Absolut Fringe 2012: Fringe Awards

The Absolut Fringe is over for another year, and what a wonderful Fringe it was! I had another great year volunteering with the festival and saw as many shows as my budget would allow.

The Fringe Awards happened last night in Meeting House Square, which was a wonderful out-door venue this year, playing host to Briefs almost every night of the festival as well as other acts. All the winners and nominations are listed on the Fringe Facebook page and, as usual, the list includes a whole lot of shows that I didn’t get a chance to see.

I’m looking forward to catching a lot of the winners when they come back again. The Lir Revival is a new award this year and the winners are given the opportunity to restage their winning production at The Lir. This year’s winners are Talking Shop Ensemble’s Death of a Tradesman (which also won the Fishamble New Writing Award for Shaun Dunne) and WillFredd’s Farm (which I tried and failed to get tickets for). I’m looking forward to seeing both of those shows when they are staged sometime between now and the end of the academic year. I have yet to see a show at The Lir so I’m looking forward to that too. I was down there a couple of times this Fringe as a volunteer and it seems like a great venue.

Death of a Tradesman is also part of this year’s Galway Theatre Festival which starts on next Monday.

Two more shows that I heard a lot of good things about but didn’t see myself were Paperdolls’ Constellations and Emma Martin’s Dogs. These two shows are closer to dance than straight theatre and both won big awards on Sunday night. Dogs won Best Production and Best Design and Constellations won Spirit of the Fringe. Paperdolls are definitely a company to keep an eye on!

So they are all the shows I didn’t see; I will post reviews of the ones I did manage over the next couple of days. And then we’ll get ready for the Dublin Theatre Festival which starts on Thursday!

Absolut Fringe 2011: Do You Read Me?

Do You Read Me?
Do You Read Me? by Talking Shop Ensemble and Shaun Dunne

The blurb for Do You Read Me? suggests it’s a state-of-nation sort of play; what do we believe in when we have been let down by the church, by the State and by all those in authority? Who do we look to for comfort? It didn’t really fulfil that brief but it is still a very enjoyable show.

The production uses the space in Smock Alley to great effect. The show takes place in the area of the Boys School that was used as the Fringe bar two years ago. It’s a fantastic space – a tall room where the ceiling is three floors above you with lots of old, exposed brick walls. It’s a spooky place to watch a show about communicating with the dead. When Shaun Dunne asks for a sign from the spirit world and we sat in silence waiting for this sign, there was a sense of anticipation in the air. Even I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck start to rise and I’m a confirmed sceptic!

It’s a fun show with lots of nice moments but the thing that makes this show so enjoyable is the great performances from the engaging, young cast. They provide good company for the hour while you learn a little bit about mediums and the effect they can have on people.

It closes tomorrow so you have two more chances to see it. Book your tickets here.