DTF 2014 and other festivals

DTF2014

I really enjoyed this year’s Dublin Theatre Festival. I saw great Irish and international shows over the two and a bit weeks. Here is a handful of my favourite things.

1. A German Hamlet that reminded me of Rik Mayall. Schaubühne’s Hamlet was modern and contemporary and very, very German. It looked amazing with a wet, mucky set and a giant curtain of chains that doubled up as a projection screen. This Hamlet was allowed be funny and silly, particularly when he addressed the audience directly but within the play’s text as well. The show created a very clear world for these characters and the costumes worked supplement that and to help the six actors portray the twenty plus characters in the play! The last Hamlet I saw was also in the Dublin Theatre Festival – the Wooster Group’s Hamlet in 2012. (I also saw Playing the Dane in the festival in 2010. It’s a popular play!) Now I’m ready to take a break from this tragic hero for a while!

2. So many female stories. The festival were awash with magnificent female performers. From the incredible talents of Marie Mullen, Catherine Walsh and Aisling O’Sullivan in Druid’s production of Bailegangaire at the Gaiety, to Aoife Dunffin’s spell-binding performance in A Girl is a Half Formed Thing, to the wonderful cast of Vardo to the grumpiest Masha I’ve ever seen in Pan Pan’s The Seagull and Other Birds. Lots of different women, telling lots of different stories.

3. The internationality of it. In the O’Reilly Theatre I saw an Australian show about an Indian elephant god who travels to Germany to rescue the Swastika from the Nazi’s. Ganesh Versus The Third Reich was a wonderful show crammed full of ethical and dramatic questions, as well as fantastic performances. I feel lucky to have seen a show that was made on the other side of the world. Another show in the Australian Season, Jack Charles V The Crown also looked at persecution but was much more about Australian life.

4. Two wonderful days with ANU talking and thinking about the Monto Cycle. As well as being lucky enough to get a ticket for Vardo, I also attended the two-day conference NOW-THEN-NOW, presented by ANU Productions and Create. It was a fascinating two days hearing about the five-year project, and it managed a good balance between academic views on the work and the cast and audience’s experiences from inside the work. We also had the chance to experience a condensed version of all four pieces (World’s Ends Lane, Laundry, Boys of Foley Street and Vardo) on the streets around the Lab. It was a very enjoyable couple of days.

5. Talking theatre with people, at the conference, before shows and in the bar afterwards. I volunteered with the festival again this year. I think it’s my third or fourth year doing it and I keep coming back because I really enjoy it. It’s a great way to see lots of shows in the festival and you also meet people who are really enthusiastic about theatre and I love talking theatre with people.

That’s a condensed version of my festival. If I included everything I saw and loved, this post would be very long and I want to write a little bit of two festivals starting today. Just in case you were feeling festival withdrawal!

Prototype is a festival of play and interaction and it’s happening in Project Arts Centre today and tomorrow. It’s run by the same people who brought you Journey to the End of the Night and it features talks and workshops as well as lots of games. Tickets for the Playground and access to all the games are €10 for one night and €15 for both nights, and there are different games available on each night. You can book tickets and get more information on Project’s website.

Also starting today is the spoken word festival Lingo. It’s happening Friday to Sunday in Smock Alley Theatre,The Workman’s Club and The Liquor Rooms.

And for something completely different – the Dublin Cocktail Festival is also on at the moment and finished tomorrow.

Advertisements

Pondling: Interview with Genevieve Hulme-Beaman

Pondling by Genevieve Humle-Beaman
Pondling by Genevieve Humle-Beaman
Pondling returns to Smock Alley Boys’ School next month, the same venue it sold out at last year’s Dublin Fringe Festival. Written and performed by Genevieve Hulme- Beaman, this intense one-hour play is dark and funny. Genevieve won Best Female Performer at the Fringe Awards for her portrayal of the creepy young girl and the play has also been nominated for the Steward Parker Award.

