Originally published on The Reviews Hub
Smock Alley Theatre Black Box
Tiger Dublin Fringe
Presented by Rachel Clerke and the Great White Males, Cuncrete is a production with an interesting germ of an idea. Using concrete as a metaphor, Clerke and the band create a drag-king punk gig exploring capitalism, hegemonic masculinity and the strong ties between the two. However, there is too little exploring for Cuncrete to develop from a good idea to a good production.
The tone and pacing for the piece is set from its opening section; a long, repetitive musical build up to the entrance of Clerke. The production maintains a slow drawling pace, setting up the idea of what they describe as a “dysto-utopia” and introducing the Great White Males. This could have been forgivable had there been a development of the ideas through the show, but once Clerke and The Great White Males had laid out their premise in their opening number (which was reprised in an uncalled for encore) they simply went on to repeat and re-iterate that in their subsequent songs. There are moments of amusing satire, such as in the descriptions of the band members, but even then they rely on reductive and stereotypical character types. Similarly there are some strong images, but they are often tempered by weaker ones (there are only so many times the image of a rich person snorting cocaine, or a symbolic substitute, can be edgy) Throughout, this feels like a production that could go somewhere, but always leads to an anticlimax.
Cuncrete is a 55 minute show that is 45 minutes too long. Had the original idea evolved, it could have been an engaging and sharp production, but as it stands it is an over-simplified and under-developed piece.
Cuncrete runs in Smock Alley Theatre until September 13th.
Tiger Dublin Fringe
Since a few paragraphs of laughs, giggles, snorts, chuckles and so forth is apparently not an acceptable review, I will tell you that Mimes in Time is an hilarious escapade through all time in one hour.
Written by Stephen Colfer and Heber Hanley, and directed by Jeda de Brí, Mimes in Time tells the story of two time-travelling mimes (quite a commonplace profession in 3016) who, having spilled tea on their time machine find themselves living all time at the same time. As they try to sort out their mess, fix their childhood problems, straighten out the timelines and decide whether it is a good idea to kill Hitler, they take the audience through an exuberant tumble through time.
As Colfer and Heber Hanly leap about the stage and play Colfer’s script with energy and impeccable comic timing, belly laughs and madcap antics abound. Where the script lacks sense in some places, it more than makes up for it in entertainment with Colfer’s clever word-play and and some absurdly meta moments providing hilarity and bafflement in perfect measure.
Mimes in Time is an enthusiastically bizarre and entertaining journey through time, and space with an uproarious pair of mimes.
Mimes in Time runs in the Science Gallery Dublin until September 17th
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!