Half Light – Review

The New Theatre

Tiger Dublin Fringe



Written and directed by Mollie Molumby, Half Light is a beautiful family show. A lesson in the art of storytelling, this production tells the story of Robin, a young boy who traverses his father’s storybook world to save his missing Dad from a monster.

In this seemingly simple story Molumby makes powerful use of fantasy to deal with reality. More complex than it initially seems, Half Light is a family show that does not shy away from the dark. As the show progresses, we see that Robin is learning not just that things can be difficult in story-books, with monsters, blizzards and bad guys, but that sometimes people deal with other kinds of difficulties in real life too.

Molumby’s sparkling script is brought to the stage with enthusiasm and energy by the cast. Fionn Foley delivers a spirited performance as Robin, playing with the audience with ease and capturing the bright-eyed eagerness of the character. The rest of the cast multitask impressively as they double as musicians, characters and narrators. They perform Foley’s compositions with vivacity and skill, never taking it too seriously, but always giving it their all.

Half Light is a well-crafted, insightful piece of theatre that is a pleasure to watch.

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.






Hot Brown Honey – Review

Originally published on The Reviews Hub

Spiegeltent, Tiger Dublin Fringe



Briefs Factory’s feminist cabaret and burlesque extravaganza, Hot Brown Honey, has the audience crying with laughter, whooping, clapping and stamping their feet, but it isn’t from this that the show gets its electric energy. The Honeys are a group of women who are unashamedly angry and this is a show that makes no question of its bold intention to smash the patriarchy.

In a series of vignettes, the Honeys present the audience with well worn images and stereotypical characters before turning each and every one on its head. In one instance the audience is introduced to a “typical Samoan woman,” a romanticised idea of a woman in nothing but a leaf skirt sitting weaving herself new clothes from leaves. However, this illusion is shattered in moments as she turns and performs an impressive reverse strip-tease with a costume that seems impossibly, magically versatile. Another example is the caricaturing of characters that are defined by their physical features as Busty Beats appears wearing a costume with breasts the size of beach balls.

While most of their routines have a sizeable dash of the ridiculous and over-the-top about them  (one needs only to have seen the costumes for the “Don’t Touch Her Hair” number to know that) that does not detract from the weight of the message in each segment.  Tearing into questions of sexism, racism and homophobia, and tackling results of colonisation, the Honeys leave the audience in no doubt as to just how serious they are. This may be an audacious, entertaining and fun show, but it also leaves a sobering mark.

Through a fierce cabaret of hip-hop, song, circus and politics, Hot Brown Honey takes the audience through a whistle-stop tour of intersectional feminism and provides plenty of laughs and sass along the way. As the Honeys themselves say, “fighting the power never tasted so sweet.”

Hot Brown Honey runs until September 16th in the Spiegeltent at Merrion Square.



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


Rebel Rebel – Review

Bewley’s Cafe Theatre

Tiger Dublin Fringe


Originally published on The Public Reviews


Rebel Rebel (part of this year’s Show in a Bag series) is an engaging and interesting snapshot of the 1916 Rising through the eyes of two of its participants, Helena Molony (Aisling O’Mara) and Sean Connolly (Robbie O’Connor).  With nothing but a table and chair in the centre of the room, O’Meara and O’Connor bring their characters’ experiences of the rising to the audience with a vitality and volatility that successfully captures the wider social climate of the time. The combination of the changes in tone, the fear they obviously feel, and the more mundane problems they face because of the rising; all combine to create a complex web of personal and national history.

Rebel Rebel is bookended by the a performance of W.B. Yeats’ seminal play Cathleen Ní  Houlihan which the characters abandon to march to Dublin Castle. This worked well, providing a structure to what is a very volatile, rapidly shifting play. However, the voice-over of lines from Cathleen Ní Houlihan detracted somewhat from the live performances as it competed with the central action of the performance, while not being easily understood itself either. The idea was a promising one; should the execution be polished it would be a very effective enhancement to the performance.

Rebel Rebel captures the idealism, and the violent and gritty reality, behind the rising, as, through Lowe’s direction, it presents snippets of the experiences of Molony and Connolly. This show is no light piece of lunchtime theatre; this show is a fast but penetrating flight through the Rising. With its gilt edges of idealism brought forward by the characters, and the threads of violence, loss and pain woven through their individual stories (and those of the Rising in general) Rebel Rebel is a compact but forceful picture of the 1916 Rising


(Not) Belonging – Review

This is Happening Collective

Samuel Beckett Theatre

Tiger Dublin Fringe



Devised and performed by Matthew O’Dwyer, Áine O’Hara and Sorcha Flanagan, (Not) Belonging is a deeply personal exploration of what it means to be a young person finding your feet in the world. Often funny, often serious, this production will strike a chord in some way with everyone who has worked to find their place in life.

The piece opens with each performer introducing themselves, setting the personal and open tone for the rest of the piece. Through a variety of performance styles each performer’s unique but connected experience of finding a place to belong is brought to life. The collective work brilliantly together, feeding each other’s energy in performing; it is obvious that this show was very much a collaborative effort with a balance of each voice shining through.

Deserving of a particular mention is the set, designed by Gemma McGuinness. With a main set piece which I can best describe as a versatile book of backdrops, the set was simple and innovative, providing a setting perfectly suited to the style of the performances. The only glitch in the design of the performance is the projection work. Though it is a good idea, and parts of it worked, because of the surface it was projected onto much of it was lost and I found myself being distracted from the performances by trying to work out what the images were. This is however, a minor issue that could be easily resolved. Overall the stage design was simple, well-planned and effective.

(Not) Belonging is an interesting and impressive piece of work from this emerging Dublin theatre collective. Shows about young people and teenagers can often stray into the territory of distanced patronisation but this piece certainly does not. Written from the hearts of the collective, written for their personal exploration of their experiences, written to connect with people who feel or have felt the same way as they do, (Not) Belonging is an engaging piece brimming with the vitality and drive of its creators.

Douze – Review

Smock Alley

Tiger Dublin Fringe



In a flurry of glitter, sequined hot-pants and shimmering gold curtains Xnthony, an Irish Eurovision hopeful, bursts onto the stage and for the next hour proceeds to present the songs and dances with which he intends to represent Ireland in Sweden 2016. The exuberance with which he, Hannah and Tiffany exclaim “We’re so excited!” and the vim with which they burst into each musical number is contagious; the audience is splitting a seam laughing and clapping along in no time.

This is a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously; yes, there were dud notes sung, the dances could definitely have been a bit more in time, and the props were touch-and-go, but it was enormous fun. I could spend this review talking about the things that went wrong, the moments of entanglement in sparkly gold fringes, the near miss with a bucket of confetti but I’m not. This show wasn’t polished, it was brash in the best possible way, brimming with enthusiasm and confidence. As the audience joined in with the songs, voted for their favourites and dissolved into helpless fits of shrieking giggles, it was obvious that this show was a roaring success in its own right.

A frolicking feast of invention and vivacity, Douze is a refreshing, glittery romp that it is hard not to enjoy.