Pondling was first performed as part of the 2013 Collaborations Festival and I asked Genevieve where she got the idea for the show. She said that the first thing that came to her was the image of a little girl in a dramatic pose. This, along with the idea of a child speaking tragic, over-dramatic, French, was her starting point for Pondling.

Genevieve has been working with her Pondling director Paul Meade for many years. He was her assigned mentor when she was a student at the Gaiety School of Acting. After she graduated in 2010, Genevieve played the part of Amber on the international tour of Elaine Murphy’s Little Gem, directed by Meade. The characters in Little Gem are three generations of the same family who tell their story in monologue. Genevieve says that this role really taught her how to perform monologues.

After Pondling‘s success at the Fringe, Genevieve went on to perform at the Gate Theatre, in a version of Pride & Prejudice adapted by James Maxwell and Alan Stanford. She played the youngest Bennett sister Lydia, who she describes as “such a little boldy”. She says it was an amazing part in a big cast, and that it was refreshing to be part of an ensemble for a change. Genevieve says that the nice thing about acting is that it’s always changing.

Genevieve will be spending a week in Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig as part of the Stewart Parker nomination and has some ideas of what she’d like to work on while she’s there. Beyond that, she would love for Pondling to have a long life and to perform it around the world. She’d like to see how audiences in other countries react to her psychotic 10-year-old creation.

In the meantime, Dublin audiences will have the pleasure of Madeline Humbel Buttercup’s company in Smock Alley, 31st March – 5th April and in Axis: Ballymun on 17th – 19th April.

Related Post: A very female Fringe

Christmas Wish-List

As the end of the year approaches, I decided to look forward instead of back and rather than write a review of the year just gone, I wrote a Christmas wish-list for Irish theatre in 2014. If you would like to read a review of theatre in 2013, I recommend Patrick Lonergan’s Irish Theatre Highlights 2013.

In the meantime, here’s my wish list.

1. More plays by female writers, on the big stages and small.

Shush by Elaine Murphy, premiered at the Abbey Theatre in 2013
Shush by Elaine Murphy, premiered at the Abbey Theatre in 2013

I feel like I’m always banging on about this but it is important! It’s been a pretty good year for female playwrights. Elaine Murphy became the third woman since the 1930s to have a play on the Abbey main stage when Shush opened earlier this year, while Deirdre Kinahan has enjoyed great success at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. At the same time it’s worth remembering that women make up 51% of the population (in the theatre community I think they are more in the majority), but we don’t see their stories onstage and I think that’s wrong. It’s an embarrassing wrong that should be corrected. One way to do that it to programme more plays by women because this will encourage more women to write plays. Role models are important. When Roger Bannister ran the first four-minute mile in 1954 it was a significant achievement. However, his record lasted less than 2 months because suddenly people knew it was possible and set out to break the record.

2. I’d also like to see more plays by non-Irish writers on our stages. Irish theatre does run the risk of being too inward looking. Let’s expand our repertoire with Irish interpretations of great international plays. Patrick Lonergan made a lot of good points when he wrote about British drama and how we don’t see those plays produced in Ireland during the summer. Let’s see an Irish production of a Lucy Prebble play (Enron) or a Laura Wade play (Colder Than Here, Other Hands, Breathing Corpses), or a Polly Stenham play (That Face, Tusk Tusk). Let us see more great plays by non-Irish writers. I would also love to see some Anthony Neilson, Jez Butterworth and Dennis Kelly plays on Irish stages.

3. More money for the arts. A wish-list doesn’t have to be realistic, and it would be wonderful if there was an increase to Arts Council funding next year but I would settle for no more cuts to funding in 2014. The arts allocation in Budget 2014 was 7% less than the previous year. (Source: Theatre Forum newsletter.) As the cuts keep happening year after year, those who are still struggling on have become “the lucky ones” as so many companies have already gone to the wall. More cuts next year, mean more companies, venues and organisation will be forced to shut up shop and that lose of experience and talent could take years to build back up again.

