Day 19: Theatrical reminiscences – ‘Dirtbirds’


In a different world, a long, long time ago I used to go to the theatre on a regular basis. I had a highly developed skill for sniffing out early bird tickets, deep discounts and freebies for shows. I look back on that distant time with nostalgia and vague melancholy. I am being sarcastic of course. That was only three weeks ago. However it’s like another time zone from a planet far, far away.

The last show I saw, before the curtains started closing on normal life was on Wednesday 11th March when I saw ‘Dirtbirds #NoFilters’ at the Viking Sheds in Clontarf. The Dirtbirds are a comedy duo made up of Sinead Culbert and Sue Collins. This is their third full length stage show. Advertised as a ‘work in progress’ it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what type of show it is. A comedy sketch show is probably the closest I can get to describing it. It’s scripted in the sense that it involves rehearsed sketches. On the other hand it’s not a scripted play where the actors are meant hit all their marks and give all the correct cues. There’s an element of ad-libbing and audience interaction. The women perform while directly addressing the audience.

When we entered the theatre, I saw that the front row was still empty. We made a beeline for those seats directly in front of the stage. Why people are reluctant to sit so close to the stage is beyond me. These are the best seats in the house – and this isn’t entirely related to my myopia.

The show began to the glorious sound of Lizzo’s ‘Good as hell’ as the performers entered. They began with a declaration that more men had started coming to their show.

‘In fact we have one in the audience this evening. What’s your name?’ I was asked.

I gulped my response.

‘i see you’re on the Guinness. Is this your wife?’

My friend and I looked at each other, snorted and in unison responded with a loud ‘No’.

‘Ooooh well we’re in Clontarf I suppose.

I decided to keep my raging homosexuality to myself. I knew that my plan to keep a low profile was doomed to failure, being the only man in the audience in a comedic show about the life experience of the two fictional Dirtbird characters; while sitting in the front row. No need to offer material though.

The show was funny and entertaining. A good-natured, side-eyed look at the modern life and how it impacts these women. When one of the characters started describing her Dutch husband – I can’t remember his name but I’d guess it was Joost – I cackled inwardly. Her accent was spot on. Having lived in Amsterdam for years I knew this character. There followed a sequence of hilarious pieces relating to their families; relationships; home life; friendships.

As predicted I was a recurring feature of the show. It was only mildly embarrassing as their slagging of me was lighthearted, and in no way mean-spirited. I blushed when one  announced ‘Murphy can’t take his eyes off me’.

The show we saw was the second night of what was meant to be a three week run at the Viking Sheds before embarking on a nationwide tour. I guess that’s postponed now until life returns to normal.

When this show resumes I’d recommend you go see ‘Dirtbird: #NoFilters’.

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