Thursday, February 27, 2014

WillFredd Theatre, 'CARE': For More Than Just a Day

WillFredd's mindful production is a sincere portrayal of palliative care and its mixing of medicine and mirth.

Project Arts Centre,
Feb 20-Mar 1

My review of CARE coming up just as soon as the doctor and nurse go have a little chat ...

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Gate Theatre, 'The Vortex': The Hostess With the Mostess

Noël Coward said that his plays should foremost entertain the audience. Can Annabelle Comyn get The Vortex to sing a more provoking note? 

Gate Theatre
Feb 18-Mar 22

My review of The Vortex by Noël Coward coming up just as soon as I labour eternally over the delusion that I somehow matter ...

Monday, February 17, 2014

Lyric Theatre, 'Molly Sweeney': Seeing the Light

Abigail Graham makes a picturesque production out of Friel's lowly play.

Lyric Theatre, Belfast
Feb 8-Mar 8

My review of Molly Sweeney by Brian Friel coming up just as soon as I remember the high summer of my 32nd year ...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Danú Theatre and ORion Productions, 'Breathless'

John MacKenna's play about disappeared women is impressively revived by two headstrong producers.

Smock Alley Theatre
Feb 3-15

I've written a lot this week and unfortunately I don't have time to do a full review of Breathless.

When John MacKenna's play about four disappeared women premiered in 2005 by Kildare's Mend and Makedo company, he noted how missing persons cases in the area had brought an immediacy to the play's content. 

Now co-presented by Sinead O'Riordan's ORion Productions and Danú - a company founded by Donna Patrice to promote female subjectivity in Irish arts - the play is revived with strong production values. David Butler's architecturally aware set impressively builds on from the existing brick walls of Smock Alley and the performances, from industry veteran Ruth McCabe to newcomer Kate Gilmore, are of a professional standard. 

MacKenna's script is more powerful in sentiment than in composition though. It's honourable to restore reputations of humour and dignity to women who violently perished at the hands of men, and furthermore to have the dead debate how they wish to be remembered. It feels inconsequential though; the characters don't transform and there is no link between the discovered details of their disappearance to the resolution of their crisis. Butler's design tries to suggest a precariousness of place but otherwise the play, when not eliciting laughs, can feel static.

Though overall lacking resolve, the passages which describe their disappearances are haunting and dutifully delivered by all involved.

But I'm really curious to hear what everyone else thought of this? 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Katie O'Kelly, 'Counter Culture': Money Makes the World Go Round

A jaunty solo performance about workers in a fictional Clerys-type department store in Dublin resonates with the 1913 centenary. 

The New Theatre
Feb 10-15

My review of Counter Culture by Katie O'Kelly coming up just as soon as I make a dash to Cosmetics for a blast of Flowerbomb ...

MIRARI Productions, 'In Dog Years I'm Dead': Thirty Old Town

In Kate Heffernan's brilliant comedy two unfulfilled individuals try to take control of their lives as they stand on the threshold of turning 30. 

Bewley's Cafe Theatre
Feb 10-Mar 8

My review of In Dog Years I'm Dead by Kate Heffernan coming up just as soon as I have a flurry of posts delighting in the animated bears from our childhood ...

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dragging and Derealising the World Onstage

Miss Bunny (left) and Panti Bliss (right) in promotional art for The Panti Show. A nation tunes in to watch a drag queen on television but what exactly is drag?

RTÉ's Saturday Night Show began it's live broadcast on January 11th with presenter Brendan O'Connor introducing the drag queen Panti Bliss. A red curtain rose to reveal a dressing room and the occupant wearing a geisha-like gown, a voluminous blonde wig from Dolly Parton's Heartbreaker days and eyelashes so long they could gouge an eye. 

A voice-over introduces the drag device: the lip sync - a faux pas in musical performance (see Ashlee Simpson) but the basis for the corporeal story-telling of the drag queen. "Brendan O'Connor? Goddamn it, I done it again; I thought this was Brendan O'Carroll's show. What the hell am I going to talk to Brendan O'Connor about?"

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Siren Productions, 'A Tender Thing': Defying the Stars

Romeo and Juliet are given the gift of time in Ben Power's reimagining of the Shakespeare classic but will their tragic fates remain the same? 

Jan 28-Feb 15
Project Arts Centre

My review of A Tender Thing by Ben Power coming up after the jump ...