Monday, February 7, 2011

February 2011 Listings: An Encore for Raymond Scannell’s ‘Mimic’, Raincoats ‘At Swim’

A fluttering of tweets this evening has announced the programming of a show called Mimic at the Project Arts Centre from Feb 22-26. After doing my homework I learned that Mimic is playwright/actor Raymond Scannell’s dark satire about “exploring imitation, authenticity and what happens to a nation that leaves its heritage behind”. I saw Scannell in Druid’s The Walworth Farce in 2009, in which he was fantastic. Mimic sits the actor at a grand piano, where he tells the story of a man who’s become a professional Mimic and left a cultural climate of economic and spiritual freefall and then returns home to find things have changed. Scannell bagged the Best Male Performance Award ABSOLUT Fringe 2009 for the role.

Tom Creed (Attempts on Her Life, Watt) is billed as director in past press releases of the show, though there is no mention of him on the Project website in relation to this run. Creed is one of the most ingenious practitioners in the country at the moment, having in the past year put together Una Santa Obscura (another musical composition realised for stage, this time combining an elliptical violin sonata with a coherent theatrical narrative in marvelling a devout mystic and composer of the 12th century) and Berlin Love Tour, the latter of which was one of the greatest shows I saw last year and for which performer Hilary O’Shaughnessy is a contender for the Irish Times Theatre Awards.

I carelessly left out mention in my February Listings of Blue Raincoat’s adaptation of Flann O’Brien’s At Swim: Two Birds at the Project Arts Centre, Feb 22nd-Mar 5th. Having seen it back in 2009 I would highly recommend it. Blue Raincoat’s production values are nailed together by the ensemble’s command of corporal mime techniques. These guys are absolutely marvellous to see moving onstage. I’ll be writing a post where people can find my review of the 2009 show and discuss the Project show if desired (I know the cast has had some changes and the show could possibly have developed since last I saw it).

So, do you think you’ll be going to Mimic or At Swim: Two Birds?


  1. I'm looking forward to Mimic. I saw it at Galway Arts Festival in 2009 and will go see it again. It is a fantastic piece of theatre, beautifully written, and performed by an extraordinary actor. The music is gorgeous too. Wasn't keen on At Swim Two Birds: visually stunning but I felt some of the performances were weak. I particularly had a problem hearing at least one of the actors. It occurred to me that unless you are familliar with Flann O'Brien (which I'm not) much of it may go over your head because there is a huge amount of material crammed into a very short time. A show should be able to stand up on its own without an audience's prior knowledge of the text.

  2. Great to hear that 'Mimic' is worth the investment. If I can manage to get to it and 'Raoul' this week I'll be happy out.

    I do understand where you're coming from with 'At Swim'. I think the Raincoats do depend quite heavily on the text as a prerequisite with this one. For those acquainted with the text this might be a real treasure. Saying that, I had not read the book and was vaguely familiar with the plot when I saw it. The Lecoq-blessed manoeuvres qualify the Raincoats especially to accomplish the verbose acrobatics of O'Brien's writing. This intermingling choreography of language and movement is spectacular, and for this reason I'll stand by it.