Yearly Archive 2017

ByIDGTF

Review 2017: An Unexpected Party

FESTIVAL REVIEW: An Unexpected Party

runs until Saturday 6th at the Teachers Club.

My Saturday matinee was spent at festival newcomers An Unexpected Party. This new Irish play and its author Simon Murphy says something important about suicide. It unpacks the aftermath and the blame in a manner necessary to bring a national conversation forward. To paraphrase: ‘if you don’t name it – it doesn’t exist”. We all know suicide exists in the lgbt community but it gets away with being nailed, as people don’t name it for what it is and it’s lingering legacy endures and hurts too many and too long. There is humour in this play too but despite the good playing from the female characters (best friend and sister), it definitely needed a better on-stage treatment than managed by director Brian Quinn and his cast.

Firedoor’s cast have an empathy and charm but the production is stilted, the humour unnecessarily pointed up and there is an uneveness in the casting. There are many endings suggested in the piece and I am not convinced the optimum was chosen by Murphy, though it did diffuse the subject matter to ease the audience out of the challenges posed. Perhaps Zach’s wisdom, beyond his years, could be the key to a more impactful drama, as he was rather diminshed by the camp exit having made his contribution to the plot, in a bizarre but effective role. GF

ByIDGTF

Festival Review: Bleach

Review from theartsreview.com

IDGTF: Bleach

May 3, 2017 by Chris O’Rourke

Bleach

Bleach

****

Sins of a Smalltown Boy

In his excellent comedy show, “Smart Casual,” comedian David Mills tops his list of things that have gone out of fashion, but haven’t quite realised it yet, with gay. For Mills, as for many others, gay is so over. They could have a point. Marriage equality, corporate sponsorship of Gay Pride, the Eurovision Song Contest, Graham Norton, gay has become so mainstream, it seems it practically is the mainstream. Some would even go so far as to argue that there’s no longer a need for a Gay Pride parade. So is there a need for an International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival? In light of the above, you could argue, possibly not. Yet in light of the mass shooting in Pulse Nightclub in Florida almost a year ago, and of what’s reported to be happening in Chechnya today, you might say it’s needed now more than ever. 

At its best, gay theatre has produced some hugely important works and world class writers over the centuries. There are countless precedents here, from Oscar Wilde, the original inspiration for the IDGTF, through to “Torch Song Trilogy,” “Angels in America” and our own “High Heels in Low Places,” to name but a few. Standard bearers dealing with relevant issues, be that AIDS or homophobia, as well as hugely important theatrical works in their own right. With works from homegrown acts, as well as an international contingent from England, the U.S.A., Germany, Canada, Mexico and Scotland, IDGTF certainly has high ambitions of being part of that theatrical legacy. But can the largest LGBT festival in the world deliver on those ambitions?
 

On the evidence of “Bleach” by British writer and performer, Dan Ireland-Reeves, produced by British Exist Theatre, the IDGTF is certainly off to a solid start. A one-man performance, “Bleach” weaves a dark tale of Tyler Everett, a small-town boy in the big, London smoke, who becomes a rent boy for the money, and for the sex. You have to enjoy what you do, Tyler claims, and he most certainly does, with his quicksilver knapsack full of all the essentials he needs to make the night work. Maybe it’s because he’s now a Londoner, but money is what matters most at the end of the day, and any way you can get it is okay in the end, right? Yet in the streets and penthouses of London, the havoc a rent boy subjects his body to is nothing compared to the insidious damage to his soul, sold, like his body, for whatever he can get for it. In the end, it might all be too much, living life so close to the dark it could be snuffed out in a moment. But when the road to hell is littered with not just good intentions, but bad ones too, or no intentions at all, seeking the ultimate disconnect from yourself might just be the inevitable, final disconnect to top all those that have already gone before.

With “Bleach” Dan Ireland-Reeves delivers a powerful, gripping and intelligent script that walks through the clichés, yet avoids them in the process. Yes, there’s drugs, danger, sex, and even dangerous sex, but that’s not where the darkness lies. From the outset, Tyler Everett’s darkness is a darkness of the soul, one that disconnects him morally and personally from all that he knows should matter, allowing him to do those darker things he knows he should never accept as normal. He wants it to matter, yet he’s driven to explain why it doesn’t, to rationalise it, excuse it, and himself, begging for your forgiveness and understanding, yet not really caring enough if you do understand. Throughout “Bleach,” interest is maintained in Tyler’s struggles, for the most part, though it does slacken off about the three-quarter mark for a spell when musings become ramblings, losing a little of their impact in the process. Yet once normal service resumes, Tyler’s harrowing tale becomes all the more harrowing for being utterly recognisable. The context might be that of a rent boy in extreme circumstances, but the moral and personal experience it speaks to is frighteningly familiar.

