I did something this weekend that I’ve never done before….so now so, how many of ye can say that?
As you may or may not already know, Le Cool Dublin launched recently. An online magazine, which publishes itself into your email every Thursday full of all the events you can look forward to in Dublin, Le Cool Dublin is part of a wider European family of Le Cool websites. However, the Dublin site has decided to diversify a little bit and now, instead of just winging a newsletter to their subscribers once a week, Le Cool are bringing you to the streets, or the streets to you….ok you and the streets together.
After sponsoring them the meagre amount of €15 on Fundit.ie (it’s a recession ok……I had to save for flights to Oz), I was granted a free pass to their first walking tour yesterday. To be honest I hadn’t a clue what to expect and arrived along with little expectation.
Sites taken in along the walk included David Foran’s exhibition at Clyne Gallery; a trip to the Redress pop up shop in the Powerscourt Centre as part of Dublin Better Fashion Week, one of Dublin’s oldest barbers – The Waldorf on Westmoreland St where we got a great introduction to the barber tradition along with a sneak peek into their back room where there’s an array of old barber tools and hairdryers; Adair Lane (it runs parallel to Fleet St, Quay side) where there’s a really weird exhibition of placards to Irish pop culture icons like Gay Byrne and the showbands among many others; and a trip to “closing today” pop up restaurant Crack Bird on Crane Lane.
My favourite stop along the way was the Project Arts Centre where Eleanor from Dublin Dance Festival spoke to us about the festival and in particular about the piece of work currently being staged in the Project by Balbir Singh – Decreasing Infinity (video below but musicians are different). The piece is a meeting point between modern dance form and traditional Kathak dancing which originates in Northern India. The piece is also accompanied by a tabla player and a very cool human beat boxer. After Eleanor’s introduction, we were allowed to watch the performers rehearsing and they also gave a quick Q&A session after. Click here to find out more about booking yourself in to attend the show today or tomorrow.
In all the tour was really different, not touristy at all and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who loves discovering new things in Dublin, and instead of flicking through an events guide would like to get out on the street and get introduced to new venues and events. I’d even recommend it to tourists as the first thing for them to do when they land in Dublin if they don’t want to do the general run of the mill touristy stuff.
In all, a fun and cheap thing to do with your Saturday afternoon, click here for more info on “booking your boots in”: Le Cool Dublin Walking Tours.
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.
It could perhaps be the 16th of June 1904, and these actors are trying to find their part in Joyce’s seminal work – Ulysses, however this is rubbished by the inclusion of mobile phones (albeit large cardboard ones). Perhaps The Company‘s initial plan was to “pick up the most important and unread book in Irish history and follow James Joyce as he invents a whole city and its people.”, however they seem to have become sidetracked along the way and instead of delving into Ulysses, they’ve created their own.
Far better than what the initial plan sounded like, this exploratory piece of theatre explores our everyday interpretation of all that happens around us, as well as our remembering or recreation of things past and imagination of things to come. The four actors become bloomalikes, wandering around Dublin city, sampling the food and getting into arguments about the burial of Paddy Dignam (four times over!).
The play itself is playful yet very self conscious in that it reflects upon itself and its characters as they reconstruct and imagine their day and how to recreate it on stage in the form of dozens of cardboard boxes. The actors themselves are outstanding for their perfect execution of complicated routines involving the boxes, along with beautiful storytelling and recounting of events.
The Company are definitely a talented group and I’ll be keeping my eyes out for them in the future. The play tonight was something very different, it was very “fringey” and experimental (not entirely dissimilar to the likes of Pan Pan) but at the same time, surprisingly well organised, executed and very polished. I would love to recommend others to go and see it but unfortunately tonight was the last night – boo 😦 Hopefully The Company will be back again soon with something different from what everyone else is doing – just like they did tonight.
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