Author Archive IDGTF


The Reviews for Week One Are Coming in!

The 16th International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival has started with a bang!

The reviews for some of our shows are pouring in, and we couldn’t be happier with them!

You can read all the reviews here:

Borderline A**hole, by Julie Gieseke

Read all reviews for Borderline A**hole here.

Revolting Women – A Rebel Cabaret, by Sonya Mulligan

Read all reviews for Revolting Women – A Rebel Cabaret here.

I See You, Tom Kennedy, by Tom Noone

Read all reviews for I See You, Tom Kennedy here.

The Baby Monitor, by Antonio Miniño & David Stallings

Read all reviews for The Baby Monitor here.

A Southern Fairytale, by Ty Autry / The Number, by Simon Murphy

Read all reviews for A Southern Fairytale here.

Read all reviews for The Number here.

Read all reviews for the double bill here.

Party Boy, by Brian Merriman

Read all reviews for Party Boy here.

Schlong Song, by Woody Schticks

Read all reviews for Schlong Song here.


Festival Review 2019: Party Boy

Party Boy – Gay Theatre Festival – Review

Patrick, a young gay Irish man, is the star of Brian Merriman’s play “Party Boy”. Presented in the small, intimate space of the Players Theatre in Trinity College, the play takes the audience on a riveting journey through Patrick’s young life: and it’s all based on a true story.

The boy meets the scary spectre of homophobia from a very young age, spending the later years of his childhood exploring his sexuality in his first same-sex encounters. But soon Patrick’s heritage as a Catholic, gay, Irish boy comes knocking, and he finds himself presenting himself as straight. Episodes of traumatic bullying experiences in a Catholic school and his constant being harassed as “queer” force him into the closet.

Through it all, and able to see through the darkest of closets, stands Patrick’s mother. A no-nonsense strong woman, always available to listen to her young son’s needs, Maria Blaney brings on stage the Irish mammy we all wish we had.

Together with Colin Malone, the two actors provide great, entertaining support to Dave Flynn, taking on many different characters created with a simple prop or costume change, providing snippets into the rolling film of young Patrick’s life.

From Ireland to Australia and then back again: the sex is getting wilder and more available, his body is getting him a long way and he is riding the wave of the good life. But behind the flash and the –very in-your-face – live sex shows, a rot is starting to spread; drugs, alcohol and medicated sex. Gay men dying off like flies. Go-go boys dancing provocatively. Young Patrick’s life gives us all, especially for those who weren’t there to see it for themselves, an insight into what it meant to be gay in the early 2000s, and how important it is to be supported by your loved ones.

Patrick is one of the few that survived or avoided abusive relationships, AIDS, drug overdoses and falling into a desensitised and medicated life because of his life-buoy, his mother.

In an Ireland where homophobia still lurks on the streets, Patrick’s proud tale of his uninhibited life between sex, drugs and relentless loves is a cautionary tale (not to be taken too seriously!) for a young audience, a trip down memory lane for middle aged ones, and a great insight into what it means to be gay, to be sharing the life of the underground gay community and to instruct us all how it is, sometimes, good to just be a party boy.

Read the full article by Letizia Delmastro for No More Workhorse here.

An exuberant and chilling hurricane of a play

It’s all about the sex.
Except of course, it isn’t. Not really.

There is plenty of sex — don’t get me wrong. But Brian Merriman’s kaleidascopic 75-minute epic, “Party Boy,” is a more than just a peep show into the contemporary world of the gay male porn industry, with all of its glamour, heartache, and lethal drug scene.

It’s also a whirlwind journey through some of modern Ireland’s most complicated social issues, beginning with the historically repressive influence of the Catholic Church on, well, everybody, continuing on through the heady and tumultuous years of the Celtic Tiger, and venturing into Ireland’s vaguely uncertain future as the EU re-invents itself and the island struggles with related complexities arising from immigration, patchy economic stability, rapid social change, and escalating internationalism.

All of which sounds a whole lot more cerebral than “Party Boy” feels when you’re in the audience, completely immersed in the rapid-fire action and the glittering dialogue. Everything about this piece pulls you into it, from the first moment the young and beautiful protagonist, “Patrick,” arrives on stage as a winsome, winning pre-teen gay, to the final moments when he thrashes and flails against that most unrelenting of enemies of the club scene — the aging process. Along the way, we watch him reel from one lover to the next, from one social media “triumph” to another, and from one excruciatingly public sex act to even more graphic performances for even larger audiences. All the while convincing himself that this is what “success” looks like, feels like, in the newly liberated gay scene, despite the viciously oppressive nature of the porn industry and the spiraling mortality rates it provokes among its victims…who are also its biggest stars.

