Reviews, finally

These are the shows that I did manage to see at this year’s Fringe;

As you are now so once were we
Two weeks after seeing the show, I finally get the name right! I’ve just been calling it the play by The Company . As I said before, I really enjoyed it. It made me smile and I left the theatre feeling very joyful.

I loved the set – loads and loads of cardboard boxes stacked up on top of each other, used to represent everything from fast food chains to tall buildings, chairs or bank machines. (Photos available here.) It was a fluid, ever-changing set – in more ways than one as the cast argued about what a particular box actually was.

That tongue-twister of a title comes from Ulysses and the show was based on Joyce’s book. Not so much on the story (not that Ulysses really has a story) but more on the essence of the book, which meant it was about Dublin and a day in a life in Dublin. Or in this case, a day in the lives because the show also used Ulysses ever shifting narrator, but here the narrators disagreed with each others and events were re-told from a difference perspective as the narrative control was passed from actor to actor.

Like Joyce’s book it was very much grounded in time and place. It was set in Dublin in September 2010, name checking people and places that exist here and now. And like Joyce’s book, it made me notice things about Dublin that I hadn’t seen before.

It was also a very funny show which is properly why I came out smiling. I really hope it gets another run at the Project because I would really like to see it again!

Camille O’Sullivan: Chameleon
I saw Camille in the Fringe Factory on the Friday night and enjoyed her show as much as ever. I did sort of miss the Spiegeltent but this was smaller, more intimate venue. I managed to get a seat up front, close to the stage – I’m not sure how it was further back because the stage seemed quite low and the room was long and narrow.

Camille O’Sullivan is a tiny, little thing. She came onstage with about six layers of outfits on and she was still a tiny, little thing. These layers were gradually discarded (the Chameleon part of the title?), so there were lots of different costumes and characters throughout the evening!

Greatest Hits
Last Thursday I was Greatest Hits in the Project. The programme described it as “Operatic Electric sound theatre” which is accurate but for some reason I was expecting more story. Possible there were stories in the songs that I missed because the vocals were often drowned out by all the other instruments. This might have been an opening night glitch. Probably for a lot of people it wouldn’t be a problem at all but my brain likes stories! The songs were interesting to listen to and it was a strong visual piece as well, with a wide variety of instruments and other sound making devices.

Greenstick Boy
I mostly saw this because it was on on Saturday lunchtime when I didn’t need to be somewhere, and because I like going to see one-woman shows and seeing how other people do it. I also liked the promo image.

I find Bewley’s Cafe Theatre a bit of an odd venue. It’s so small and they leave all the tables out even when they aren’t serving food, and the last couple of times I’ve been there it’s been weirdly empty. It’s not a theatre I feel particularly comfortable in but I did enjoy the performance. It was a simple enough piece of theatre but very well performed by Maggie Cronin who had to compete with the buskers on Grafton Street and did so fantastically! She definitely held her own and held my attention throughout the play. I liked the set and the change it underwent through the play.

It did reenforce something about my own taste in theatre – I like shows more when the actors acknowledge the audience and the fact that they are performing in front of other people. Maybe this is why I love Camille’s cabaret and enjoy stand-up so much. Even though Greenstick Boy was delivered straight out to the audience, it was done in such a way that the character was almost talking to themselves or to another off-stage character in that fictional world.

So I enjoyed the play and learnt something from it – pretty good for a Saturday afternoon!

And that was my Fringe. I had a ticket for Cappuccino Culture on Saturday night but decided to stay in the Project and watch Trilogy again instead. But that show is a whole other post!

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