As part of the 2021 Dublin Theatre Festival, ‘The visit’ by Deirdre Kinahan is playing at the Draiocht Arts Centre in Blanchardstown. Last night was the opening night of its four night run, and I had a ticket.
The Draiocht is a lovely venue, with unusual theatre seating – namely that it is quite comfortable. Disappointingly I was seated in the back row. This seems to be the standard, while theatres are operating at only 60% capacity – lone audience members are banished to the dark recesses and edges, while the groups get the good seats. It makes financial sense I suppose. At least it is not as mercenary as some of the other schemes in operation by the theatre festival.
Take ‘Conversations after sex’ in the Project. In-house tickets cost 26.50 eur. Meanwhile they are charging the same price for the live-stream and on-demand tickets. I was baffled when I saw that. The theatre has suffered since the pandemic but to charge that price for what essentially is a YouTube video of a live performance is not treating the audience with due respect. Surely it’s common sense that no-more than a cinema ticket price be charged for an onscreen viewing?
Sarah Hanly’s debut play ‘Purple snowflakes and titty wanks’ is currently running as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival. It is a co-production with the Royal Court Theatre in London, and runs in Dublin until 16th October.
A one-woman show starring Hanly, it tells the tale of Saoirse Murphy from her religious secondary school years in a convent school in Enniskerry, to the bright lights of musical theatre college in London. The story is relayed as a conversation between Saoirse and her best friend Aisling, as she struggles with an eating disorder, and her attraction to other girls, while navigating the minefield that the sexual politics of life in a mixed sex school.
Currently showing at the Axis in Ballymun, as part of the 2021 Dublin Theatre Festival, is Thommas Kane Byrne’s latest play ‘Rearing is sparing’. Starring Karen Ardiff and Denise McCormack, it tells the tale of two north inner city Dublin women as they sit separately, outside a courthouse. Anita’s (Denise McCormack) son is on trial. They narrate their tale, and that of each of their two sons, and how their actions have affected both their lives, leading them to this point.
Another evening, another play. This time the Gate Theatre (notorious for its uncomfortable seating) to see ‘The Beacon’ by Nancy Harris. My ticket was not free – I paid for the honour of a front row seat – the cheapest row in the house. I can’t understand why this is. I always make a beeline for the front row. I like to be close enough to the stage to see the spittle from the actors’ mouths. Continue reading Theatrical: ‘The Beacon’→
When I read ‘Star of the sea’ by Joseph O’Connor earlier this century, I was astonished. That brilliant book concerned a murder committed on a coffin ship sailing from Famine-stricken Ireland to the New World. A semi-sequel ‘Redemption Falls’ was published some years later in 2007. I was in the American Book Center in Amsterdam on the day of release such was my anticipation. To my horror I loathed it – finding it turgid, incomprehensible and very, very dull. It was a huge disappointment – thankfully it was only a blip on O’Connor’s illustrious output and I loved his subsequent books ‘Ghost light’ and ‘The thrill of it all’. Continue reading Theatrical: ‘Redemption Falls’→
Tonight – for the third time in a week – I was at the theatre, this time to see ‘Pasolini’s Salo redubbed’ at the Peacock. Another show from the Dublin Theatre Festival.
‘Salò’ is a 1975 horror art film directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini and is an adaptation of the book ‘The 120 days of Sodom’ by the Marquis de Sade set during the 2nd world war. The film is about four wealthy, corrupt Italian libertines living in the fascist republic of Salo,(1943–1945). The libertines kidnap eighteen teenagers and subject them to four months of violence, murder, sadism and sexual and mental torture. The film is about corruption, murder, abuse of power, sadism, perversion, and fascism. It was no doubt banned in Ireland on release, and remains banned in Australia. Continue reading Theatrical: ‘Pasolini’s Salo redubbed’→
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’→
This week sees the start of the annual Dublin Theatre Festival. Having purchased several early bird and preview tickets, over the next month I shall be in regular attendance at the playhouse As my skills are finely honed at bargain hunting, I don’t think I will be paying more than a cinema price for any show. Tonight I went to see a revival of the classic play ‘The playboy of the western world’ by John Millington Synge at the Gaiety Theatre. Continue reading Theatrical: ‘The playboy of the western world’→