I Am of Ireland, Old Red Lion Theatre

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by guest critic Meredith Jones Russell

A buoyant cast enters singing their hearts out to “Ireland’s Call”. They are dressed as a variety of Irish stereotypes: a man in a balaclava, a priest, Miss Ireland, an Orangeman, a rugby fan. