TO suggest Flann O'Brien was in touch with his ridiculous side when he rattled out his wonderfully audacious flight of internal fancy disguised as a novel at the fag-end of the 1930s is to seriously understate things somewhat.

Or at least that’s the suspicion in the Sligo-based Blue Raincoat company’s rip-roaring riot of a stage adaptation as fashioned into shape by writer Jocelyn Clarke and director Niall Henry.

For the uninitiated, O’Brien begins his yarn with the premise that one ending isn’t nearly enough for any novel of worth, so, through the initial eyes of a feckless and possibly autobiographical student, proceeds to open out his world to a multitude of possibilities, mythologies and other things stranger than fiction.

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What emerges out of such a pre post-modern stew in Blue Raincoat’s multi-tasking hands is a fast-moving pop-up book collage of junkyard vaudeville, lip-synching operatics and pulp western combined with live art trappings and Irish Dada. Thus apparelled, it proceeds to jump through linguistic and stylistic hoops before tumbling into itself with the familiar fluidity of dreamscapes explored while dozing at one’s desk. It’s a world where a first drink is accompanied by what sounds like a choir of angels, and when the pantomime cow steps through the red velvet drapes and into the spotlight on the bare floorboards of Jamie Vartan’s decrepit speak-easy set, it’s hard to avoid a fit of the giggles.

As performed by a cast of – just five, was it? – Blue Raincoat have produced a magnificently arch flesh and blood personification, not just of the low-attention span peccadilloes of O’Brien’s creative process, but of an entire psyche bursting into bawdily rambunctious life.

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