Actually, such is the artistry with which “Party Boy” is crafted that we don’t just watch Patrick as he soars towards his own destruction, so much as we actually join him on that gruesome but glossy trajectory. Every aspect of the dramatic arts is maximized to pull the viewer into Patrick’s world, as dangerously exotic as that world might be. A simple but effective set design and a soundtrack so perfect that, like a good football referee, it keeps the game going without calling overdue attention to itself, combine with creative blocking and almost acrobatic wardrobe changes that enable the two “supporting” players to portray a multitude of characters, some of which have a fleeting presence in Patrick’s life and others of whom are are the absolute bedrock without which it simply wouldn’t be possible. Casting is pitch-perfect, with a palpable rapport among the three players and deft directing encouraging award-worthy performances from each of them.

The principle bedrock presence is Patrick’s single-parent mother, played with artistry, compassion, and insight by Maria Blaney, who also “doubles” as the other female characters in the piece and, with great aplomb in one unforgettable scene, as a gay male stripper, which would surely qualify her for a “Good Sport Award” if the Festival had one. Like her two on-stage colleagues, Blaney repeatedly turns on a dime as she switches from one character and one time period to another, never missing a beat and managing to inhabit each of these various persona with equal ‘believability’ as they literally tumble down upon her.

Merriman is known for his commitment to writing parts for women that illustrate their pivotal role in Irish history and culture, even when that history and culture conspire to ‘invisiblise’ them, and “Party Boy” is no exception. But the on-stage role of “Patrick’s mother” is more than just the narrative glue that helps hold the play together in the same way that the real Patrick’s mother held his life. Blaney takes the opportunity presented by the figure of the relatively traditional Irish mother, who doesn’t understand her gay son but loves him with a desperate generosity, and runs with it. She runs far and fast, and brings the audience along with her to a new understanding of what “love” can look like.

By the time we’re halfway through the play, we’ve bought into her unconventional approach to keeping her son alive while others are falling all around him, despite what it costs her, personally, in social cachet and actual money. As “Gay Lib” caught hold and the drug use within club culture proliferated, there must have been thousands of mothers all over Ireland, faced with similar dilemmas and given no resources for dealing with them. Patrick’s mother emerges as the only real hero in this tale, with a quiet kind of valiance that achieves its goal without fanfare or joy.

Colin Malone turns in an equally stunning set of performances as an entire host of male characters populating Patrick’s life, a range of personae that includes his childhood play-mates, his lumpishly terrifying father, multiple lovers, and at least one good friend and potential life partner, whose devotion to the aging Patrick occasions the single most chilling line in the entire play. Malone is, quite literally, astonishing in his range and elasticity, moving from one persona to another with effortless ease and absolute authenticity. He is also quite a physical actor, adept at translating interior states into observable styling as well as impeccably accurate dramatic rendering, equally believable across a panapoly of ages, ethnicities, sexuality, and class. The directorial vision for this production of “Party Boy” requires huge athleticism from all of its cast members, but perhaps Malone most of all, since he must, literally, spin among stage persona as often as Blaney, but with more radical costume changes and often more theatrical phsyicality associated with them.

For instance, he plays a number of Patrick’s sex partners, some of whom are in it for the money more than for the pleasure and/or the glory of sleeping with Ireland’s most sought-after prince of gay go-go. This often requires him to take the lead in carefully choreographed sex scenes that cross classic porn rituals with kabuki-like staging, a physically taxing undertaking if ever there was one. Malone handles this, and more, with high style and convincing detail, keeping the show moving along its interstellar orbit at warp speed.

Dave Flynn’s rendition of the ‘party boy’ himself is, quite simply, electrifying. From the moment he walks onstage to the minute after the metaphoric curtain falls, he is a high-energy orb of pure visual delight. The man literally never stands still; even when he’s standing front and centre to the audience, pulling us into the next chapter of his life with another dense, rich monologue, he is bouncing slightly on the balls of his feet. “Patrick” is a man in motion just as much as his life is a hurricane of blurred faces, bad drugs, disposable friends and nameless yearning, in which only the sex itself stands out as memorable and momentarily real, until even that begins to falter.

Although, unlike his colleagues, Flynn inhabits only a single character throughout the course of the play, he still has to pivot in and out of radically different versions of that character, as Patrick grows from boy to man and then begins his odyssey deep into the dark life of commercial sex. He does this well and gracefully, never dropping a beat or missing a note as he whirls from one dizzying episode to another, always managing to bring us, the whip-lashed audience, along with him. It’s an almost impossible piece of stagecraft — and part of what makes this play a true stand-out in contemporary Irish theatre, as well as in gay drama, per se.

But Patrick’s story is not one great headlong scramble towards disaster. What really puts the stamp of  ‘unforget-ability’ on Flynn’s performance is the reckless joy with which he imbues his existentially doomed lead character. Patrick certainly faces some somber moments, and some horrifying ones, too. He is not impervious to the ‘lethality’ of the world in which he lives, and wants to dominate. He has a sense of “at what price stardom?” but he is also a flighty kind of pragmatist in that he seizes the opportunities of the moment without much thought for their eventual, cumulative impact over the full course of his life. He can also be carelessly ruthless, with his own body as well as with other people’s hearts. But as Flynn plays him, Patrick is also an enormously likeable character, a boy who never really grows into a man, despite having never really been a child in the first place. There is a fierce joy in him, a reckless but compelling exuberance, which makes his descent into self-destruction all the more crushing.

