Author Archive IDGTF

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Review 2017: Spool

Review – Spool

The Teachers’ Club 9pm until Sat May 13 (matinee: Sat 13 @ 4pm)

Written and Directed by Otto Farrant & Finn Cooke

Spool is an introspective analysis about what it’s like to be a young man.  Honest, candid and raw, it shows the inner-monologue that haunts every young man and the extreme pressure they can sometimes put themselves under.  These pressures often manifest themselves ten fold in gay men and it’s for that reason that this piece is a skillfully judged and important addition to an LGBT festival programme.

Finn Cook (Mind) is as skilled a poker-faced actor as Otto Farrant (Body) is a contemporary dancer.  Attached initially with a piece of rope, their use of expressive movement, where body ‘spools’ information to feed the mind is a joy to watch.  Ultimately, body and mind fall out and agree to separate, leading to a series of interpretive scenes that show just how important it is for Mind and Body to work together.

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Giving an intelligent nod to the working methods of Frantic Assembly and the early workings of The Marx Brothers, this is a well thought though and ridiculously originally piece of work.  Spool seems an unlikely context for a winning double-act, but these talented young men have the potential to be to theatre what Penn and Teller are to magic.

As important to starting a conversation about Mental Health issues in young men, as it is to emerging artists and original and unique performance style – Spool will impress and delight you and must be seen.

NW

May, 11 2017

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ByIDGTF

Lines in the Sand Review – Jim Dalglish

Review – Lines in the Sand

By Jim Dalglish

Directed by Jim Dalglish & Ian Ryan

 The Pearse Centre 7:30pm until Sat May 13; €10 matinee @ 4pm Sat May 13

Without wanting to give anything away, Lines in the Sand achieves something unique.  The audience is left to wonder where the hell we are and what the hell is happening.  As we uneasily let our minds race in all directions, trying to second-guess the clever writing of Jim Dalglish is impossible.

Nick Bucchianeri (Boy) should be applauded.  A skilful and natural young actor, being given such layered and challenging material at such an age demonstrates how talented he really is.  Tony Travastino (Man) doesn’t go easy on him either and it’s his confident and unwavering approach, to play the truth of his character – without compromise, that grips you right from the opening scene.

Whilst cleverly twisting and turning, at times, Boy seems to break into heartfelt monologue with insight and knowledge way beyond his years and his character arc seems somewhat implausible at times, given that these events only happen over one night.  This really should be a full length production where character progression can be slowed, ensuring we see all the stages of how these two men deal with their unexpected meeting.

Where this play ultimately succeeds however is in is how it deals with the detail of what has happened surrounding this story.  As an audience, we are left to conjure up our own images.  It is this clever technique, utilizing the audience’s ability to imagine what they don’t want to imagine that raises the stakes, taking us with these characters and makes us care as if we were there.

A brave psychological thriller, Lines in the Sand explores the struggles of growing up gay and the dangers boys and young men face whilst they try to desperately ‘find a place where you aren’t afraid to be who you are inside’.

NW

ByIDGTF

Gypsy Queen Review – Gay Community News Ireland

Review reproduced from theoutmost.com.  See here for the original review, published 9 May 2017

Gypsy Queen *****

Now, I don’t know much about boxing but I do remember former Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury got into hot water last year over his comments on gay people, causing a flurry of news headlines on whether he was entitled to be shortlisted as BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year. This brought up the subject of not only homophobia in boxing, but homophobia in sport in general.

Gypsy Queen IDGTF

In Hope Theatre Company’s Gypsy Queen, Ryan Clayton (those eyes!) plays Dane Samson, an out and proud gay boxer who has fought the struggles of homophobia within the boxing community and won. Rob Ward (also the writer of this piece) plays ‘Gorgeous’ George O’Connell, who is about to embark on not only a professional boxing career but a gay love affair he never saw coming.

From the get go both actors bounce with energy through a flurry of characters, including Samsons’ secret fuck-buddy (again beautifully played by Ward).  A special mention also must go to Clayton’s, Aunt Rose. It takes some balls to try your hand at the Irish accent in front of a home crowd, and although it was hard to pinpoint exactly which county the accent came from, it was still a charming attempt!

I was taken aback at how well their faces and physicality changed for each character each actor played. Both Ward and Clayton chew up the scenery in the moving final scenes of this piece. Hats off to Adam Zane for his stellar work in direction and Ward’s writing was so good, I didn’t see the time go by at all

Mark Power 

Gypsy Queen continues at The Players Theatre at 7.30pm until May 13, with a matinee on Saturday at  2.30pm, tickets here

(c) 2017 GCN (Gay Community News Ireland). All rights reserved.

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ByIDGTF

The Elephant Girls Review – Gay Community News Ireland

Review reproduced from theoutmost.com.  See here for the original review, published 9 May 2017

The Elephant Girls Review

Here’s a show that packs a punch with a diamond-clad fist! Masterfully written and performed by Margo MacDonald, The Elephant Girls recounts the escapades of a real-life, all-women gang, who roamed the London streets in the 1920s.

Elephant Girls IDGTF

We enter this hard and harsh world by way of having a drink with Maggie, one of the gang’s toughest members. She has a scowling face and rough voice, which contrast sharply with her impeccably tailored suit and coiffed hair. It is a cruel world she inhabits, and Maggie has learned to savagely survive it.

Maggie’s relationships with other women range from adoration to disgust. She uses and abuses some, while demonstrating total loyalty and commitment to others. Recounting a fascinating story, MacDonald gives a very powerful and captivating performance, deftly guiding us through this dark world of crime and cruelty. This one is well worth a watch.

