Monthly Archive May 2017

ByIDGTF

Review 2017: Fronting / The Tearing Up of Fergal & Tim

Review from TheOutmost.com here.  Check out TheOutmost.com for more reviews throughout the Festival.

Fronting/The Tearing Up of Fergal and Tim *****

This very fine double bill serves up an appetiser featuring a gay couple’s attempt to have a civilised break-up, and for the main course there’s a new play from Scotland about living with HIV.

Dublin Gay theatre festival

The Tearing Up of Fergal and Tim: Great insight and humour

The Tearing Up of Fergal and Tim shows the powerful potential of the short play, something which we see too little of, but which has become something of a specialty for Blue Heart Theatre. In this finely written piece by Sean Denyer, we understand exactly why Fergal and Tim have fallen apart, but crucially, why they got together in the first place. It captures, with great insight and humour, the huge and sometimes overwhelming lurches in emotions and inadvertent comedy involved in a break-up. The build up to Tim’s eventual destruction of Fergal’s favourite book of poetry is brilliantly paced by the two actors, Mike Kunze and Brian Higgins, (a former winner of the Best Actor prize at this festival), who both give wonderfully nuanced performances. Sometimes and it’s definitely true in this case, less can be more.

In Scottish playwright Darren Hardie’s Fronting, we follow David, who at 21 has contracted HIV from a former boyfriend and is attempting to come to terms with what this means for him. The text skilfully weaves in issues relating to the contemporary management and prevention of HIV with a human story that is deeply affecting and utterly believable. The performances by the young cast are uniformly good, and have a great natural quality to them. Hardie is a young writer to watch, and this is a company I hope returns to the festival in the years to come. HIV-related plays were all over the festival a few years ago and then seemed to disappear as treatment got better. But of course, HIV had never gone away, and this beautiful piece does a brave job in reminding us of that fact.

Stephen O’Connor

Fronting/The Tearing Up of Fergal and Tim continues at The Pearse Centre until May 6 at 9pm with a matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm. Book tickets here.  

ByIDGTF

Review from TheOutmost.com here.  Check out TheOutmost.com for more reviews throughout the Festival.

An Unexpected Party ***

Dysfunctional families often make great subjects for drama, and the meeting up of the twin-sister and ex-partner of the recently deceased Niall provides the fulcrum for this new play by Irish writer Simon Murphy.

There are touches of Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party in the resulting conflict, and Murphy, who also stars in the play as Declan, can write some very funny lines.

Though the performances are a bit uneven, there is a standout turn from Lesley-Anne Reilly as Karen, featuring immaculate comic timing. Reilly plays a great drunk.

Sometimes the tone of the piece is a bit jarring, but this is always a challenge for comedy about serious issues. Murphy is obviously a writer of some potential, and I look forward to seeing what he comes up with next.

Caitlin Smyth

An Unexpected Party continues at The Pearse Centre until May 6th at 9pm with a matinee on Saturday 6th at 4pm. Book tickets here.

ByIDGTF

Review 2017: Both Sides Now / Wasting Paper

Review from TheOutmost.com here.  Check out TheOutmost.com for more reviews throughout the Festival.

Both Sides Now/Wasting Paper ***

In this is a double bill of new Irish writing by Nicole O’Connor and Leah Moore, the spotlight is put on growing up as a gay or bisexual woman in contemporary Ireland.

In Both Sides Now, the songs of Joni Mitchell are used to put a shape on the challenges of being bisexual, a very unexplored theme, even within gay writing. Though the plot is minimal, Nicole O’Connor is a performer of great charm, even though sometimes lines were lost because it was hard to hear her (and the Pearse centre is not large). It felt like a work-in-progress more than a finished piece, but hats off to the festival for giving young women writers a platform.

Nicole O’Connor in ‘Both Sides Now’

Wasting Paper contains a very fine performance from Leah Moore and a funny, energetic text with some great lines, as this young poet bares her soul to us. This short piece flew by, and could definitely be expanded into a full-length play. Kate is a character I want to see more of. A very promising debut.

Caitlin Smyth

Both Sides Now/Wasting Paper continues at the Pearse Centre until the May 6 at 7.30pm, with a matinee at 4pm on Saturday. Book tickets here

ByIDGTF

Review 2017: Naked Soldier

Review from TheOutmost.com here.  Check out TheOutmost.com for more reviews throughout the Festival.

