Strap in folks. We’re about to head into the busiest time of the Irish theatre calendar. And there is a LOT on offer.
September is Fringe month as ABSOLUT Fringe 2011 takes over Dublin city with 82 different shows. Won’t be going too much into that here (consult my guide), but suffice it to say that the three shows I’m most excited about are The Corn Exchange’s Man of Valour, THISISPOPBABY’s The Year of Magical Wanking (its beau poet pictured above), and José Miguel Jiménez’s Jumping Off The Earth (now confirmed with action man Brian Bennett attached). Shows I neglected in that post which deserve more mention than I gave them include Tim Watt’s The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer, now regarded a gem at last month’s Edinburgh Fringe; Junk Ensemble’s Bird With Boy in Kilmanham Jail (you’ll understand why when I post my interview with them); and Maurice Joseph Kelliher’s dance/theatre culprit Criminal Queers and Veronica Dyas’ site-specific In My Bed for their suspected daring and noble use of subject matter. For all information on ABSOLUT Fringe 2011 go to: http://www.fringefest.com/ .
Thanks to a number of tours there is a lot of theatre around the country this month. The biggest of these is the Abbey Theatre’s production of Carmel Winters’ polarizing hit B for Baby. Starring Louis Lovett (The Girl Who Forgot To Sing Badly), this whimsy drama set in a residential home for individuals with learning disabilities tours Drogheda’s Droichead Arts Centre (2nd-3rd), Portlaoise’s Dunamaise (6th-7th), Wicklow’s Mermaid Arts Centre (13th-14th), Waterford’s Garter lane Arts Centre (20-21st), Carlow’s George Bernard Shaw Theatre (23rd), Longford’s Backstage Theatre (27th-28th), and Roscommon Arts Centre (30th-Oct 1st). Go see it and let me know if this play is either really good or really bad.
Gavin Kostick’s boxing ring drama Fight Night, having secured the Best Actor win at last year’s ABSOLUT Fringe for Aonghus Óg McAnally, now tours to Draíocht (15th), the Riverbank Arts Centre (24th) and Galway’s Town Hall Theatre (28th). Jim Nolan’s hospital bed hopeful Brighton returns to Garter Lane Arts Centre (12th-17th) before moving to Limerick’s Belltable (21st) and Draíocht in Blanchardstown (23rd). A production of Arthur Miller’s witched McCarthy parable The Crucible co-produced by Galway’s Town Hall and Washington DC’s Keegan Theatre runs at the Town Hall (12th-17th) and then Kilkenny’s Watergate (19th-24th).
The Abbey’s production of Sam Shepherd’s damned American Curse of the Starving Glass (until Sept 10) is fast garnering raves. Fintan Walsh started his ITM review with the line: “It’s not often a lamb gets to upstage a penis”. A co-production of Juno and the Paycock by the Abbey and the National Theatre of Great Britain moves in on Sept 21, featuring Nick lee (Pineapple) and Claire Dunne (The Silver Tassie) as Charlie Bentham and Mary Boyle. Noël Coward’s jazz comedy Hay Fever continues at the Gate.
In the south, A Serving of Pinter will be available at the Half Moon Theatre (Sept 27-Oct 1) consisting of the classics Trouble In The Works, Victoria Station, and One For The Road. While up in Belfast’s Lyric we have David Harrower’s Olivier-winning cross-generational Blackbird (8th-18th) followed by the English language premiere of Francis Veber’s The Painkiller (Sept 23-Oct 16) in which a suicidal man and a sniper in the business of “pain removal” cross paths in a hotel. An Grianán Theatre in Letterkenny present a production of Friel’s Aristocrats (Sept 28-Oct 1).
The always hilarious Waiting for IKEA will be at the Mermaid Arts Centre (1st-2nd). The always poignant Grenades will be at the Glor theatre in Ennis (8th). And Focus Theatre’s production of Frank McGuiness’ Baglady starring Maria McDermottroe (The Glass Menagerie) is in Galway’s Studio THT (Sept 27-Oct 1).
Finally, for those I am extremely jealous of going to Electric Picnic this weekend, the Project Arts Centre has arranged a fantastic line-up for the theatre tent including Raymond Scannell’s piano epic Mimic and Una McKevitt’s humble Victor and Gord (with the Breen machine). Check them out.
What theatre are you going to in September?