The Elephant Girls continues at the Outhouse Theatre at 9.00pm until May 13, with a matinee on Saturday ay  2.30pm, tickets here.

(c) 2017 GCN (Gay Community News Ireland). All rights reserved.

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ByIDGTF

Review 2017: The Elephant Girls

FESTIVAL REVIEW: The Elephant Girls runs at Outhouse until Saturday at 9pm Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.

Canadian Margo Mac Donald dons a mafia style pin strip suit to tells us the fascinating story of the East End of London’s notorious lesbian gang, which terrorised, lusted, controlled and rampaged through London for almost a century. Maggie Hale (Mac Donald) is our butch guide through the fascinating of power and criminality at a time when London’s underground pulsated with life, death and hidden passions.

Grappling and succeeding with a cockney accent, this super smooth no holds barred narrative is gripping, creepy and criminal. Directed by Mary Ellis we encounter Hale in a bar and after a few pints she begins to spill the beans on a century of secrecy that is a riveting as it is revealing. Beautifully and assuredly played, the gang undoubtedly did succeed and endure, if all its members packed a lunch like Mac Donald’s assured gender stretching performance delivered with charm and aplomb.

You will not know this story, but you will know the characters intimately by the time the story of the Elephant Girls concludes. It is a fascinating insight to a chapter of the hidden history of lesbianism condemned to the shadows and for far too long. The bright light shone by writer Mac Donald is truly illuminating – her performance memorable.

A must see. AO’B

ByIDGTF

Spool Review – Finn Cooke and Otto Farrant

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Spool runs at The Teachers Club until Saturday 9pm and Saturday has a matinee at 4pm.

Two handsome young men are tied together in a beautiful exploration of the pressures faced by young men in exploring modern masculinity. Engagement with social media can confuse and prioritise the physical self from the critical uniqueness of the individual – the emotional self.  How do you survive today if one dominates the other? Finn Cooke and Otto Farrant demonstrate how these two are different – one balletic, one literal, both are inter-dependent. Both sleep, wash, play, breath and dance together in perfect harmony. The pressures of modern existence become too much when one feels he can survive away from the other.

This is a blend of physicality, dance and intellect with some beautiful balletic moments, strong and humorous imagery, innocence and relevance. Farrant and Cooke shed all physical inhibition to blend, perform and flow together until cut in two. Can one survive just in body or just in mind in modern society where image is all and communication of the person’s value diminishing in a virtual world?

This melodic duet of body and mind is perfect for audiences of all ages – it explores masculinity in a beautiful form rarely seen and that is just one of the clever levels unmasked in this delightful gem developed by two young performers with a lot to say. Don’t miss it. GF

ByIDGTF

Review 2017: Lines in the Sand

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Lines In The Sand

The Pearse Centre Ireland Institute, 27 Pearse Street 7.30pm Saturday matinee 4pm.

Lines In The Sand by Jim Dalglish is a real thriller on so many levels. It is a dramatic thriller as this older man rescues a 15 year old boy from a violent altercation in the woods. Why has he been stalking him? It is a production thrill in the quality of the on stage work at all levels. This very fine production co-directed by Dalglish and Ian Ryan is edgy, atmospheric and gripping. Nick Bucchianeri as the 15 year old boy is stunning, vulnerable, brave, sensible and loyal. Tony Travostino as the Man, is rugged, sinister, tough, warm, and plausibly regretful.

The dynamic on stage between these two actors is at times heart-stopping. Set in a small town in the US over a 24 hour period, the sense of place is beautifully illuminated with graphics by Jackie Reeves and well timed sound effects. These two Man and Boy are from the lower end of the social order dealing with the impact of drugs, religion, sexuality, violence and crime. The pace pushes ahead of the plot in a manner that increases the intensity and unlocks the reason this older man followed a group of teenagers into the woods. The resulting 24 hours show the humanity and the maturity of uncovered hopes and dreams.

You won’t have seen a play quite like this before under the banner of lgbt theatre and you won’t wonder why it is such a worthy inclusion in the programme – it is so well done.

Runs until Saturday. DM

ByIDGTF

Preview of our Week 2 Shows Starting May 8

Our Week 2 programme running from May 8 to 13 has it all!

Love, crime, comedy, tense drama, touching true stories, critically-acclaimed drama, dance and more!

For some amazing drama check out…

The Elephant Girls

The Elephant Girls

 

Lines in the Sand: a riveting and suspenseful drama where a vulnerable gay student falls under the spell of an older man.

 

Gypsy Queen: an unlikely relationship starts between two boxers.  Already promising to be a hit of week 2, from the writer of ‘Away From Home’.

 

The Elephant Girls: don’t miss this critically-acclaimed show, the amazing true story of the rise and fall of an all-female criminal gang who ruled South-East London.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Queers: in modern London a diverse range of LGBTQ and straight-ish characters tell their intertwining stories.
From the director of our 2016 smash-hit 5 Guys Chillin’

A Peculiar Arrangement

A Peculiar Arrangement – Mike is engaged to Jenny but then he meets John… Things are about to get a lot more complicated in this dark piece.

 

Check out our Short Plays from the US …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Trumps Everything / How we GLOW – four stories celebrating LGBT people in America – real stories of young New Yorkers, Calamity Jane, marriage ‘made in heaven’ and more.

 

Great Comedy:

 

 

Joto! Confessions of a Mexican Outcast – the touching, funny true story of being the ultimate outsider.   The perfect antidote for anyone suffering from Trump overload!

 

Dance and Drama:

 

 

Spool is a critically-acclaimed must see.  A young man’s mind and body interwine through dialogue and dance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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