In some ways, although it takes place a bit later on the gay history timeline, Patrick’s story epitomizes the intoxicating sense of freedom that flooded gay communities everywhere during the early 1980’s, before AIDS and after the first wave of (relative) social tolerance began working its way into mainstream societies. Although Patrick’s personal story is the extreme version of that phenomenon, Flynn still harvests that soaring sense of collective identity and the eruptive glee of finally having places to go where one’s sexual self need not be strangled into silence in order to preserve one’s basic social viability. There’s a lot of backstory to “Party Boy,” and more to the hedonism of club culture than immediately meets the eye. Flynn’s nimble and sympathetic performance makes no excuses for the ravages that culture could inflict, but it also illuminates the complexities of it in rich and socially crucial ways.

At the end of the day, “Party Boy” is a tour-de-force that captures life on the hard-core club circuit with almost ethnographic accuracy, right down to weaving “tricks of the trade” and specialized lingo into the fast-moving main narrative. It is also ambitious in scope, sweeping outwards from Dublin to illustrate the global network in which Ireland is only one small part. I will never walk through an international airport again without wondering who, among my fellow passengers — male and female — might leave the Arrivals Hall only to sink into the grimy glitz of the international sex trade, in which even its stars are, in the long run, the bottom rung of the porn industry’s cannabalistic food chain. Merriman and the cast and crew of “Party Boy” have succeeded in creating that unicorn of the dramatic arts…a play that entertains, engages, and educates the audience by turns and sometimes simultaneously, and that changes how those viewers will forever see the world outside of the theatre walls.


Read the full article by Kerric Harvey on our Facebook page.


Festival Review 2019: A Southern Fairytale / The Number

A Southern Fairytale/The Number, Teachers Club Studio until Saturday May 11th. There is a synergy between these two plays.

One (The Number) is set in Limerick in the 1990s and the other in rural Georgia two decades later. Similar issues, different journeys and better outcomes. Simon Murphy has a nice, evocative text about an emerging young gay student in Limerick in 1992/3. His shy deliberate performance relays in a gentle measured way the traumas of coming out in an alien culture. It is slowly delivered with much sincerity. It reminds one of the gentle souls caught up in a hostile Irish society that allowed no reference points and recalls how many struggled without ever dialing “the number” bravely supplied by the few out volunteers at that time. Roll energetically into the 21st century, and we meet the charming nerd that is Alex (Ty Autry). He is engaging, intelligent, aware and a Christian – a Southern version. US Christianity is almost as new as broadband! So many versions are plied, modified and enforced in the name of a universal God with very few discernible attributes. It’s an industry. The professed certainty is that his followers know exactly God’s intentions at all times! To present that “Christian” message in a county whose experience of such grotesque manifestations by a belief system which has damaged so many, is brave, new and important. The energetic and empathetic delivery helps to persuade at times but will it convince? Throw in conversion therapy, deluded characters, and a wholly dysfunctional family and you discover a range of chapters rarely seen in Fairytales. Alex goes through a lot, to introduce a character at the end as his best friend now, either to ensure the piece resolves is a truly Christian thing. Anyone who does to a child what that person did is no one’s best friend. Perhaps they have learned but “forgive and remember”. Ty Autry is packing them in with a capacity audience that wants to hear his journey. It is a finely executed, engaging performance that might well resonate in an Irish setting, long jaundiced by the hypocrisy of those who speak in God’s name. It’s a good double bill. It’s worth reflecting on both works later – have times changed that much? Does every fairytale guarantee a happy ever after? One thing has without a doubt- you can’t keep a bright kid down!

Read the full article by GF on our Facebook page.


Festival Review 2019: The Baby Monitor

‘A Sensitive And Timely Play’: The Baby Monitor At International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival

‘The Baby Monitor’ asks courageous questions about gay parenting, race and discrimination from loved ones – and it offers no easy answers.

“Stallings’ writing combines with Jones’ performance to ensure we cannot empathise with one without understanding the other”.

The Baby Monitor, written by David Stallings and directed by Antonio Miniño, has travelled to Ireland from New York. Given the current anxieties in this country around same-sex parenting, though, its themes feel alarmingly close to home.The play opens with gay fathers Damon and Phillip enduring a tense visit from Damon’s cousin Claire, a woman whose support for their new family only goes so far. As talk about politics is clumsily avoided and awkward comments on Phillip’s Dominican heritage stack up, we learn that – despite her genuine love for her cousin and her insistence that she supports gay rights – Claire has not entirely escaped the influence of the conservative family in which herself and Damon were raised.

Racked by grief over her own infertility, she allows herself to doubt the validity of her cousin’s family – and when a photo in Damon’s new family album exacerbates her anxieties about gay parenting, the results spiral out of control.

Stallings and Miniño, a married couple in real life, play the lead roles of Damon and Phillip. They are joined by a small cast portraying characters all bound by familial ties of one sort or another – Amanda Jones as Claire, Leo Goodman as her husband Josh, Greta Quispe as surrogate and nanny Soledad, and Mel House as egg donor Shelly. And this tight-knit cast really do feel like a family, each performance echoing and bouncing off the others with a skill that makes the relationships depicted appear hauntingly real.