4. In a related point, I’d like to see more plays with big casts in 2014. Lack of money and more profit-share productions means that small casts make sense, often with only one or two actors. This sort of restriction can and has lead to wonderful bursts of creativity and fantastic performances. I have seen some wonderful one-man shows this year – Man of Valour, Solpadeine is my Boyfriend, Howie the Rookie, Pondling, and the granddaddy of them all Silent – but it was also nice to see a stage filled with actors in the Abbey’s productions of King Lear and Drumbelly or the Gate’s Threepenny Opera. Rough Magic had a big cast in The Critic by enlisting the students from the Gaiety School of Acting and Trinity’s Players and I’m looking forward to seeing their production of The Rise and Fall of The City of Mahagonny.

5. My final wish is for more hopeful and inspirational plays in 2014. This is a bit like putting “a surprise” at the end of your Santa-list. I’m not really sure what I want, I just feel that recently Irish plays have tended to be a bit bleak and miserable. The Hanging Gardens at the Abbey almost ended on a hopeful note and then turned darker and sadder in the last few moments. Fishamble’s Guratanteed! was a fantastic piece of theatre with wonderful performances but the factual story was so hopelessly depressing that I felt reluctant to applaud them at the end. Really what I want is a more hopeful country – I want us to look forward and upwards and I’m hoping if we can manage it on the stage, maybe we can manage it in life in general.

Wishing you and yours a very happy New Year. And if you have any wishes for 2014, feel free to share them below.
2014

A very female Fringe

Half-way through the Dublin Fringe Festival, having already seen six shows (Break, WAGE, Way Back Home, Pondling, You Remember The Stories You Wish Were True and Exit Strategy) I realised that I had yet to see a production that was written or devised by a man. This is partly my own prejudice – though I wasn’t actively avoiding shows by men, I am often more interested in seeing shows by women – but it’s also a credit to the Fringe that there were so many excellent productions by female theatre-makers to choose from. And they really were excellent shows – Way Back Home won the Spirit of the Fringe Award and I’m interested in seeing what Louise White does next. Pondling won the Best Female Performer Award for Genevieve Humle-Beaman and was also nominated for the Fishamble Award for Best New Writing.

Pondling by Genevieve Humle-Beaman
Pondling by Genevieve Humle-Beaman

At the Fringe Awards, the judges said that Best Female Performer was the most difficult categories to decide on because there was such a host of talent on display. I certainly saw some wonderful performances in lots of very different plays but I think the winner was a worthy one. In Pondling, which she wrote and performed, Genevieve Humle-Beaman created a character that was both terrifying and heart-breaking.

Female performers also did very well in Edinburgh this year – particularly when it came to the Foster’s Edinburgh comedy award; Bridget Christie won the overall prize and Adrienne Truscott won the panel prize. Both of their shows had a very strong feminist position. Christie’s show A Bic For Her was described as an hour of feminist comedy…as full of imaginative jokes as it is of righteous anger. Truscott’s show Asking for it took on rape culture and the rape joke. She performed the show naked from the waist down with video installations projected on to her lower body. These triumphs are particularly note-worthy as stand-up comedy is such a male-dominated medium.

Bryony Kimmings and her niece Taylor in Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model
Bryony Kimmings and her niece Taylor in Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model

On the theatre side of the Edinburgh Fringe, Bryony Kimmings’ Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model went down very well, winning a Fringe First Award, a Fringe Review Outstanding Theatre Award and the Arches Brick Award. It is currently running at the Soho Theatre in London. The show was devised by Kimmings and her nine-year-old niece Taylor, as a response to, and fight against, the sexualisation of young girls. Together they created Catherine Bennett, a pop-star who is also an expert on dinosaurs and loves riding her bike. She also has her own songs, complete with music videos and Facebook page. Lynn Gardner described the show as “a call to arms against those who profit from selling thongs to children.”

