[Josh] Sticklin, who has become a master of the one-actor show – Cuchullain and Basra Boy (both byMidsummer Night’s Riot playwright Rosemary Jenkinson) were his other triumphs – imbues his character with a sort of indomitable brio which allows you to laugh off the most horrifying (and, in some instances, disgusting) incidents…He gives voice to all the other characters but not in the same way, say, as Jefferson Mays gives voice to the characters in I Am My Own Wife. When Sticklin speaks for Minter, by way of example, it is clearly not in Minter’s own voice but in the voice of Ross doing Minter – exaggerated and somewhat mocking. He thus makes Ross a raconteur, and a bold boy who makes us laugh at danger.
Director Abigail Isaac’s production team co-conspires to project us into the dangerous confines of Belfast city with only Ross for safe conduct; it is a thrilling ride, and a fun one. Of particular note is the spot-on sound work of Dan Deiter, who does projections as well.
The Ulster-born Jenkinson has plowed this territory before, but in A Midsummer Night’s Riot she shows a developing control of her material, and playfulness with it. Her gift for language has never been, in my view, better displayed. Sticklin is an ideal accomplice for these virtues; he creates a high-energy maverick who never takes life, or himself, too seriously…until it becomes serious, deadly serious, in the frame just beyond the last moment of the play. As with other great Irish plays like The Hostage and Mojo Mickybo, everyone has a great time until they realize they are playing hopscotch on the streets of Hell.