The minimal set features four chairs and little else, besides a hanging line of children’s colouring pages painted by children in a real New York pre-school. The authenticity of this detail, noted in the play’s programme, sets the tone for a performance that feels unfailingly authentic.

No character in The Baby Monitor is reduced to a stereotype or a figurehead representing his or her worldview. Indeed, Damon and Phillip are far from idealised representatives of same-sex parenting. We realise, as the play progresses, that they have unwittingly placed their friend and surrogate Soledad in a position she finds emotionally unbearable. A Dominican song concerning a woman who gives away a child, recurring near the play’s conclusion, bears witness to the unmet needs of the woman who carried Damon and Phillip’s baby.

On a more mundane level, we see Damon release the anxiety he shares with his cousin in sometimes uncomfortable outbursts – at one point shouting at Soledad in front of company for forgetting not to buy a product on his personal (extensive) boycott list.

Two men standing beside each other holding hands. A woman behind them in the distance looking at them. This is a moment from the show The Baby Monitor

People connect over more than their political views, the play emphasises, but an inherited political bias can be enough to tear any connection apart. In one powerful scene, Damon is asked why he has failed to cut his dangerously homophobic cousin out of his life. The answer is simple: he has already cut out aunts, uncles and cousins by the dozen.

“I’m tired of telling people ‘Your views hurt me. Get out,’” Damon says, and his words resonate throughout this sensitive and timely play. Some in the LGBT+ community who have suffered discrimination from loved ones still love who have discriminated against them. We try to give people second chances, but it puts our safety at risk – and The Baby Monitor shows that, when we ask ourselves whether we should stop trying, there’s sometimes no easy answer.

Read the full article by Cassia Gaden Gilmartin in GCN here.

The Baby Monitor, Teachers Club, 36 Parnell Square, Dublin 2. This is a strong well presented piece of challenging theatre.

It’s core theme is judgement and it challenges the audience to do the same. Playwright David Stallings (Damon) has crafted some plausible characters with unpleasant attributes that reflect the shift in the values that were once the engine of “the land of the free”. Philip and Damon have a two year old son Caleb by a surrogate and their eclectic circle of friends form a strange and competitive family network. This is where judgement comes into play. The people, the parents bring into the boys life are motivationally suspect and emotionally damaged. Why do they do that? There is a self righteous neurosis running throughout the story, beautifully portrayed by Amanda Jones as Claire and Greta Quispe as Soledad the Nanny. Leo Goodman as Josh has a decency Caleb needs in his life and I hope he gets many an opportunity to throw a ball with him. Mel House (Shelley) has fire and a spirit Caleb will need to get through life and to survive this household. It’s a tale that resorts to cliche at times to evoke empathy but it doesn’t conceal the cracks in this fractured and ruthless family network. There are serious issues such as surrogacy, faith, values, racism and love all twisted up in a victimhood that really raises an eyebrow. We don’t see the argument used to restore justice, we never encounter the environment that gives us confidence justice will prevail. It’s all about the adults when it really should be about the child. Directed by Antonio Minino with considerable flow, this challenging play raises many contemporary issues, many unresolved legalities of “legitimate parenthood” and demands that judgement prevails. The risk to Caleb in this family is presented as sexual orientation – for me it was never that. It is the risk presented by damaged parents and very poor (though limited by circumstances) extended family choices. There is no warmth in that home. There is defence of being, emotional baggage in abundance, assertion of rights, and relentless adult selfishness. It left me gasping at dysfunction, not caused by orientation, but by personalities that were lacking in so many ways. This is a powerful play about damaged people in fraught circumstances. There were many fine performances, especially amongst the female actors. At times angst and self pity replaced emotion and empathy, as the characters drawn demanded. As an audience we wanted to have our say in the face of such selfishness. I stood up at the end. I worry for Caleb still. Go see it!

Read the full article by GF on our Facebook page.


Festival Review 2019: I See You, Tom Kennedy

In the absence of any mainstream media reviews of our innovative work – we continue our tradition of inviting independent theatrically qualified reviewers to appraise the plays in the Festival.We will not be erased or silenced.

“I See You, Tom Kennedy” The Teachers Club,36 Parnell Square, nightly at 7.30pm

“Endings are always hard, especially when they don’t actually happen. A bad marriage, a medical catastrophe, an unpaid parking ticket, a root canal that seems like the reinvention of Purgatory, or a crisis of consciousness. Anything that goes on too long takes on a life of its own, usually to the detriment of everyone involved. It’s difficult, sometimes agonizing, to have the action stop before the story is over. Especially if it’s some one else’s story in which we played a pivotal role without even knowing it.

The protagonist in “Tom Kennedy” finds himself suffering from exactly this type of angst. He did something wrong, very early in his Garda career, something that seemed inconsequential at the time, but which ruined a man’s life. And now, 44 years later, he wants to talk about it. He wants to apologise. The Big Question, of course, is….Why?

