Reviews

ByIDGTF

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piece endeavoured to tell a woman’s story, be it of the sex-workers struggle in an Ireland where colonial power had been replaced by church power, the LGBT+ experience told through “no star lesbian”, beautifully sung by BeRn, or a poignant dance piece of a working-class maid – the cabaret is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.

ByIDGTF

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.

ByIDGTF

Festival Review 2018: PARTY BOY

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Play reading Party Boy Teachers Club Sunday May 13th

I dashed up O’Connell St. and stopped for an ever-present donut (crème-filled toffee with crumbles!) and coffee. I love going to Teachers (I’ve had a few shows there over the years). It’s a Georgian building with a black box theater in the basement, meeting halls and classrooms on the first floor, and a gorgeous bar on the second floor.

Near the top of the building, a couple dozen of us crowded into a meeting room for what was literally a table read: the actors sat behind a wooden table, and after a brief introduction by Brian, started reading the script.

I’m a fan of Brian Merriman the playwright, and have enjoyed his work, which frequently has a historical bent (“Eirebrushed,” “Wretched Little Brat”). This one is a departure for him. Inspired by a true story, “Party Boy” is the tale of a little gay boy who grows up in Dublin and Australia, and whose life and interests lead him into a career as a phone sex operator, a gym rat and trainer, and finally as a go-go boy and performer in live and filmed sex shows.

We’ve all seen the plays and read the books that tell and re-tell this story: most often they are morally superior, cautionary tales of young men gone astray and whose lives end all too soon because of an excess of everything, especially drugs. What makes this story different is that the boy has a mother who gives him unconditional love; she always takes him in when he comes home, and serves as both anchor and guide to him.

Party Boy faces not just the generalized homophobia of his home countries and communities, but also the approbation of a sex-negative society that lives to vilify sex workers (while always partaking of their services).

In a country and culture shaped by Catholic guilt and shame, Party Boy mostly takes to other countries to make a living, find companionship, and look for what he needs (which he doesn’t even know most of the time.)

Brian had hoped to stage the show this festival, but in real life, he had a hard time finding actors who were not afraid to take on a role that might carry such a weight of disapproval from the public. Delicate, toxic masculinity kept actors from playing an amazing role, actors who gave all kinds of reasons, except that they were afraid of it.

Brian read the role of Party Boy himself, with Maria Blaney playing the Mother, and Colin Malone playing all the other parts. (He f*cking nailed it, as we say in the theater.) Lia Caira did stage directions.

The reading kept us rapt, and it was real, urgent applause that erupted at the end. I’m sorry it’s not a full production in this festival. I know it will be seen, not just in Dublin, but other places. (I have my thoughts on its next steps, but never give critique unasked.)   KW

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Kathleen Warnock is a renowned playwright and theatre producer based in New York.

ByIDGTF

2018 Programme Preview: Who We Are & Who We Were

Festival 2018 is a year of celebration, marking 15 years of IDGTF and 25 years since decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland.

In our programme we explore the diverse lives of LGBT people today – through comedy, drama, short-plays and powerful stories from around the world.

 

Cruising, getting married, LGBT families, staying together through ups and downs… we look at online hook-ups, the perils of lesbian dating, young LGBT couples, older gay men and bisexual love both male & female.

We tell intimate personal stories and shatter sexual taboos.

 

 

 

We ask… how much has LGBT life changed from the past?  How much has it remained the same?

We celebrate and reimagine past icons – Wilde, Shakespeare, Mary Shelley, Tennessee Williams and more with humorous, moving and erotic stories.

 

We shine a spotlight on pre-decriminalisation Ireland  – from quirky and dark secrets of the Catholic Church to powerful accounts of the  homophobia of the past – and look at LGBT struggles and triumphs from places as far apart as rural Ireland, Taiwan and the USA.

Find out more in our programme with secure online booking available now.

Keep watching www.gaytheatre.ie and Facebook for more details.

ByIDGTF

Review 2017: Love Trumps Everything / How We Glow

Love Trumps Everything *** How We Glow *****

(Review published in theoutmost.com.  Check out more Festival reviews at theoutmost.com here)

The appearance of Trump in the title Love Trumps Everything, has nothing to do with the orange man in the Whitehouse. Instead, it’s the thread that loosely binds three short plays where love overcomes life’s unavoidable obstacles. The first layer in this sandwich is Carolyn Gage’s ‘Calamity Jane Sends a Message to Her Daughter’, an intriguing story, brilliantly delivered by Maria Blaney and well directed by Philippa Alford. If it wasn’t altogether clear to me how this piece fitted into an LGBT festival, that’s no matter.

The sandwich filling is light. Kathleen Warnock gives us a personal insight into her journey to equal marriage with ‘How To Get Married in Five Steps and 17 Years’. And then, we are topped with Candice Perry’s ‘Made in Heaven’. This is a very amusing tale which suggests that in heaven, the big G will make sure we spend eternity with the right partner, even if it’s not who think it is!

Love Trumps Everything – ‘Made in Heaven’

A welcome accompaniment to these pieces is How We Glow, a cleverly crafted verbatim script woven from interviews with LGBT youth in New York. It is wonderfully performed by a bunch of bright, beautiful actors and certainly left me with reassurance that the kids really are alright.

Much credit to Jamila Humphrie and Emily Schorr Lesnick for this refreshing and important social document.

 

Brian Higgins

‘Love Trumps Everything’ and ‘How We Glow’ continue at the Teacher’s Club until May 13 at 7.30pm, with a matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm, tickets here

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ByIDGTF

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.

untitled_large1

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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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