The coke-snorting, alcohol-guzzling, profanity-spewing and sexually promiscuous protagonist of Cuchullain, the one-man show now playing at The Keegan Theatre, belongs to a familiar theatrical archetype: the degenerate anti-hero who compensates for his wayward shenanigans with disarming charm, charisma and bracing good humor. Aaron, the 19-year-old Irish reprobate played with obvious relish by Josh Sticklin, may not convince you that his wanton actions belie an essentially virtuous soul. But you may find him more likeable than you should.
An ad for Cuchullain (pronounced koo-KULL-in), written by the Irish playwright Rosemary Jenkins and directed by Abigail Isaac, compares the production to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but Aaron’s persona perhaps more vividly evokes the protagonist of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, who combines parasitic lawlessness with puerile innocence.
Leaping about the stage, depicting conversations with one bit character after another, and even staging a fight sequence, Sticklin flawlessly creates not only a compelling, nuanced stage protagonist, but also a fully realized mise-en-scène that complements and illuminates its stoned yet hyper-cognizant anti-hero.