And the Even Bigger Question is: Does he have a right to do so, or does his search for forgiveness only reinforce the kind of privilegde that let him inflict that long-ago damage in the first place?
“I See You, Tom Kennedy” is a big little play. It deals with issues both universal and specific, managing to fit a robust dose of modern psychology and moral complexity into an engaging and sophisticated 75 minutes. It must have been a difficult play to put on its feet, since much of the escalating tension is built around awkward silences and conversational false starts, both of which can be directorial nightmares. But “Tom Kennedy” succeeds beautifully in this, with pitch perfect timing in all the key places and a creative set design that maximizes the black box experience in an elegant and innovative way.

Set design, directing, blocking, and acting all speak to the “plus” side of the ledger in ways that enrich a short piece tackling massive issues. The chemistry between the penitent officer and his Garda daughter is especially vibrant, although all three characters are skillfully acted with commitment and professionalism. Solid performances by Tom Noone, Tom McGrath, and Clodagh Whelan clearly flourish under Siobhan Duggan’s deft directing, bringing into focus crucial questions about the relationship between past and present as a post-decriminalization Ireland tries to envision the future. If the script occasionally slides a bit towards glib solutions, it is still to be lauded for raising delicate but fundamental questions.

Production company Fior Sceal (“True Story” in Irish) has as part of its mission a desire to build theatre around true events and which addresses real issues. If “I See You, Tom Kennedy” is any indication of how the approach this, then Fior Sceal is a company to watch, especially in a social moment when the questions we think to ask are almost more important than “answers” we think we know.

Read the full article by KH on our Facebook page.


Festival Review 2019: Revolting Women

“I Remain A Rebel, Unconverted And Unconvertible”: Revolting Women At International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival

Running every night at 9pm until Saturday, 11 May as part of the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, Revolting Women is an honest look at Ireland’s rebel heroines.

In the wake of what have been massive strides taken for Irish women, from the historic win for repeal, to the ‘I believe her’ movement, and the slow unveiling of the Magdeline atrocities, constitutive of the reality of the oppressive church-state hybrid, Revolting Women – A Rebel Cabaret chronologically documents the women’s experience of Irish society from the 1916 Easter Rising in a vulnerable, buoyant collection of performances.

A mixed-media production, the all-female cast, or self-titled ‘rebel sisters’ use song, dance, film, and drama to tell the stories of Irish women, from prominent revolutionary figures such as Countess Markievicz, to everyday ‘superheroes’, highlighting both the struggle endured by Irish women, as well as their unfaltering strength in the face of adversity.

Promo for Revolting Women at the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival featuring a young woman leaning against a wall holding a coffee cup

Donned in anachronistic dress and performing on a near-bare stage lit by a sole lamp in the corner, the rebel sisters filled the quiet, dark room with illuminating anecdotes, emotive renditions, and calls to action, emphasising the importance of those who came before us as integral to building a future for those who will follow.

Centred around the theme of rebellion, every piece endeavoured to tell a woman’s story, be it of the sex-workers struggle in an Ireland where colonial power had been replaced by church power, the LGBT+ experience told through “no star lesbian”, beautifully sung by BeRn, or a poignant dance piece of a working-class maid – the cabaret is a tribute to women who stood against the status quo and paved the way for the liberation we both enjoy and continue to seek, as ardently stated in one of the pieces: “I remain a rebel, unconverted and unconvertible”.

Drawing on heartstrings, inspiring giggles and raising fists, Revolting Women – A Rebel Cabaret is an honest production and a testament to the inextricable link between art and politics. 

Read the full article by Isidora Durán Stewart in GCN here.

Revolting Women – A Rebel Cabaret – International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival

If ever a show did what it says on the tin it’s this one. It’s a celebration of 100 years of female rebellion and the fight for equal rights and a group of performers tell stories of protest and passion through music, dance, film and drama. Starting with a song called Grace Gifford about the wife of James Connolly from singer/songwriter BeRn the scene is set for an uplifting evening of female empowerment. Alongside the music there are short dramas about Countess Markievicz and the women of the Monto back in the day, inspired dance performances and a couple of thought-provoking videos from producer Sonya Mulligan.

The stage is draped with gold curtains, a kitsch lamp and fairy lights and is reminiscent of a turn of the century cabaret club. Each thread works as a standalone piece and audience members will all no doubt have their favourites. The songs are infuriatingly catchy although they are not all upbeat. Magdalene Laundry blues, in particular, is extremely poignant. A film clip called Funbags and Fannys drew many laughs while Yvonne Kavanagh’s three-part tune Struggling Woman, threaded throughout the work, has the audience clapping along before building to the finale where all of the cast and creatives take to the stage for the last chorus.

This really is a celebration of the feisty women who fought for equality as well as a nod to those who still continue to push for change. Unsurprisingly, the audience was predominately female although the men seemed to enjoy it also. I do wonder what a male reviewer would have made of it though.