Naked Soldier ****

Adapted from the novel by Der Nackte Soldat by Bellman O, this one-man show from Germany follows the journey of Alwin in 1960’s and 70’s Austria, as he discovers his sexuality and is compelled to live a double life, compartmentalising his carnal experiences well away from his daily ones.

Nils Wilkinson: a beautifully modulated performance

A solo show either stands or falls on the quality of the performance, and in the Outhouse’s small theatre there is absolutely no space to hide. Fortunately in Nils Wilkinson’s (main picture) beautifully modulated performance, The Naked Soldier is in safe hands. He manages to convey the conflict and detachment within Alwin brilliantly, in a portrayal that is all the more powerful for its understated grace.

Credit must also go to director Miguel Granja for a finely nuanced production. This sad, sombre piece really is a thing of chilling beauty.

Stephen O’Connor

Naked Soldier continues at the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival until May 6 at the Outhouse. Performances at 7.30pm with a matinee 4pm on Saturday, book tickets here


 

 

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Naked Soldier Outhouse, 7.30pm nightly, Saturday matinee 4pm.

Germany from the 1960s and Alwin’s emerging sexuality is explored with school friends secretly in the attic, mindful of the disapproval of family, neighbours and Church. It’s almost impossible now to understand how gay people connected in those silent days without media or confirmation of status. Nils Wilkinson’s tall, statuesque portrait of that time is dark, sombre and detached. There isn’t much love, just coping with desire and compartmentalising excitement.

In beautifully enunciated English, he accounts for, rather than blames the key influences of his circumstance, no gay angst here – and maybe it needs a little, just to shake the untouchability of the central character. Alwin accepts his task of survival like a dutiful soldier and succeeds on the surface. That is his highest ambition.

Staging is minimal in the tight space, there is a resonant soundtrack and as for nakedness, it’s there but it’s the exposed starkness of character, restricted emotion and self control that remains. There is an elegance in the telling, perhaps the only warmth from those chilling times of exclusion. TG

 

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ByIDGTF

Review 2017: Bleach

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Bleach Outhouse 105 Capel Street 9pm nightly and Saturday matinee 2.30pm.

Dan Ireland-Reeves is a talented young writer and actor and his current piece about a rent boy is a further step up in a promising career. Tyler Everett is the exotic name of a rent boy from a council estate so it’s no wonder he ended up in the sex industry.

The play is episodic and flashes forward and back with punchy one liners, prosaic descriptive packages and a fine physical presence. Tyler is morally in cold storage, without much blame and a survival instinct that is determined to keep going. He has charm, is fit and ricochets from caring to coldness as he is overwhelmed by the underside of the rent boy business. He is likeable and that is strongly portrayed to reel an audience in at the start but how could he … how could he do what he did?

This macabre drug fuelled tale teases, dismisses and feels like it’s on a ticking clock just like a rent boy’s session. The flashes of humour with a train spotting edge lift the solo show that never loses pace. Well worth seeing. GF

ByIDGTF

Review 2017: The Possible / Strange Fruit / The Morning After

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Three short plays by Momentum Acting studio, Players TCD 7.30pm Saturday matinee 2.30pm.

Pioneering gay playwright Neil La Bute’s two shorts combine seemlessly with Neil CK’s piece in a well choreographed and blended 70 minutes evening of theatre directed by Liza Michael and Robbie Byrne.

“The Possible” is an eerie piece which borderlines on homophobic as it projects the lesbian witch type of predator (Cherley Kane) who encircles her prey (Sophie Campbell) in a relentless pursuit of reluctance and insecurity abandoning all morality. It’s a well matched duo whose pace and connection impress in this chilling encounter or entrapment.

“Strange Fruit” is a little more of its time using a theme shared by Torch Song Trilogy – even if you find happiness there is no guarantee it will last. Mirror images see Padraic Mc Ginley’s (Tom) and a cheerful Jerry from Barry Mc Brien on the most important day of their lives. It’s a bit predictable for today but well played.

Louis CK has a right go on things in “The Morning After” where Wayne Davis (Horace) and Rhonda (Laura Thompson) decide to breakfast after a night of passion. It’s a lovely clash of the liberal philosophy of “live and let live” and “not in my back yard”played when humour is best used with a cutting edge.

This trio of plays is strongly and evenly cast with a wealth of talents and skilfully directed making for a night of great theatre by a talented company and great value.

AO’B

ByIDGTF

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Email Conor at pr@gaytheatre.ie