’s lost love, Gemma, is ‘sexting’ Eddie. But this is just the start and further revelations show they’ve been screwing up each other’s lives and dreams for years.
Barry Wilson as Eddie is replacing another actor and does well to make the part so much his own. Writer, Mark Kavanagh plays Paul almost as if he secretly knows his ex-girlfriend would call him Nobby No-nuts behind his back.
Clare Nagarajan’s direction emphasises Paul and Eddie’s passive aggressive relationship by having the two sitting side by side facing the audience, never each other, except for moments of intense bickering and actual fighting.
Wake is very funny in parts and the account of how the deceased met his end is very dark indeed but the whole lacks a certain something. Despite the classic sitcom set-up, the opportunity to invest these two charmless losers with some pathos is lost amidst a welter of laddish misogyny. Nevertheless, there’s lots of potential here.