Tag Archives: Dublin Theatre Festival

565+ Review

Following on from Victor and Gord, which received a favourable reception from reviewers, Úna McKevitt’s latest production as part of the Project Arts Centre’ Project Catalyst is heart-warming and emotive but doesn’t sit well alongside its fellow Ulster Bank Theatre Festival productions.

The play consists of Marie O’Rourke telling the story of her life, her abusive husband, her sunshine daughter, the untidiness of her home, how she would love to meet her deceased father again and most of all her love for theatre. O’Rourke’s narrative is written from the heart, but because it is so scripted, the performance is at times too forced. There is stiffness between what is a moving, true story and its performance, as O’Rourke recites rather than tells her story. It seems that perhaps O’Rourke has told this story too many times – she gears herself up for each punch-line and pulls faces as if she has practiced them in front of the mirror.

Her story is beautiful, immensely emotional and humorous in parts, but I think perhaps the production is over produced. I think the presence and occasional prompt from the stage manager Duncan helped, as the play would otherwise have been a linear monologue which I don’t think O’Rourke could have carried on her own.

I think that all the audience could easily identify with parts of O’Rourke’s narrative, especially her descriptions of her experiences in theatre attendance, however I think that perhaps it would have been better suited to the Fringe Festival as a work still in progress rather than the full on Theatre Festival. Just as Medea was described by some as a Theatre Festival production ill placed in the Fringe line up, 565+ suffers from a bad choice by the Ulster Bank Theatre Festival to include a production that I don’t think was ready for it.

Finished its run unfortunately.

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Interview with Theatre Festival Director – Loughlin Deegan

Having a wander around online this evening, I came across this video interview which Darragh Doyle did with the Ulster Bank Theatre Festival‘s Artistic Director Loughlin Deegan. It’s a great video introduction for anyone wondering what to go to but too lazy to read the program.

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Theatre and Food: Cheap as Chips

I’m back after over two weeks of holidays away from the dusty concrete of Dublin and already missing the lowing of cows and the feel of grass under my feet down the country. To make up for it, the silly season of theatre festivals is coming up. The Ulster Bank Theatre Festival and Dublin Fringe Festival launched their festival line-ups recently to great excitement and promotion. I personally found myself dishing out over €150 for tickets to only a handful of shows, picked out of a multitude which I would really love to see.

It is a pity that the Ulster Bank Theatre Festival in particular cannot offer cheaper tickets to shows, €25 per ticket is quite expensive. So, it did gladden my little theatre and food loving heart to spot this offer recently offered by the Project Arts Centre and Conrad Gallagher’s Salon des Saveurs. For €34, you get:

  • A 2 course meal at Salon des Saveurs (Food impressario Conrad Gallagher’s recent culinary venture on Aungier St.) For €45, you can get 3 courses
  • A complimentary bottle of wine
  • A chaffeure service to bring to you to the Project
  • Your ticket into the Colleen Bawn

This is quite an impressive offer by any standards and it’s good to see that Salon des Saveurs is offering this deal as an ongoing Pre-Theatre menu and chauffeur service. The menu’s pretty good too with some tasty looking salmon dishes, scallops, beef and quail and whatever anyone wants to say about Gallagher and his financial exploits, it doesn’t seem like he was ever the type to turn out sub standard food.

To their credit, the Project have been quite industrious with attracting a crowd in and regularly features pre theatre offers in conjunction with Milano’s, the restaurant franchise which seems to be popping up all over the country.

As a side comment, the Ulster Bank Theatre Festival have developed accommodation deals with a number of hotels across Dublin during their festival period, but I think it would be great to see something similar in terms of restaurants or gastro pubs for the audience members in Dublin or even a special offer on tickets – maybe mid week buy one ticket get a second half price but maybe they have a big enough audience and won’t need to worry about getting bums of seats. Either way I’m close to broke but still willing to dish out for the Colleen Bawn!

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