The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a place for experimentation and a perfect example is the new micro-opera Drive-By Shooting, by John McIlduff and Brian Irvine. Presented as an animation, the story is one of passion and revenge on the gritty streets of Dublin. It just happens that the protagonists are all pensioners and the only wheels involved in the drive-by are on walking frames. The vibrant, graffiti-style animation incorporates the lyrics to the soundtrack, which is broadcast through a dedicated WiFi network to thoughtfully provided headphones.
Technology aside, the beauty of this piece is its sweeping score, which features a full orchestra and the operatic talents of Doreen Curran, Sylvia O’Brien and Dan Reardon. The lyrics are colloquial and profane but the score is classical in style and delivered as grand opera. Indeed, the heightened reality of the situation is the very essence of Covent Garden, with a score performed by the RTE Concert Orchestra.
Laden with humour, there is actually a social message behind this piece too. In this instance, prison is a viable alternative to living out your final years independently. Gun in hand, this latter-day Lucia di Lammermoor shoots down her husband safe in the knowledge that she will have free meals and healthcare till her dying day.