Into the Water – Review

Originally published on The Reviews Hub

Smock Alley Theatre

Tiger Dublin Fringe


Up and Over It are an exciting and talented dance duo, and this show reflects that. What Into the Water does well it does excellently, however, outside of these things there are serious gaps in the production that must be addressed.

Presenting two characters that appear to have washed up in a new place, and their exploration of their unfamiliar surroundings, Into the Water is poorly paced with too little of anything to create an engaging story between dance sequences. The dance is impressive and captivating; the choreography and execution cannot be faulted. However, the construction of the show around it is lacking in structure and content. We know as little about the characters in the end of the show as we found out in the first five minutes. Little happens to drive their exploration of the space and neither character develops through the piece.  Cleary’s character comes across as mean and bullying to Harding’s but there is no move to address that; there is, overall, very little message or driving thought behind the show. This simplicity would make one think that the production was suited mostly to pre-school age audiences but the darkness and intensity of some segments negates this, leaving one wondering who exactly the production is aimed at.

Similarly, the design is a mixed bag, with stunning projection work but poor lighting design. From a rain storm to a sky full of stars, the world of the show is beautifully created around the characters. However, the basic lighting design is far too dark. Any of the eclectic and charming set beyond centre stage is barely visible and whenever either of the performers ventures to the sides of the stage they too are shrouded in darkness. It is like putting a carpet on a dirty floor; the projection may have been impressive, but without a strong overall lighting design its effect is weakened.

Had Into the Water dispensed with its story and just presented a series of dance vignettes, or alternatively had it included another artist or more time devoted to story, it would have been much more effective. As it was, it was a show with potential that fell just short.

Into the Water runs in Smock Alley until September 24th.



Riot – Review

Originally published on The Reviews Hub


Tiger Dublin Fringe



Imagine you have landed inside the whirring, vivacious minds of some of the best and brightest artists and activists in the city. Now imagine that has been amplified and condensed into one 90 minute multidisciplinary spectacular, and then add in a few thousand volts of electricity with a generous dash of pure magic. All of that imagining has still only brought you halfway towards the artistic and political extravaganza that is Riot.

From Jean Brodie to Jesus, and circus to poetry, Riot takes uses every skill and idea imaginable to take a long hard look at our attitudes towards change, while hosting a rousing and unforgettable party. To name just a few examples;  The Lords of Strut test the limits of physical agility (and of clingfilm), Up and Over it captivate the audience with a variety of dance routines, utilising everything from skipping ropes to Dutch Gold, and Ronan Brady wows with graceful and powerful circus skills as he showers the audience with smouldering glances and Tayto. The audience is never allowed to leave the edges of their seats as the excitement and drive builds and builds.

Interspersing this variety of acts, are the indomitable Panti Bliss and Emmet Kirwan. Panti provides comedy and hard truths in equal measure while making a medical boot seem like a fashion statement. However, Kirwan is the true star of the show. Dublin’s most scintillating wordsmith delivers a charged performance that captures the thoughts of thousands into just a few metrically suberb poetic segments. The music and movement of his words matched the revolutionary energy of them; his is not poetry to talk about change, it is poetry to enact it.

Not only are the performances stunning, but McMahon’s direction, a  sharp lighting design by Mark Galione and vibrant costumes by James-David Seaver are the icing on the cake that turn excellent performances into an excellent show.

Riot does what it says on the tin; it is an hour and a half of an artistic riot. It is an energising and engaging piece of political theatre as well as an unadulterated celebration of skill, passion and possibility.

Riot runs in the Spiegeltent, Merrion Square until September 25th.