Ireland-Reeves as Tyler delivers a deceptively understated performance, offering what almost looks like raw inexperience at times, that’s utterly beguiling and wonderfully effective. His portrayal of a young man whose soul is almost extinguished, dimmed down to the point where there’s just enough light left to highlight the darkness, just enough feeling left to know he feels nothing, is always credible and engaging, showing just enough naivety and vulnerability to remind us that there is still someone here worth saving. Director Bethan Francis keeps pace moving along, delivering a production that, if it shows a little anxiousness in places, hits just the right level of intensity for the most part.

There may be something old-school-fringe about IDGTF, with its off-centre and underground venues, but sometimes that’s where precious gems are found. “Bleach” is one such gem. For IDGTF isn’t just about representing, or celebrating, gay culture through theatre, it’s also about interrogating it, questioning it, as part of the larger human experience. This “Bleach” does very, very well. Pulling no punches, “Bleach” doesn’t feel the need to rain them down on you either, and becomes even more powerful for not trying to be overtly powerful. A potential underground classic, “Bleach” could very well turn into an over ground success. Be able to say you saw it when, and go see it now.

“Bleach” by Dan Ireland-Reeves, produced by British Exist Theatre, runs at The Outpost, Capel Street, as part of The International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival until May 6th

For more information, visit IDGTF or British Exist Theatre

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ByIDGTF

Review 2017: The Paradise

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

 

The Paradise by Acting out *****

I suspected we were in for a great time at this show  when the doormen of the Paradise, Bernard and Maggie (played hilariously by Sean Denyer and Justine Reilly) were already interacting with the queue, and stamping us with ‘tramp’ or ‘slut’  (FYI: I was judged to be a tramp) on our wrists as we waited.

Presented at the festival by Dublin’s LGBT community theatre group, Acting Out, The Paradise follows a group of friends in 2015 who are meeting up for the closing night of Dublin’s oldest gay club. The return of one of them, Colm (strongly played by Paul Clarke), after a 20 year absence, leads to a flashback to 1993, as a set of events unfolds which will affect them all in different ways over the decades.

the Paradise acting out

A cast of 14 throw themselves into the action with great gusto, and there are some lovely performances, notably from Rachel Fayne as the politically correct Orla, and David Morgan as the excitable Billy. Billy suffers from an unrequited passion for Colm, which is played out in the gorgeously plaintive  song, ‘If I were A Pet Shop Boy’. The songs by Mark Power (who also plays the wonderfully old-style club owner, Eva Destruction) and Ian Henderson, of Irish electro-pop duo Eden, are brilliant, ranging from a gorgeous torch song, ‘Never Again’,  to the very catchy dance number, ‘Going Going Gone’.

The stand-out performance comes from Lorcan McElwain as Irma La Douche, Colm’s old flame. She looks stunning, has a beautiful voice and can put you down with a withering comment at 20 paces (and writer Sean Denyer supplies her with many choice ones).

Musicals are very hard to do, and hats off to director Howard Lodge and choreographer Nichola Mooney for pulling it off. For a community theatre group to put on such an ambitious project and succeed so well, is a testament to the talent in the LGBT community. Thoroughly entertaining.

Caitlin Smyth

The Paradise continues at The Complex at 9pm until May 6, with a matinee on Saturday at 4pm. Book here or pay on the door.

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ByIDGTF

Review 2017: Montparnasse

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

Montparnasse by Theatre Outré ****

This is the third visit to the festival by Canadian company Theatre Outré  and this time they present Montparnasse, created by Erin Shields, Andrea Donald and Maev Beaty and set in Paris of the roaring 20s.

The performances by the two leads, Kathy Zaborsky as the model Mags and Carolyn Ruether as the artist Amelia are excellent, with a teasing and passionate chemistry between them which builds as the play proceeds. Nick Bohle, plays several smaller roles as well as providing delightful musical accompaniment.

The play has unexpected moments of humour throughout, and a lyrical romanticism that comes out of an era that may seem surprisingly open. It presents us with an unapologetic hymn to the beauty of the female body, and the nudity that the play requires seems an essential element of the piece, which is sensitively directed by Jay Whitehead. It is very rare to see such a body-positive portrayal of women in theatre, and it is long overdue. Montparnasse makes a very considerable contribution to correcting that deficit.

Caitlin Smyth

Montparnasse continues at the Players Theatre at Trinity College at 9pm until May 6, with a matinee this coming Saturday at 2.30pm, tickets here.

