Friday, December 31, 2010

Best of Irish Theatre 2010 #1: Pan Pan, ‘The Rehearsal, Playing the Dane’

Samuel Beckett Theatre, Dublin
Oct 1-10

Again, if you look through my archive you will find a post on The Rehearsal, Playing the Dane (I’ll be nice and put the link at the bottom of this post).

Pan Pan made not only a really fun production for die-hard theatre buffs with this one, but utilized an ingenious stagecraft as well as a brilliant court of actors who brought endless humour and emotionally moving performances.

From establishing the performers in their personal and professional capacities as they audition for the role of ‘Hamlet’, Gavin Quinn and Pan Pan take us to an Elsinore of mirrored halls and rubbish cans where the impetus to ‘perform’ doesn’t shroud the indefinite natures of the individuals. Instead we are witness to the actors’ abilities to rise to the occasion and make Shakespeare’s masterpiece their own.

What a wonderful cast. Particularly enjoyable was seeing Connor Madden overcome his actor insecurities with a grand feat of athleticism and raw emotion, paying homage to the divine role with charm and skill. Also a highlight was Judith Roddy’s performance as Ophelia, drenched in rubbish and sorrow. Absolutely mesmerizing and gorgeous.

Brilliant show.

As for the best individual performances of the year …

-         Madden and Roddy for Playing the Dane. These guys can captivate an audience single-handedly.

-         Penelope nobles Tadhg Murphy and Niall Buggy. Absolutely incredible work.
-         Christ Deliver Us! tragic youths Aoife Duffen and Laurence Kinlan. These kids just break your heart.

-         Little John Nee for Barabbas’s Johnny Patterson the Singing Irish Clown. Much more than just a comic troubadour.

-         Hillary O’Shaughnessy for taking us through her broken city while courageously facing off street punks with the assistance of a guitar-wielding busker in Playgroup’s Berlin Love Tour. She also gave us gummy bears.

Best writing …
-         Kilroy for Christ Deliver Us! and Walsh for Penelope. Both brilliant pieces.

Best direction …
-         Gavin Quinn deserves the trophy for The Rehearsal, Playing the Dane. Garry Hynes brought some epic production values into The Silver Tassie though.

Well that’s 2010 wrapped up (with only a few hours to spare).

See you in the new year folks.

The Rehearsal, Playing the Dane review:

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