In the Dublin Fringe Festival, I only saw a couple of shows that were overtly feminist. One of which, WAGE by Fitzgerald and Stapleton, offered discounted tickets for female audience members in recognition of the 13.9% gender pay gap in Ireland. It was a dance piece performed by two naked female performers, who were very comfortable and non-sexual about their nakedness. Even the masturbation sequence was laugh-out-loud funny rather than sexy. I’m not entirely sure what it was about but it was fun and silly and joyful in its incomprehensiveness. I was baffled but I’d had a good time. There was a slightly jarring section at the end when the dancers, now fully clothed, were joined on stage by Justine Reilly, a former prostitute who spoke about her own experiences. There was no room left for audience interpretation here – it was very didactic and a bit preach-y. Suddenly the piece went from incomprehensible fun to unambiguous lecturing and this took away from what had gone before.

While WAGE was alternatively incomprehensible and blatantly obvious, I still felt like it was doing something different in an enjoyable way. DOLLS on the other hand, had nothing new to say. I left the Sunday night performance feeling slightly angry because my time had been wasted. It didn’t say anything new about the female condition and there were sections of the piece that I found boring. With its heavy reliance on lip-synching, DOLLS made its performers nothing more than ciphers to be imprinted on. Perhaps that was the point since the piece was about woman as objects but it failed to move beyond that and just showed me something I already knew, over and over again. I seem to be in the minority though as a lot of people seemed to really enjoy the piece. It won the inaugural First Fortnight award which means you can see it in January and make up your own mine.

I would like to see more feminist theatre, made by men and women. I’m a native optimist who believes that art can change the world (or at least change a few minds), and while women are still being treating as being worth less than men, whether it’s how much they are paid or how much they are listened to, then we need to keep shouting about it. But it helps to build a strong platform to shout from and the Dublin Fringe Festival does contribute to that. It seems like it has always been very female, certainly in the last five years under Roise Goan’s directorship, and that’s a very good thing. I would like to think that hearing women’s voices and women’s stories onstage moves us a step closer to smashing the patriarchy and making a fairer society for all.

Absolut Fringe 2012

There are so many exciting shows in this year’s Fringe that it’s hard to compile a short list of favourites. Previews start today and because they’re a bit cheaper it’s usually a good time to try something new. (New shows are starting all the time so there will be previews happening throughout the festival.)

There’s also lots of returning artists who you can rely on for a good show, such as Thisispopbaby, The Company, THEATREclub, Una McKevitt and Talking Shop Ensemble. And there’s the Macnas parades – Rumpus and The Cockroach and the Inventor which are always worth a look, and free! You do need a ticket though, which has to be collected in person from the Box Office in Filmbase.

A limited about of time and money sadly makes it impossible to see everything I want to see, so here is my list of favourites. It’s a long list and I know I’m not going to get to everything.

Elevator
I’m really looking forward to this show. It has the same writer and director as Alice in Funderland, which I really enjoyed earlier this year, and also has songs! The plot, involving the uber-rich and a party that gets out of hand sounds intriguing.

Sparkplug
Last January I saw Little John Nee’s last show The Mothers Arms in Galway and it was one of the most enjoyable shows I saw all year. It had some amazing songs and loads of jokes. I’m hoping for more of the same from this show. And if you are in Galway, you can see The Mothers Arms in the Town Hall Theatre this week.

Anna in Between
I love the poster for this show; it’s both pretty and intriguing. Despite the pretty poster, it sounds like it will be a dark, funny show. With songs.

Farm
This is another show that I don’t know that much about but I am intrigued by. I know the company won Spirit of the Fringe last year and this show sounds ambitious and interesting. It promises to bring the countryside into the city. I want to see how they do it.

Solpadine is my Boyfriend
I love the poster and the pill packet that doubles as flyer and I like to go and see one-woman shows. This one is about growing up which feels relevant to me at the moment – turning thirty and graduating from college (again) in the same year, shouldn’t I start feeling like a grown-up soon?

Show in a Bag
Show in a Bag is back with five new shows this year, with lunchtime and evening slots at 1pm, 6pm and 8pm, all €10. The Wheelchair on My Face, which was one of last year’s shows in a bag, won the Scotsman Fringe First at this year’s Edinburgh festival. These are very good shows at a very reasonable price!