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

What to see?? Check out Festival show reviews

Not sure what to see in our busy week 1 programme?

Reviews are coming in fast for acclaimed productions like Montparnasse – check out our Reviews section for more.

You can also find reviews and show updates on our Facebook page.


 

Are you a reviewer and want to review a show?  Or do you want to share a Festival review with us?

Email Conor at pr@gaytheatre.ie

ByIDGTF

Preview 2017: Celebrating LGBTQ Youth

We celebrate the challenges and triumphs of LGBTQ youth in 2017.

From sexual awakening to the Leaving Cert, making dubious decisions to standing up for their beliefs our young people are on a roller-coaster journey of discovery!

 

Why not join them from April 30th with Bank Holiday Monday matinees from 2:30pm on May 1st.

Free Seminar – April 30th @ 14:30

Love in the Trenches
Start the Festival with ‘Love in the Trenches‘ a free seminar on the lesbian & gay stories of World War I, including many young people.  Mixing drama and the words of LGBT artists of the time.

 

 

 

 

 

Main Programme

 

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Spool is an extraordinary dance / physical theatre piece involving the body ‘dancing’ with the mind of a confused young man.

 

 

 

 

Lines in the Sand

 

In Lines in the Sand, a middle-aged man ‘rescues’ a vulnerable young high-school student.  But can he be trusted?  Find out in this tense and gripping drama.

 

 

 

 

Fronting
In Fronting David is a young man adapting to life with HIV.  He tells his story as he starts to look for love.  A tale of getting back on your feet and moving on as part of a double-bill of plays.

 

 

 

 

 

Both Sides Now
Both Sides Now / Wasting Paper – two young lesbian & bi women try to figure out their identities through poetry and the music of Joni Mitchell in a special double-bill.

 

 

 

 

 

Bleach
In Bleach Tyler is a young rent-boy living a hedonistic life of men, sex and money.  But one night is going to change everything in this dark, witty adult drama.

 

 

 

 

howweglow

How We GLOW tells the real stories of LGBTQ+ youth living in New York.  Features with a series of shorts about being LGBT in America ‘Love Trumps Everything’.

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ByIDGTF

Preview: Celebrating Female Voices in Theatre

IDGTF is proud to provide a platform to showcase works by women and about women, with a particularly diverse and fascinating programme of works in 2017.

Following on from our general theme of exploring and celebrating identity, the women in these works are discovering who they are – from passion to deep friendship, from artists to criminals, from the voices of young women in modern New York to love in 1920’s Paris.

Lesbian, bi, trans, straight, questioning and from around the world … these women have powerful stories to tell.

Week 1 – Mon 1 to Sat 6 May

montparnassecanvasMontparnasse – A tale of love and lust in the bohemian circles of 1920’s Paris.  Two Canadian women inspire artists as live art models through their naked beauty and spirit of adventure.

 

 

 

both_sides_now_trailerBoth Sides Now / Wasting Paper – a double-bill about young women exploring who they are through art.

In Both Sides Now Lydia tries to figure out her life and sexuality armed with some paper, an old guitar and the music of Joni Mitchell.

 

 

wasting_paperLeaving Cert year can be crazy for anyone, but for Casey it was the year that changed her life.  Her poetry going viral online was only the start.  Find out in Wasting Paper.

 

 

 

 

the-possibleThe Possible / Strange Fruit / The Morning After is a ‘ménage à trois’ of short plays featuring a wedding, a one-night stand and an affair.  In The Possible one women takes drastic action to win over another… But has her scheming gone a bit too far?

 

 

 

Week 2 – Mon 7 to Sat 13 May

margomacdonald_theelephantgirlsThe Elephant Girls is the extraordinary true story of an all-female gang in Victorian London.  Gang-member Maggie sits down in a London pub to tell the whole story – desire, violence and an amazing slice of hidden history.  Don’t miss this critically-acclaimed gem.

 

 

 

calamity_janehowweglowLove Trumps Everything / How We Glow gives you four pieces that explore the experiences of LGBTQ+ women and young people in America.

Love Trumps Everything is a series of short plays celebrating a pioneering woman who dared to break gender norms, the path to legally marry and dating in heaving.

How We Glow brings the real stories of LGBTQ New York teenagers to the stage – their identities, labels and their communities.

 

… and don’t miss Queers – the story of LGBTQ Londoners, including Carol – a teacher during the anti-gay ‘Section 28’ era and Sapphire – a proud trans woman.

ByIDGTF

Show Previews

Not sure what to see?  Check out our previews of 2017 shows… love, desire, heart-break, incredible real-life stories and glimpses into hidden histories.

Keep watching our programme previews to find out more.

ByIDGTF

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