Published on July 27th, 2011 | by Sinead Keogh1
Preview: The Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival
Back on our pop culture radar is the annual Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival with their just-launched, kick-ass programme. In keeping with previous years, there’s plenty of variety and you’ll find it all here but if you’re a bit overwhelmed by the scale of it all, we have a few recommendations.
For starters, we’re big fans of Chekhov. First introduced to team Culch via the Chekhov’s Comedy Shorts series on Sky Arts (find it if you can, it’s hilarious and unexpectedly crammed with big names), we’re looking forward to seeing two Chekhov-inspired works during the festival. “DONKA, A LETTER TO CHEKHOV” is pegged as an extravaganza of acrobatics and magic (it’s performed by acrobats and a troupe of clowns), inspired by Chekhov’s plays and diaries it’s promising to be surreal and escapist. (Gaiety Theatre, September 29th – October 2nd.) Meanwhile, “16 POSSIBLE GLIMPSES” focuses on the life and death of the playwright through a series of dialogues and domestic scenes as imagined by Marina Carr in what’s being forecast as an ‘energetic’ and ‘dynamic’ offering. (Abbey Theatre, 30th September – 1st October; 3rd – 8th October; 10th – 15th October.)
Elsewhere, it what sounds like quite the coup for the festival, Kneehigh are coming to Dublin to perform “THE WILD BRIDE”. The story of what happens when a father accidentally sells his daughter to the devil, the Tony-nominated team behind the production are bringing romance and magic across the water from Cornwall for 3 nights only. (Gaiety Theatre, October 13th – 15th.)
Colm Toibin’s “TESTAMENT” at Project Arts is described as a ‘thrilling imaginative leap’ asking questions about ‘what we believe, who we believe and why’. It’s the work’s world premiere with Garry Hynes (she’s familiar for many things, but usually for directing Druid Theatre’s works including the upcoming Big Maggie) directing and Marie Mullen (who played Big Maggie when Hynes directed it at the Abbey in 2001, actually!) starring, it’s got promise on its side. (Project Arts Centre, 29th September – 16th October.)
If you’re a fan of the traditional then “JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK” at the Abbey is an obvious choice with a stellar cast on board including Risteard Cooper and Sinéad Cusack (Richard Boyd Barrett’s mammy). If you’ve never seen it before, take the opportunity to get acquainted. Probably O’Casey’s best-known work (well, maybe The Plough…) it’s set in a Dublin tenement at the time of the War of Independence and while the grinding poverty and circumstance might depress you, the sharp dialogue will lift you back up. (Abbey Theatre, September 29th – October 15th.)
Lastly, a nod to “THE BLUE BOY”, a newly-developed work featuring live performance and recorded interviews shedding light on recently reported stories of child abuse in Ireland’s Catholic institutions. It may not be easy viewing, but it’s probably something we all ought to see. (The Lir, October 5th – 11th, 15th, 16th.)
With plenty more on offer including another chance to see I ♥ Alice ♥ I which was a smash at the Absolut Fringe last year, we can’t recommend getting your mitts all over the programme highly enough.