The bravest piece of programming by Fiach Mac Conghail since he doused the Abbey in Amyl Nitrate (via Alice in Funderland) and his most successful artistic achievement since Mary Raftery’s No Escape, Our Few and Evil Days is a masterpiece of ‘Don’t Move’ theatre. Afraid to flinch for fear you miss a breath loaded with meaning, Mark O Rowe’s new play has you by the bollocks for its entire second act.

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Spinning at Smock Alley

October 28, 2014

Conor is not the only one ‘spinning’ in this Jim Culleton helmed original play from Deirdre Kinahan. All the disparate elements seem to be slightly out of control in a production that is admirable, involving but ultimately un-fulfilling.

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Something’s gone awry in the transfer of the DruidMurphy double bill Brigit and Bailegangaire from the Mick Lally Theatre to the Olympia stage. The intimacy and immediacy I’d imagine were provided by the small Galway venue are lost in the cavernous playing space of a location best known for its rock gigs, and the soulful grace and piercing refrain of Murphy’s text is replaced by a performative drum solo.

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Hamlet at the BGET

October 4, 2014

The play’s not really the thing, in Thomas Ostermeier’s Hamlet, which opened the Dublin Theatre Festival at the BGET last Thursday night. Rather it’s the titular Dane himself whose madness takes centre stage in this fast, furious and extremely funny take on the Bard’s most acclaimed work.

Spoilt, fat and balding, Lars Eidinger’s self-indulgent fits of insane indignation are the most marvellous end result of a society gone to shit. It’s a non-stop rollover of excess, where beer is sprayed, guns fired and food drooled onto ones clothes, as the Court of Caligula welcomes the vacuous self-appraisal of Andy Warhol’s factory.

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Reiltin at The Peacock

September 30, 2014

Writer/Director Paul Mercier leaves his ‘star’ adrift in this staged concert charting the duality between a young artist and her demonic stage persona. Better suited to a pub setting, but underdeveloped regardless, it has no characters, no clear plot and little direction as Cliona Ni Chiosáin spins about to a backing track of aped Britpop, keening over her failed love affairs with her music and with her man.

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Begorrah at Smock Alley

September 30, 2014

Most comedy acts are lucky if their show contains one uproarious laugh that unites the whole audience. This Irish troika are good for one per sketch, in a fifty-minute performance that’s greased with charm.

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In 1939, 16-year old Brendan Behan was arrested while on an ‘unauthorised’ mission to blow up the Liverpool Docks for the IRA. Handing down his sentence the Judge rued the fact that- since Behan was underage, he couldn’t send him away for fourteen years penal servitude.

You’ll feel like Verdant Productions sent you down in his stead throughout this vulgar, three-hour money-grab. Star casting, unfocused direction and a failure to mine ANY relevance from Frank McMahon’s decrepit script, turns a powerful tale- about the tempering of nationalism by personal affection, into a calamitous free-for-all, without a moment’s gentleness expressed between characters.

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Sick at The New Theatre

September 19, 2014

Time is running out for Orla, a thirty-something carer whose mum suffers from early onset Alzheimer’s. With her unlived youth fading away behind her and the last traces of her Ma fading before her eyes, her already bleak future takes a darker turn when the public health nurse reminds her that there’s only so long that she can keep her mother on the antipsychotics that have quelled her violent moods. Unable to enjoy a moment to herself- to indulge the company of the very real local shopkeeper, or his fantastical alter ego she romantically dreams up, the cracks between comforting self-delusion and paranoid deductions chasm violently, sucking any chance for a happy resolution into it.

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Fizzles at 14 Henrietta Street

September 19, 2014

This time last year, Company SJ and Barabbas were a class apart from most of the work presented in the fringe. In 2014, impressive as Fizzles may be, you can’t help but feel that they’ve taken a step backwards.

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Bernarda’s House

September 13, 2014

Veronica Coburn sets out a funnytrap for her audience, through the use of the red nose, in this sort-of prequel to Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba. Spinning a web of light laughs, ranging from crude to clownish, she then let’s loose the bitter fangs of the source material, paralysing us with a young girls descent into callous cronehood.

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