My Inner Orc has a gauche amiability that smacks strongly of the obsessive Lord Of The Rings fans it so baldly pastiches. It also suffers from the same poorly constructed writing that is the plague of so much (although by no means all) fan fiction.
Chancer Karl has come over from The Shire (New Zealand, apparently we outsourced it) to make some easy money as a performer in Ring Fest October 2010. He is shown the ropes by Martin, an old hand and minor celebrity on this circuit and looked at disdainfully by hard nosed convention owner, Sam. But the entrance of a sobbing Elf (the charming Emma Newborn) brings these mercurial proceedings crashing to a halt. Suddenly we are shoved into a world of sinister debt collectors, previously unmentioned wives, stalkers named Jess and a possible Elfin take over; it’s garbled to say the least.
All set in one small hotel room in Croydon, My Inner Orc has all the makings of a slightly subpar sit-com. Our characters bounce from one ‘unfortunate’ situation to another, whilst communicating no clear inner sense of who they are or what they want.
Stella Duffy has been cruelly wasted here. As director she does an adequate job of staging this patchy text but she is fighting a losing battle. Under a sheath of average jokes Allen O’Leary longs to have written a meaningful coming of age story or an urban fairytale about the importance of faithful partnerships and timeless loyalty. Unfortunately it is neither, because O’Leary’s play, whilst harmless enough, is a jumbled mess. Ultimately My Inner Orc is too sweet to be a completely lame duck, but nothing can stop it from being a pretty lame duckling.