My one bugbear was that some of the segues felt a bit clunky. However, this could simply be down to the restrictions of the venue. Despite this it was refreshing to see a proper cabaret performed with such passion.

Despite the fact that it celebrates struggle this is an extremely uplifting show and a wonderful tribute to some remarkable women. You don’t have to be a feminist to appreciate this. It is a wonderful evening’s entertainment featuring some very talented ladies that would even warm the cockles of Molly Malone herself.

Read the full article by Fran Winston on No More Workhorse here.


Festival Review 2019: Borderline A**hole

‘True Integrity In The Exploration Of Love And Loss’: Borderline A**hole At International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival

Julie Gieseke has brought her solo show Borderline A**hole to the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival from the “lesbian capital of the world”.

After years of chasing unavailable women, Julie found her ideal girlfriend. She’s really into Julie. Miracle: This doesn’t make Julie want to run. The only trouble is they can’t agree on one thing – that Julie is the problem. Is Julie an asshole or a borderline? Julie can’t tell.

As part of this year’s International Gay Theatre Festival, the charismatic and curious Julie Gieseke has brought her solo show Borderline A**hole to the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival from the “lesbian capital of the world”, San Francisco.

It is hard to believe that Gieseke only began writing for stage 8 years ago when she took a solo performance workshop to get over her fear of public speaking. Through the workshop, she discovered that she actually loved performing her own writing.

She has gained an avid and loyal following for her no-holds-barred, courageous authenticity which we are treated to en masse in Borderline A**hole.

Borderline A**hole press shot featuring JULIE GIESEKE
Julie Gieseke

Julie brings us on her journey of meeting “the one” and along the way, the story unearths many great human truths performed wonderfully through layers of humour, sadness, curiosity and hope.

There is true integrity in the story’s exploration of love and loss that will resonate with many. This is due in no small part to Julie’s ability to make you feel like your talking to an old friend. The poetic rhythm and ease in which she tells the story with only the addition of two stools and lighting transport you to the situations she describes.

Her use of body language to embody the characters, evoke an emotion and create a situation is a real testament to Julie’s talent for storytelling.

Borderline A**hole is a time capsule of an emotional journey exploring mental health, grief and relationships. Do not miss the opportunity to see this five-star performance.

Read the full article by Katie Donohoe in GCN here.

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Borderline A**hole, Ireland Institute, 27 Pearse Street, Dublin 2 until Saturday 11th.

Julie Gieseke is an American storyteller of charm, insight, wit and wisdom. She lulls the audience into a false comfort with her mellow tones and gentle pace, but her observational skills are razor sharp. Julie is questioning. She holds herself responsible for her lack of a date and walks on eggshells to achieve her goal putting herself second. Her observations on her dating pool are wonderfully colorful and brutally honest. Quite easily, she could turn the piece into an angry rant against the stereotype but she is too clever for that, as she lays out all types for us to rant about if we choose to do. As with most reality TV or contemporary American storytelling, illness or tragedy is used to create empathy. Gieseke’s skills as a storyteller don’t need that but she dips in anyway. We sail through the expensive world of therapy until she is finally challenged about having a borderline personality disorder. Here our artist spares us the $6000 dollars and six months of sessions by condensing in a wonderful way, the therapy process into a few minutes of finely tuned theatre. Yes, amongst all the characters we meet, one does have a personality disorder. It’s not a borderline case either and spoiler alert – I didn’t think it was Julie – perhaps neither will you. An hour of warm womanly wisdom, cleverly told by an actor with a charming presence.

Read the full article by AO’B on our Facebook page.

Borderline A**hole – International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival – Review

Everyone has a type, or so we think. Julie was no different. She knew what kind of woman she liked and was so determined to find her, she had even employed a lesbian dating coach. But then she meets her dream woman who is nothing like what she envisaged for all these years. The only problem is that she thinks Julie may be borderline (suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder for those not in the know)  and isn’t prepared to be with her until she seeks help for her issues. Cue a one-hour journey through one woman’s struggle with her sense of self and her mental health all while dealing with her mother’s terminal illness an imminent demise.

Written and performed by Julie Gieseke this is a very genuine and moving piece. It is more like sitting listening to a friend lament their lack of dating success than a show. Admittedly, the Ireland Centre is an intimate venue but you get the impression that Gieseke could make an audience feel like that no matter how large the space was. It is almost conspiratorial – like you are being let in on a secret.

The writing is witty and poignant. When she talks about her mother you feel the genuine affection emanating from her. Her escapades with the dating coach are hilarious and her experiences in group therapy make for plenty of comedic moments. She has paced this well. It coasts along running the gamut of emotion. Throughout, Gieseke is engaging and genuine.

The lighting design is simple and effective. It doesn’t distract from one woman telling her story. The stage is sparse other than two stools which Gieseke utilises as props becoming everything from a sports car to luggage to the table in a fancy restaurant. While this mainly works there were one or two occasions where I found the constant playing with the stools somewhat distracting. It almost took me out of the story. Gieseke has enough presence and physicality not to have to rely so heavily on props.

