I had previously only seen Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot’ which I had modestly enjoyed. Last night I felt it was time to go the theatre with new eyes, to experience the Gate Theatre production of ‘Endgame’. Surely this was a work that needed to be seen in its original form, and not through the medium of a surly, jazz-hands, interpretive dance version.
This latest production was directed by Danya Taymor and has received state funding through the Arts Council and RTE. It stars Frankie Boyle as Hamm – a surly, blind and wheelchair bound man living in a grotty room in a post-apocalyptic world. He is cared for by a limping Clov (Robert Sheehan). Hamm’s parents Nagg and Nell (played by Sean McGinley and Gina Moxley) have no legs and live in a pair of dustbins in the corner. Hamm spends the play insulting and berating Clov, who threatens to leave Hamm, but never does. There are long speeches (it’s ‘an absurdist comedy’). There’s repetition in the lines and the actions – poor Clov is the only character that moves on the stage (Hamm being wheeled about notwithstanding) throughout the play.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year at the theatre. When the aim of the show playing is not to educate the public, or to revolutionise the theatrical artform, but instead to please the masses with accessible, entertaining shows. Attending the theatre as often as I do, has shortened by patience for ‘brave’ or ‘groundbreaking’ works – despite the best intentions the results can be very lacklustre. Not so the Christmas shows – these tend to be long running productions that are required to appeal to a wide audience for extended runs. And to set the playhouse up with a healthy budget for the year ahead, no doubt? Having been impressed with the hilarious ‘Drama at Inish’ in the Abbey a few weeks ago, my expectations of the Dickens’ seasonal classic ‘A Christmas Carol’ at the Gate were high. Continue reading Theatrical: ‘A Christmas carol’ at the Gate→
In the interest of full disclosure, before I begin this review I acknowledge that Colm Toibin is one of my favourite writers. I’ve read all his fiction – in novel and short story form; as well as most of his non-fiction and travel writing. His fiction tends to be sparse in style, but written in such a manner that there are orchestras playing between the lines. When I heard that he was writing a play for the Gate Theatre, I immediately booked a ticket. Continue reading Theatrical: ‘Pale sister’ by Colm Toibin→
‘Faultline’ is a new site-specific, immersive co-production between ANU and the Gate Theatre. Set in a Georgian building at number 11 Parnell Square East, the audience of twelve is divided into two groups and placed among the performers in a re-imagined gay bar; in the headquarters of the Irish Gay Rights movement in the early 1980s – which was in reality located in a few rooms in a similar building on the other side of the square; and in a cottage (a men’s public lavatory which was how many gay men hooked up with each other in those criminal days.) Continue reading Theatrical: ‘Faultline’→
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’→