Tuesday, December 19, 2017

10 Shows to See in 2018

We’re not used to having the Gate Theatre’s programme in advance, or the Abbey’s season as plentiful. Narrowing down the field is no fun at all. Here are 10 premieres for your diaries.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Best Theatre of 2017

In accordance with being a critic in December, I must be writing my theatre picks for 2017. Keep an eye out for a more thought-out analysis in the Irish Independent.

If you think I got it wrong, sound off in the comments. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

There Probably are Weinsteins in Irish Theatre

Nobody working in Irish theatre has told me they experienced sexual harassment. So as far as journalism goes, this isn’t me reporting it.

But I have heard stories, and saying that might mean something. Breaking the silence must be agonising. If it’s reassuring for any victim to hear that people - no less than Sarah Durcan and Gabriel Byrne - have been learning about abuses of this kind, probably for years, then I’ll say my piece. Though I don’t know much.

About myself: I don’t think I’ve done anything that constitutes as abuse or harassment. I rarely socialise in industry circles. I’m embarrassed to remember instances in the past when I passed superficial but degrading remarks about men artists whom I found attractive. I was stupid but not aggressive, in my mind anyway.

The overwhelming testimony of Waking The Feminists has shown that Irish theatre artists have been subject to intimidation and bias. Grace Dyas wrote openly about her experience of it in The Journal. Just recently I've heard a director with three decades’ experience say she could ‘write a book about bullying in the rehearsal room’. A dramaturg told me she was instructed to quieten down by a male playwright, while using her indoor voice. (I won’t say who these people are - it’s not my place).

In terms of viler harassment, I think of the Waking the Feminists performance lecture about workers in technical theatre. One woman had been groped by a director. Another was told a lewd joke by a co-worker. Their names were changed in the presentation in case they'd lose work.

UPDATE: Someone has mentioned the banning order against Belfast actors' agent Mark McCrory. BBC reported it in July.

I’ve heard of two individuals whose acts may be described as predatory. One of them has passed away. Another, I’ve heard lurid things about from two different people.

Irish Equity has said it will support anyone who wishes to report harassment. If that’s not an option, you can get in touch - in complete confidence - with me at chrismac1989@gmail.com. I’m not qualified to report on anything myself but I may be able to find people who are.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Pan Pan, 'The Good House of Happiness': Send in the Brechtsperts

A bleak version of Bertolt Brecht's The Good Person of Szechuan loses its satirical edge. Photo: Gavin Quinn.

Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin Theatre Festival 
Oct 13-15

A quick review of The Good House of Happiness by Eugene O’Brien and Gavin Quinn coming up just as soon as I take a 15 minute break …

Friday, October 13, 2017

Karine Polwart and Royal Lyceum Theatre Company, 'Wind Resistance': Birdsong

This illuminating solo with songs could have left out its B-sides. Photo: Aly Wight 

Pavilion Theatre, Dublin Theatre Festival 
Oct 12-14

A quick review of Wind Resistance by Karine Polwart coming up just as soon as I help a robin ...

Saturday, October 7, 2017

United Fall, 'Girl Song': Past Generations

This dance-theatre production is poised between oblivion and resistance. Can it avoid straying into one or the other? Photo: Luca Truffarelli.

Samuel Beckett Theatre, Dublin Theatre Festival
Oct 6-8

A quick review of Girl Song by Emma Martin coming up just as soon as I watch my television ...

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Rough Magic, 'Melt': Locus Solus

This wildly imaginative play needs to be reined in. Photo: Ros Kavanagh.

Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin Theatre Festival
Sep 30-Oct 8

A quick review of Melt by Shane Mac an Bhaird coming up just as soon as I don't trust anyone with the guile of humility ...

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Martin Sharry, 'Playboyz': St Patrick's Day

A pastiche of Synge's Playboy looks at racism in contemporary Ireland. Photo: Jaesin Yu. 

The New Theatre, Dublin Theatre Festival
Sep 29-Oct 1

A quick review of Playboyz by Martin Sharry coming up just as soon as I sell you a lawnmower ...

Saturday, September 23, 2017

X & Co. Xnthony, ‘Power of Wow’: Wedding Bell Blues

Xnthony's new production is his most rigorous yet. Photo: LUXXXER. 

Bewley's Café Theatre @ Powerscourt, Dublin Fringe Festival
Sep 20-23 

A short review of The Power of Wow coming up just as soon as I cook gnocchi in LA … 

Dead Lady Productions, 'The Woods & Grandma': Among the Clouds

A refreshing new operetta gets the word out on Augusta Gregory.

Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin Fringe Festival
Sep 21-23

My review of The Woods & Grandma by Cal Foger Day coming up just as soon as I butter my toast ...

Amanda Coogan and Dublin Theatre of the Deaf, 'Talk Real Fine, Just Like a Lady': Signs

An alluring version of The King of Spain's Daughter shows the deaf community's history of oppression. 

Peacock Theatre, Dublin Fringe Festival 
Sep 20-23

My review of Talk Real Fine, Just Like a Lady coming up just as soon as I listen to some Beethoven ...

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sad Strippers Theatre, 'All honey': Bedroom Farce

Ciara Elizabeth Smyth's agile new farce interrupts a young couple's house-warming.

The New Theatre, Dublin Fringe Festival
Sep 19-23

My review of All honey by Ciara Elizabeth Smyth coming just as soon as I tell someone so you won't murder me ...

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sugar Coat Theatre, 'End Of.': Gabriel's Horn

Arguing against the infallibly real has become an absurd norm, but it makes for a riveting play. 

The Gutter Bookshop, Dublin Fringe Festival 
Sep 17-24

My review of End Of. by Seanan McDonnell coming up just as soon as I surmise your being and find you inauthentic ...

Friday, September 15, 2017

Kate Stanley Brennan, 'Walk for Me': The Club Kids are All Right

Kate Stanley Brennan's new solo work sneers through a slut-shaming world. 

Bewley's Café Theatre @ Powerscourt, Dublin Fringe Festival 
Sep 13-18

My review of Walk for Me by Kate Stanley Brennan coming up just as soon as I snort meth ...

Sunday, September 10, 2017

STO Union and Change of Address, 'Trophy': Camera Obscura

This enlightening performance installation puts neglected voices into the city fabric. Photo: Allison O'Connor.

Barnardo Square, Dublin Fringe Festival 
Sep 10-11

My review of Trophy coming up just as soon as I close my eyes ...