Glowworm – Review

Originally published on The Reviews Hub

Project Arts Centre

Tiger Dublin Fringe



Zelle De Brulle is different, she knows that, and for the most part she is happy as she is. She contentedly catches and studies her insects, follows in the footsteps of her eccentric uncle William Charles Bugboy De Brulle, and is rarely ever noticed by her Oxborough schoolmates. However one evening, upon catching a glow-worm in the Oxborough gardens, Zelle is reminded of part herself that she had forgotten or pushed away and a new realm of discovery is opened to her.

In the charming setting of William Charles Bugboy De Brulle’s laboratory (brilliantly created under production designer Hannah Bowe) the three actors, Julie Maguire, Conor O’Riordan and Maria Guliver, adeptly bring a host of vibrant characters to life as they try to understand why Zelle does not put the Glowworm in “the killing jar” and pin it to her corkboard like all of her other specimens. As they do so, the audience is guided through Zelle’s experiences of growing up in a reserved Victorian household, her friendship with her uncle, her solitary schooldays, a bizarre encounter in an elderflower thicket, and the other joys and difficulties she found in growing up.

Through a miscellany of music, puppetry and storytelling, this delightful piece is perfectly paced and well-rounded. Kellegher’s sharp, insightful direction provides a balance between sweetness and satire that places this as a family show, neither just for adults, nor just for children.  Also deserving of praise is Dylan Tonge Jones’ composition and sound design, which he performs live during the show. It is not just music, it is a whole layer to the story-telling with every quick musical reaction conveying as much information and emotion as a whole other character could.

Glowworm is a charming, multi-faceted production that blends insightful storytelling with beautiful design to create a true theatrical delight.

Glowworm runs in Project Arts Centre until September 17th.

Risk – Review

New Theatre

Tiger Dublin Fringe



Risk is risk and consequences are consequences. Two sisters, one criminal empire – and a few obstacles in their way lead to a tale of intrigue, family ties and a whole lot of murder.

Written and directed by Diane Crotty, Risk tells the story of two sisters, Frankie (Lisa Tyrell) and Aggie (Susan Barrett) who must work together to face the gangs of London to save their father’s kingdom after his death.  Both Tyrell and Bennett deliver engaging performances, each performance complimenting the other and creating a natural sibling dynamic.

Crotty’s script is a well-woven, classic gangster story with a contemporary tone. Both characters have a strong personal stamp which is established within moments of each beginning to speak. There are some lulls in the pacing of the piece, which loses some of the sense of excitement that is built up. However, overall it is an entertaining and sharply constructed script.

Working with a simple set, the direction of the piece is inventive and smart in its use of movement and spacing to aid the sometimes quite cinematic cuts from scene to scene. This is further complimented by Colm Horan’s simple but effective lighting design.

Overall Risk is an entertaining and sharp production that will take you on an exciting hunt through the world of London’s 1960s gangsters.

Risk runs at the New Theatre until September 24th.

Cuncrete – Review

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.






Mimes in Time – Review

Science Gallery

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


Forever Young – Review

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.”

Players Review: Café Casablanca

Check out my latest review for TCD Rant and Rave!

Righto, let’s get started. What are you talking about this time?

Café Casablanca, an adaptation of the much-loved classic film Casablanca, which was in turn an adaptation of a stage play Everyone Comes to Rick’s. Adapted and directed by Aoife Meagher, Café Casablanca runs in the Players Theatre until Saturday 14th Feb.

Ok, should I go see it, or would I be better off at home consoling myself about my lack of a Valentine with a large tub of ice-cream?

Forget the ice-cream! Come to this tale of wartime romance, friendship, danger and secrets, and I promise you won’t regret it. From Tory O’Neill’s soaring singing as Sam, to David Roper-Nolan’s suave, collected portrayal of Rick Blaine, the cast is excellent. As someone who has never seen Casablanca, I found myself caught up in this thrilling, romantic tale from the moment the show went up.

Hmm, sounds good…

View original post 116 more words

Players Review: Sweet & Sour

Check out my first review of a players show for TCD Rant & Rave!

So, what are we talking about?

Sweet & Sour, a play about dating and friends, and all the pitfalls and possibilities that accompany them. Written and directed by Ursula McGinn, starring Kerill Kelly and Keira O’Flaherty, Sweet & Sour runs in the Players Theatre at 1pm every day until Saturday 31st Jan.

Righto, so should I bother going to see it?

Without a doubt! The combination of McGinn’s excellent writing and direction plus the cast’s winning performances make this one of the most fun shows I have seen in Players to date. Myself and the rest of the audience laughed again and again and again. From Kelly’s hilarious facial expressions to O’Flaherty’s perfectly executed phone conversations, every moment of the show was a joy to watch.

Tell me more, tell me more!

The set, which was a collaborative effort from the whole production team, led by head designer Annie…

View original post 234 more words

Review – “Heartbreak House”


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!

Review – “I, Malvolio”


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.