Liam Mullone: In A Dead Man's Hat

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

This is No Country For Old Men on a Fringe budget; a brooding piece of storytelling about the twilight world of the lonely Nevada desert, cut with childhood flashbacks and a sinister sense of revenge.

It’s certainly not stand-up, as Liam Mullone reminds us at the start, even though that’s his usual job. Indeed, it has been called the ‘most bloody depressing show on the Fringe,’ which seems a little harsh when you consider that in one show the audience play concentration camp victims, verbally abused by the brutal cast.

This is mainly the story of Mullone being stranded in America for six weeks after a stripper stole his bank cards, leaving him penniless until they were replaced. Picking up rancid pork chops and an appalling paperback with his last remaining change, he drove his van into the scorched wilderness where he sat and waited, and waited…

It’s a compelling tale, well written and skilfully told. En route, Mullone reminisces about teenage porn collections, a childhood toy that embodied all evil, seriously plotting to kill the father of his girlfriend who abused her, his success at being the best comedian for Viking-based material, and his murderous intent towards Jon Snow. It’s mostly heavyweight stuff and certainly no laugh-a-minute but ‘depressing’ misses the mark. ‘Dramatic’ would be better.

He’s clearly had an eventful life, and the honesty in the tales shines through. His delivery is hesitant and vulnerable, and he performs with a mixture of intense concentration and utter absent-mindedness; as if he needs all the focus he can muster to remember every detail of his near-filmic tale.

Mullone is not sure any of the events provided any particular life-changing epiphany, which would have helped with the storytelling. But still, he draws out the emotions in the situations. The only message he can muster is: ‘There has to be a reason for this shit’. But no; no there isn’t.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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