Straight to DVD
I’ve caught pieces of Ponydance’s performances over the years, a little bit at the Fringe Awards in the Speigaltent, the second half of Anybody Waiting? when they were performing it all over the city for Fringe 2010, and I’m keen to see more. Their shows seem to have a great sense of humour.

Flatpack
It’s an opera about Ikea. And like the flat-packed Swedish furniture, you have to put the pieces together yourself. It’s a promenade performance across five rooms that leaves the audience to work out how the different scenes slot together. I’ve never been to an opera before and I would be a little bit nervous of it, but this sounds fun and not too scary!

West Coast Cool
After spending a wonderful year in Galway, I had to include this is a strand of work by companies from the west of Ireland. Geography is the only thing that links them and I think there’s something for everybody among the five shows happening in Smock Alley.

Mirror, Mirror
Fairytales with aerial hoops, silks and pole dancing – what’s not to like!

White Rabbit, Red Rabbit
This is another show that I’m mostly just curious about. Each day a different actor will perform a script they’ve never seen before, by an Iranian who was forbidden to leave his country. And it’s another show that’s only €10!

Believe it or not, I left things off that very long list. There’s so many great things happening that I recommend you pick up a brochure in Filmbase and spend some time looking through. I’ve have a few problems browsing the website so I recommend the physical brochure but I have a lot of problems with the website in general this year!

Often it doesn’t load properly and I just have a big black box in the middle of the screen, which such a waste of space. The text is too big. I’m sure it looked beautiful on the web designer’s huge Mac screen but on my three year old laptop, it’s really too big to be useful. The drop down menus go down below the bottom of the screen, making them very tricky to use. I don’t find the lists useful anyway. For a start, it took me at least three visits to the site before I realised that you have to make you selection and then make press the Go button. (I notice they have tried to make that clearer now.) I thought all the ‘Daring’, ‘Theatre’, ‘Political’, ‘Art’, etc listings were just broken links. I also don’t like the idea of limiting your search terms. I miss last year’s choices of ‘Shows for under a tenner’, ‘Shows to bring your Mam to’, etc. They brought up choices that I might not have seen otherwise and for me, going outside your comfort zone and seeing things you know almost nothing about is what the Fringe is for.

Pick up a brochure, take a risk on something new and step outside your comfort zone! And have a great Fringe!

Absolut Fringe 2011: Eternal Rising of the Sun

Eternal Rising of the Sun, by HotForTheatre

Eternal Rising of the Sun was another one-woman show. There were a lot of them in this year’s Fringe Festival and that’s no bad thing, especially when they are as good as this.

It’s a slightly harrowing tale of Gina, a woman who has been used and abused by most, if not all, of the men in her life. But she’s not giving up. She’s taking dance classes, just for herself, just because she loves to dance. It’s an uplifting show in it’s own quiet way.

The show is written and performed by Amy Convoy and follows the success of her first play I ♥ ALICE ♥ I which won the Fishamble New Writing Award in last year’s Fringe Festival and got another run in this year’s Dublin Theatre Festival. It’s a great script, slowly revealing more about Gina as the story goes on. This is exactly how you can imagine you would get to know the character. Amy also gives a wonderful performance. She plays Gina with a sort of contained energy, like there is a whole lot going on inside that we are only getting a glimpse of.

I hope Amy Conroy keeps making wonderful, moving shows like this one!

Absolut Fringe 2011: Where Do I Start?

Where Do I Start?
Where Do I Start?

Where Do I Start? was a lunchtime show about idenitiy and finding your place in the world. It was a one-woman show and the performer (Nyree Yergainharsian) introduced the show as if it was a seminar or group workshop about figuring out who you are. This clever opening gave context to the piece, acknowledged the audience and encouraged them to ask the same questions Nyree was asking about her own life. It also gave her an opportunity to give us a sense of why she had made this personal piece of theatre.

Nyree tells her story of growing up as an Irish-Armenian and the life she has lived up to this point. What makes this personal story so interesting and engaging for the audience is the simple, entertaining way she tells it. There is a lot of subtle humour and a sense of vulnerability from the performer.

