Disclaimer: This play ‘officially opens’ tonight. The Wednesday performance I saw, was the second preview show, for which I paid for my ticket. Hence I am not a ‘critic’. This review is based on my opinion as a paying customer, so I am not bound by the critic’s etiquette of not reviewing before opening night.
‘Last orders at the Dockside’ is the latest play written by Dermot Bolger, directed by Graham McLaren, and is part of the Dublin Theatre Festival at the Abbey Theatre. Set in 1980 on the night that Johnny Logan won the Eurovision Song Contest, a community gathers in the Dockside Bar along the North Wall Quays to commemorate Luke Dempsey, a recently deceased docker. The Dublin docklands in 1980 were a far different beast to what they are today. Starting at the Custom House by the river Liffey, they stretched all the way out to the sea. For generations entire families lived in docker communities close to the quays, where the men would gather every morning for ‘reads’ where their names would be called to work, to unload the cargo from arriving ships. In 1980 automation meant that this dangerous, centuries old way of life was under threat. These were communities under siege, their way of life facing extinction. The future of the Docklands as a shiny, glass monument to capitalism – the International Financial Services Centre with its gleaming mirrored buildings housing banks, insurance companies and my block of flats – was unknown. Continue reading Theatrical: ‘Last orders at the dockside’