Clonmel Junction Festival
One Step at a Time & Junction Joes
Forever Young is vastly different to any other piece of theatre I have ever partaken in or seen. A promenade piece, this show is deeply personal and engaging as it takes the audience on an adventure through the thoughts and possibilities of their youth in enlivened retrospect.
This was an exciting show that demanded full engagement from the audience. From the physical journey to the ideological one, there were elements of choice and personal input that makes each performance unique and dynamic for each audience.
It is a complex piece but well executed by the cast, with an incredible network of information, story and ideas being built from before the performance is even due to start as you get a text informing you of the start location and time and giving you instructions for preparing for the performance. This all gives an impression of conspiracy and mystery that creates an intriguing, and dynamic atmosphere throughout the piece.
Beyond this, it is hard to describe Forever Young without spoiling it for any of you that are lucky enough to catch it on its trip to the Traverse in Edinburgh. However, I will say that this is a spirited and well-thought-out piece that will get inside your head, let you inside those of its creators and characters and, most importantly, prompt you to venture inside your own thoughts and ideas as you “go one-to-one with a reclining chair, a team of adolescent experts and an outdoor foolhardy adventure.”
Merry Christmas to all my lovely readers! Hope you all have a happy, safe and altogether lovely day. 🙂
The Abbey Theatre
19th August 2014
The Abbey Theatre’s producion of “Heartbreak House” certainly did not leave me with heartbreak; an evening of belly-laughs, a mind buzzing with thoughts and a smile on my face were definitely the orders of the day. This production, dircted by Roisin McBrinn was, with the exception of a few minor faults, a joy to watch.
The performances were excellent overall with the right balance of credibility and absurdity injected into each character. Mark Lambert gave a stand-out performance as Captain Shotover, capturing the eccentricities and wisdom of the Captain with style and skill. Kathy Kiera Clarke and Aislin McGuckin were also very impressive, bringing the roles of Hesione and Ariadne to life with expertise. In this family that is falling into disarray with a world that is following suit around them due to the outbreak of war, each character must be defined and maintained exactly to capture the change in each without losing the tone of the piece. This balance was certainly found by each actor.
The setting in which we found these characters was beautifully created by Alyson Cummings’ dynamic and interesting set design and Paul Keogan’s lighting which made use of reflections and shadow to great effect. The lighting and sound within the final scene provided an excellent contrast with the more subtle, sedate lighting changes during the rest of the play, further highlighting the change that had come about in the world.
My only gripes about this production were minor slip-ups that didn’t take from the production as a whole but did, I found, drag me out of the moment and disconnect me momentarily from the piece. These minor errors, a poorly excecuted fall here, a badly positioned slap there were, I think, more matters of polish than true faults. I hope that as the run continues these are the type of mistakes that will be ironed out as it would be a shame to have small, easily rectified mistakes detract from what is overall a very good production.
“Heartbreak House” was a well executed, thought provoking and at times truly hilarious comedy that I would happily pay for a ticket to see again!
Peacock Theatre, March 9th 2013
“I, Malvolio”, written and performed by Tim Crouch is an adventurous expedition into the continuing tale of one of Shakespeare’s lesser known characters, Malvolio from “Twelfth Night”. Crouch sets out to give Malvolio an opportunity to explain how he has been wronged and give him a chance at his much longed for revenge because, as Crouch says, Malvolio is “dropped by the play.” It is a brave step to decide to carry on one of Shakespeare’s characters beyond the original text but Crouch pulls it off expertly. This is an engaging, amusing, thought provoking piece and I found myself torn between laughing and crying as I watched it.
A line that particularly stood out was when Malvolio asks a young boy from the audience up onstage to kick his bottom and, in doing this, find somewhere “between laughter and pain.” This line, for me, captures the feel of the piece perfectly. Malvolio is the comic element of “Twlefth Night” but is a rather sad character himself. Like most clowning, this piece is a side-splittingly funny but the humour has formed from sadness. This is a delicate balance of emotion but one that Crouch finds perfectly in his pattering, galloping rants, off the cuff interaction with the audience and terrific use of non-verbal communication in his face and his movements.
Crouch makes the audience laugh their socks off but also manages to question why we laugh, the nature of empathy and of course, grant Malvolio his much anticipated revenge in this superb production that deserves every ounce of applause it receives.