You often look at one person shows and imagine how they would be if you expanded the world of the play and employed a few more actors but in this case it is difficult to imagine anyone other than Gieseke sharing this intimate story.

Extremely compelling, it is difficult to believe that Gieseke is only writing and performing for eight years. It is surprisingly endearing and warm, this doesn’t feel like an hour and when it ends you will find yourself wanting to know more.

Read the full article by Fran Winston for No More Workhorse here.


Show Ticket Availability Update

You can generally buy tickets at the door for Festival performances.  However we strongly recommend pre-booking for Friday & Saturday evening shows.

Note the ticket status for the following shows:


Please arrive on time if pre-booked.  There are unlikely to be any tickets available at the venue:

  • Monastic: Friday 17 @ 19:30
  • All I See Is You: Friday 17 @ 19:30


The following performances still have some tickets available but are selling well and may sell out.  We would suggest arriving early as seating is unallocated.  Pre-booking recommended if possible but tickets still available at the venue.

  • Monastic: Thursday 16 @ 19:30


Last updated: 16/5/19 @ 4pm


Join us at our Nightly Festival Club

Mingle with audience, performers and volunteers at our rotating, free, nightly Festival Club.  The Festival Club starts around 10pm as our 9pm shows close until late .

For both weeks of the Festival the club nights are:

Tuesday: Street 66, Parliament St

Wednesday: The George, Sth Great George’s St.

Thursday: Pantibar, Capel St.

Friday: Street 66

Saturday: The Teachers’ Club, followed by The George until late!

(Monday is a party to welcome our participants to Dublin)

Free  entry to the George if you show your ticket or Festival pass any evening until May 19.

Check out the locations here.


Bank Holiday Monday Matinees

To celebrate the opening of Festival 2019 we have €10 Monday matinees of all our week 1 shows at 2:30pm / 4pm.

Comedy, drama, cabaret, love, scandal and intimate stories await.

Check out our week 1 shows & matinees here.

Can’t see our matinees?  Don’t worry – we have more matinees on Saturday.



Our Box Office in Street 66 is open now!

Our physical box office in Street 66, 33 Parliament Street is now open Mon-Sat April 29 – May 18, 12noon-3pm.

Feel free to drop in a get information on the Festival programme or bookings to or to book tickets by cash or card.

You can also phone the box office at +353 89 219 6898 during box office hours.
Click here for more information.

If you can’t make it to the box office, don’t worry:


Download our 2019 Brochure

Our 2019 Programme has been launched.  You can download a printable copy of our brochure here.

You can also view the programme online and buy tickets 24/7 here.

Brochures will be available throughout Dublin city centre and selected other areas from this week onwards.

You will also be able to pick them up from our venues and our up-coming Box Office at Street 66.


Press Release: Minister Josepha Madigan TD to Launch 16th Annual International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival

Minister Josepha Madigan TD to Launch 16th Annual International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival

‘16th International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival Returns’

The 16th International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, Ireland’s most exciting and diverse theatre festival returns to the capital from May 6th to 19th, kicking off the summer season with 21 world class performances from the four corners of the world, across 5 Stages for two glorious weeks this May.

The festival, the largest LGBT+ theatre festival in the world which will be launched tomorrow (16th April) at 6pm in City Assembly House by the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan, brings critically acclaimed productions from the UK, USA, Canada, Ecuador, South Africa and Australia, as well as home-grown talent to Dublin’s stages for this jam-packed two week long event.

Minister Madigan said “I’m delighted to lend my support to the launch of this wonderfully diverse festival. The continued excellence and professionalism shown year on year has ensured the growth of this festival from humble beginnings in 2004 to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Oscar Wilde. The fact that these performances can take place in an ever more inclusive Ireland is something that should be celebrated just as enthusiastically. We have come such a long way for the better in this regard.”

The festival, which is in its 16th year has gone from strength to strength, drawing audiences and performers from all over the world to Dublin annually, even weathering the financial cutbacks and darkest days of the financial crisis.

Ms Madigan continued “Through the very financially straightened times from 2008 onwards when funding of the arts suffered severe cutbacks, the internationally famous event that we know today provided a beacon of hope when many festivals and events fell by the wayside. It is indeed testament to the fantastic work of Brian and his team, that performers from as far afield as the United Kingdom, from USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia and of course from Ireland, will perform to packed houses in venues throughout the city from May 6th to 19th.”

This years programme includes a ‘Broadway World Best Actor Award Winner’, a ‘GLOBE Artist of the Year Winner’, a ‘UK National Octagon Prizewinner’, a ‘2019 Fleur Du Cap Best Performance by an Ensemble Nominee’, many other critically acclaimed performers and theatre pieces as well as emerging writers and performers.

Upon launching the festival Brian Merriman festival director said

“I am very grateful for the Minister’s presence today and that of our first supporter and patron Senator David Norris and longtime supporter Senator Jerry Buttimer and other Oireachtas colleagues. To live in a society where diversity is embraced and encouraged is a privilege many of our LGBT+ artists abroad do not enjoy. To identify that need and to place Dublin at the centre of welcoming diverse artists and writers has, in the absence of sustainable resources, been the key to the longevity and relevance of the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival since 2004.”

