1979. The Winter of Discontent. Barry is a 20-year-old Irishman in London. His girlfriend dumps him after he wrecks the apartment. “I don’t hurt people,” he says, “but I’m tough on fixtures and fittings.”
Somehow Barry lands a job at Sellafield HQ in London, managing the storage of plutonium. Most days he shows up to work with more drugs in his system than the entire Chinese swimming team.
Tossed out of a hippie squat in Kennington and mugged in a coal bunker flat off Oxford street, he finds sanctuary with his lonely uncle Joe, a man who gets visibly aroused by disaster victims on the evening news.
A Ton of Malice recounts a vivid, hellish, hilarious coming-of age on a trail trodden by many an Irish boy, but rarely with quite so many dangerous substances. And it’s (almost) all true.
Barry McKinley’s stories were twice shortlisted for the Hennessy Literary Award. He was nominated in 2010 for Best New Play, Irish Theatre Awards (for Elysium Nevada). He has written plays for BBC Radio 4 and RTE, and was a prize winner in the O.Z Whitehead/Society of Irish Playwrights award. His work has been staged at Edinburgh Fringe, Dublin Fringe and Main festivals, RSC Fringe, and many more. The Irish Times called his play Elysium Nevada “Beckett meets Shepard”, which meant nobody came to see it.