X-Files Reboot

February 1, 2016

Two episodes in and The X-File’s revival is lumbering about like it’s just been ejected from the Pet Cemetery. It looks and acts like what was once beloved. But for a show that had already clung on long after it’s creative heyday, something at the core of the show hasn’t made it back after Chris Carter applied the paddles, ignoring the DNR notice attached to all classic TV shows. The memory of what made them so legendary should be left alone unless the creators have a very good artistic vision for why they should be brought back to life.

What’s left gorked before us, here,  is a mongrel of the later seasons feral mythology, and a nose wrinkling stench that all involved are back for the bucks and not out of any true love for the project.
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Pan of Aran

January 25, 2016

As first jobs go, mine’s a bit of a doozy.

Six times a day, with the help of my adopted pup Streak, I took to the airfield at Inis Mor Airport to clear it of rabbits and donkeys that may have wandered onto the runway, allowing for the safe landing of the daily flights from the mainland that brought with them- not only passengers, but the post, the papers and perishables.

Another donkey has wandered into the path of Aer Arann of late, and alas, Streak is no longer with us to chase him off.

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Spotlight

January 24, 2016

If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to abuse one, a point proved, beyond all doubt by director Tom McCarthy in the excellent Spotlight. Looking at how the Catholic Church covered up and facilitated the actions of Paedophile priests in Boston, while hot-shot lawyers profited off of those same actions, it’s a well deserved ode to the journalistic profession, so often portrayed in a venal hue on the silver screen.

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Horrible Histories

January 24, 2016

Starting the same week as RTE’s Rebellion, it was easy for BBC’s War & Peace to obliterate the competition when it came to making a first impression. A proper, all-star cast playing characters that could stand up to the celebrity playing them. Stunning exteriors and interiors of the Russian palaces and country retreats that hosted balls and bacchanals that dripped with fur, glittered with bling and featured beautiful people that were sloshed on snobbery. While the gripping fight scenes actually stimulated the sense of being in the middle of a battlefield, as opposed to being on the outskirts of a suburban estate with the bangers going off in the distance.

Based on what’s considered to be one of the greatest novels of all time, it also had the advantage of not being a scripted shitshow, brimming with simplistic reductions of political ideologies, historical inaccuracies that undercut -rather than charged, the drama and characters so threadbare they fail to engage on any level.

But as both shows hit their midway point, Rebellion’s soapy histrionics are being pulled up by a cast who fly through the action like stray bullets, making accidental emotional impact as they ricochet from one implausible set piece to the next.

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Rushing off your tits, after ingesting the candyflip of Emmet Kirwan’s words and Ian Lloyd-Anderson’s performance, the heart, soul and yearning reverb of Dublin’s dancefloors will stick to you like a sweated-through t-shirt, in this wildly entertaining, touching two-hander.

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Joe Dowling once said that when he watched Meryl Streep play Juliet, at the age of 62, he knew that no age appropriate actress could possibly do the part justice. “Armed with the ability to look back, she knew exactly what the psychological process was to follow.”

Ben Power runs this train of thought to the end zone by filleting the text of Romeo and Juliet, sprinkling bits of various sonnets and other plays throughout, and imagining a world where the lovers lived to grow old together. The hope and abandon of these star crossed lovers becomes comfortable and deep rooted and what was once hot, rebellious and irrepressible becomes sage and wistful, loaded with memory and experience. The tragedy of a love extinguished by faith and circumstance is now one culled by sacrifice, a killing of kindness.
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They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And so it is with perceptions of your sanity. When Dana, a primary school teacher assaults a pupil, she is sent to Ingrid, a drama therapist to save her job. But as the session unfolds it becomes apparent that Dana is not the only one on the brink of a break down and using the tricks of the drama therapists trade- dolls, puppets and role play, the true natures of the characters are revealed in moments ranging from tender to manic.
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Trade (Site Specific)

October 24, 2013


Trade is the latest play, in a year full of them, to deal with the Irish inability to communicate with one another. Playwright Mark O Halloran wrote two such shows-The Head of Red O Brien and Mary Moterhead, although these productions, by Galway’s TrueWest Theatre, were revivals- or first staging’s, of scripts penned in 2001. This then is his first new play in ten years, produced by THISISPOPBABY, directed by Tom Creed and is site-specific, set in an actual B&B on Gardiner Place.
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Gardenia, a requiem to ageing queens, inspired by the Dutch documentary Yo Soy Así is a tender, effervescent peak behind the curtains of a transvestite, transsexual drag cabaret. The curtain is coming down on 40-years of crude jokes, lip synced symphonies and the liberation of the camp from suited, booted and masculine restraints. But as identities are constructed and confused, the artifice is paraded before us, a tribute to and reinforcement of stereotype.
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A return to a safe home

October 24, 2013

BEFORE there was an IMF, before there was a European Union, Irish people had to rely on her economic migrants to keep the home fires burning.

Forced to leave a country who could neither feed nor house her own, they sent back whatever money they could, a figure which would run to the billions today. But what exactly are the people back home doing for them as they approach their final days?

Full Article, Irish Examiner, June 4th 2011