“Artists at home identify this Festival as being one open to new voices. We are. Artists abroad make huge sacrifices to tell their stories here. Our audiences understand the art form and are open to theatre holding a truthful mirror up to society as we know and live it today. The topics are historic and contemporary. They are shared by other sections of society and all are welcome in our festival.” 

“The Me Too experience not only impacts on women but on gay actors too, drug abuse and chemsex is a reality of life today. Parenting, masculinity, relationships and how to hold onto them, changing times in the Gardai and in seminaries all feature in our theatrical discussion. The still almost silence on the age of AIDS and modern HIV diagnosis is challenged as is the experience of secrets in the past. The hidden  lives of heroic Irish women are among the dark and very funny characters you will encounter. There are stories of criminalisation, love, growing up in Ireland or the Deep South, from talented and award winning artists waiting to take to our small stages.”

“Do something different this year – see these wonderful plays – they complete the theatrical conversation that informs and shapes the contribution of the arts to a modern society.”   



Media contact: Sean Hegarty PR Director 

For more information and to purchase tickets visit


Artistic Director Brian Merriman introduces our 2019 programme

Founder & Artistic Director of IDGTF, Brian Merriman introduces the 2019 programme:

Welcome to our “sweet 16th!”

We are honoured to present twenty one plays in four city centre venues from Ireland, UK, USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia this year.

We are in awe of the work of these innovative writers and companies who choose our festival as one of the world’s best spaces for LGBT+ theatre to thrive and to be appreciated.

What is even more encouraging is that we are not without choice. Almost 100 companies were in contact this year and had we more resources and support to offer, they could have joined us too.
We are delighted to welcome new Irish writers and companies this year and hope this small international cultural networking event we host will mean their work will be showcased abroad too.

Thanks to the increased support of the Arts Council and Dublin City Council and our kind commercial sponsors, we are still here.

Most especially, after 15 years, we were rewarded with an influx of new and generous volunteers on our hard-working executive team. They have made the difference in pushing out new boundaries and in broadening our welcome for all.  Thank you.

We welcome everyone as our audience and appreciate it when you share our information online. If you have a new play for next year or want to volunteer check out for information.

Ireland has changed a lot since year one. Many countries continue to discriminate and silence LGBT+ voices in the arts. It is important that Dublin provides a stage and an audience for this quality art form.

Thank you for your company during the artistic celebration of diversity that is the 16th International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival!


IDGTF 2019 Programme has been formally launched!

6The programme for the 16th International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival was launched today at the City Assembly Rooms, South William Street with guests of honour Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan TD and Festival Patron, Senator David Norris.

Artistic Director & Festival Founder Brian Merriman introduced the programme with to an audience of participants, media, volunteers and invited guests.

To find out more:



IDGTF 2019: 20 plays – 2 weeks – 4 stages

Twenty diverse shows with LGBT+ themes will arrive on Dublin city centre stages
for the 16th International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival from May 6-19th 2019.
Following an extensive curatorial process, the Festival has secured productions
from Ireland, UK, USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia to perform over the two
week long event in May.

“New writing continues to dominate the selection process which also included
visiting 50 productions at the Edinburgh Fringe. I am delighted that South Africa
and Australian LGBT theatre return with new companies this year and acknowledge
the great efforts these companies make to showcase their work at the world’s
biggest Gay Theatre event in Dublin” said artistic director, Brian Merriman.

“We are pleased that new Irish companies are embracing this genre with
challenging and important LGBT stories for the stage. This opportunity to share
stages and network internationally within this theatrical genre is hugely important
for all writers and artists and has sustained us for our 16th year”, he added.

Details of the selected shows will be announced later this month at a launch event
in Dublin.

“We are very pleased to have increased support this year from The Arts Council
and Dublin City Council to help us build mainstream audiences for such an
innovative programme of work, as we meet the challenges to let audiences know
that everyone is welcome at our Festival”, concluded Brian Merriman.

Festival updates regularly appear on , and on social media.


For press information, email Sean at



Date/Time: 12 May @ 14:45;
Venue: THE GEORGE Category: Free Events

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CELLO (on with ‘A Drunk Lesbian Love Affair’)

Date/Time: 6,11 May @ 16:00; 6-11 May @ 21:00;

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2019 Programme Available Now!

The programme for IDGTF 2019 is now available with secure online booking.
IDGTF 2019 takes place from May 6 – 19 with tickets €10/€13/€15.

The programme features a range of drama, comedy, comedy drama and more with productions from Ireland and 3 continents. Details of free events will be announced shortly.

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Date/Time: 6,11 May @ 14:30; 6-11 May @ 21:00;

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Date/Time: 6,11 May @ 14:30; 6-11 May @ 19:30;
Venue: THE TEACHERS CLUB (STUDIO) Category: Drama

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Date/Time: 18 May @ 14:30; 13-18 May @ 21:00;

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