Jericho review at Underbelly, Edinburgh – ‘nimble piece on journalism, truth and wrestling’

A scene from Jericho at Underbelly, Edinburgh. Photo: Molly O’Cathain

One of two shows by Irish company Malaprop at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, Jericho also explores, among many other things, communication and the way we process and consume information.

The company’s work is always ideas-driven and layered and this is no different. It feels, in part, like a performance-lecture, though there’s a loose narrative in which Maeve O’Mahony has to write an article about wrestling for an online content factory.

This is basically a hook on which to hang discussions about truth and the news, art and journalism, civilisation, the state of the world – and the terrifying entity that is World Wrestling Entertainment chief executive Vince McMahon.

Professional wrestling – an industry built on people’s need to believe in it – is made a metaphor for all manner of intellectual and emotional grappling, and particularly for the way we engage with one another online.

Woven into this is a conversation that O’Mahony has with her mother about the Irish abortion referendum.

Molly O’Cathain’s set consists of three screens on to which text messages, headlines and disembodied mouths are projected, a little Beckettian triptych and a trio of flickering tongues. O’Mahony – watchable and warm – anchors the show, and like all of Malaprop’s work, the irony is tempered by sincerity – or maybe vice versa. It does feel a little abridged at times, the elements not always connecting, but it’s always interesting. 

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Malaprop’s nimble meta-essay on journalism, truth – and wrestling