Absolut Fringe 2011: Twenty Ten

Twenty Ten
Twenty Ten by THEATREclub

THEATREclub have been talking about this show for a long time, they’ve been talking about it on Facebook and Twitter and blogging from the rehearsals. And why not – it’s been a long time in the making. If you don’t know the concept behind the show, let me explain. In 2010, THEATREclub sent out an e-mail everyday asking participants ‘What did you learn today?’ and they collected all the responses and made a piece of theatre from them. That piece of theatre is being performed in two month chunks all this week with a six-hour omnibus edition on Saturday.

I was impressed by the respect they showed their source material. This wasn’t a show based on the messages they received, they didn’t just use them as a jumping off point to create a performance; the messages formed the text of the piece and the structure used them chronologically. I thought this showed it a great respect to the people who had donated their words and thoughts and feelings.

I was there on Saturday for Episode 1 – January-February so there was lots of talk about the snow and a little bit about new beginnings. The messages reflected the age of the participants – there was a lot of things learnt about drinking and the consequences of drinking too much. Falling in and out of love also featured heavily. There were also a few facts thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately I can’t share any of them with you because I can’t remember any of them. Even straight after the show, I couldn’t remember a single amusing fact to tell my sister. This is a bit of a problem – you are bombarded with information over the hour and I suspect everyone walks out of the show remembering a different bit or a different thread because there were a few strands running through the show. Money came up a number of times and as this was a year when Ireland officially declared bankruptcy, the show make use of this by throwing coins around whenever money was mentioned.

A lot of the charm of the show is down to the strong performances from the six actors (Shane Byrne, Natalie Radmall-Quirke, Conor Madden, Lauren Larkin, Louise Lewis and Barry O’Connor) and their ability to give meaning to the disjointed text. The tight structure and strong performances also resulted in some unexpectedly sweet moments. It succeeds in giving the audience a glimpse into the minds of some of the people living in Ireland in 2010. The girl I bought my ticket from suggested that it might be interesting to see these day to day reflections again in 10 years time. Personally, I would love to see more of it and I think the six-hour epic on Saturday would be fascinating. If anyone wants to sell a time-share on a ticket, let me know! (It makes sense! Six hours is a lot of time to give to one show when there is so much going on!)

I definitely recommend. Tomorrow’s show covers September-October and November-December will be on Friday. Go see it!

Reviews coming soon for Do You Read Me? Talking Shop Ensemble’s meditation on mediums.

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