Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise
Raymond Keane’s City of Clowns has been in production for some time now, and marks Barabbas’ return to the theatre scene since their core funding was cut last year. A considerable project grant has put the clowns back on their feet, allowing them to bring City of Clowns to the Clomnel Junction and Earagail Arts Festivals this month. The show opens in Clomnel this Sunday but Keane, as artist-in-residence at Dunamaise, premiered the show there two weeks ago.
Personally, the show is a winner. Keane has a presence that can replace the audience’s laughter with sympathetic silence instantly, and the Barabbas portrayal of ‘clowns’ as individuals not invincible to human loss and longing continues to be a very interesting psychology. The triumph of City of Clowns lies in a left turn in the performance that I won’t even dare to mention here, though I will discuss it in the comments section with people if they desire. Barabbas have gone back to the raw element of ‘theatre’ as a social art with this one, and it’s a very appropriate move considering the company’s recent battles for security and resource.
Check it out and discuss below.