I saw an earlier verison of this show as part of The Theatre Machine Turns You On last February and enjoyed it very much. This verison had more of a clearer shape to it and Nyree also used more physical movement to tell her story. There is a lovely section about how my mum and dad met for the first time that is told almost like a children’s fairytale, with larger than life characters and physical impersonations. Stories from before we are born often seems like family myths, especially when you hear them all the time when you’re growing up.

It was a very pleasant way to spend the hour and Nyree was a charming and entertaining host.

First Look: Absolut Fringe

The launch of this year’s Absolut Fringe Festival programme took place on Wednesday evening in the brand new Festival Club venue – Top of the Town on Parnell Square East (opposite the Gate Theatre and up a bit). After a few short speeches and a bit of free vodka, we got out hands on the sleek black programme! As usual, there is a whole heap of wonderful stuff there and it’s all on the website as well. I like that they have kept the same web design as last year – I like the ‘Like This / See These’ suggestions on the right hand side and the categories section is really helpful. The whole thing is organised in a useful, helpful way and I like that.

And if anyone is still unsure where to start with this massive programme, I’ve picked 10 things that I would like to see. I’m not saying that these are the best things in the festival, this is just my top ten at this moment in time!

1. Man of Valour because I love Corn Exchange and this got some great reviews at the Cork Midsummer festival last month.

2. Twenty Ten for it’s scope and ambition. THEATREclub will put all of 2010 on stage, two months a night for 6 nights and then perform the whole year again in a 6 hour performance on Saturday morning.

3. Do You Read Me? by Talking Shop Ensemble and Shaun Dunne. I loved their last show I Am a Homebird (It’s very hard) and as a life-long sceptic, I’m interested in this show about mediums and clarvoyents.

4. Where Do I Start? I saw a half-hour verison of this at The Theatre Machine Turns You On and really liked it. I’m interested to see how it works as an extended show and as it says in the programme, Nyree is “one fifth of multi ABSOLUT Fringe award winners The Company” which is reason enough to see this show!

5. The Year of Magical Wanking. I love thisispopbaby and this got rave reviews at Queer Notions late last year. I think it’s another brave, ambitious show and has the wonderful warning Contains explicit adult themes and language. I love a show with language!

6. Autobiographer by Melanie Wilson because I saw Iris Brunette in 2009 and loved it. It was a weird and wonderful show that has stayed with me for two years.

7. In My Bed because I like one-woman shows and shows in weird places. This one takes place in a car park.

8. Whenever I Get Blown Up I Think of You because that’s a great title. And it’s another one-woman show. There’s quite a few of those in this year’s Fringe!

9. Love Songs for Losers because it’s on in The Stag’s Head which seems like the perfect venue for a show set in a grimy karaoke bar. And they were giving out lollipops at the launch!

10. Pop Ceili. I caught the last two songs by these guys last year and they were brilliant! I want to see more of them this year.

That’s my 10 for the moment. Booking is already open on the website and if you book this week with the Early Bird code you can get 10% off! And then you have something to look forward to this September.

Theatre this February

As you are now so once were we opened in the Peacock this week. This was one of my favourite shows of the Fringe Festival and I’m looking forward to seeing it again. It’s funny and clever and made me smile; I can’t recommend it highly enough! It’s on until the 5th February.

The following week Connected opens in the Project. This is another show from last year’s Fringe, but one I didn’t manage to see. It was a Show in the Bag show and was nominated for Bewley’s Little Gem Award during the Fringe.

Bewley’s Café Theatre relaunched their website this week and it’s worth a look. ‘Life’ – a one woman show, on this Saturday evening looks interesting.

Also coming up in February is The Theatre Machine Turns You On – Volume II at the Project, February 15 – 19. I completely missed this mini-festival last year, so I’m looking forward to seeing a few shows this time around. The Project also has a Real Deal where you can get tickets to four shows for €22 – great value!

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!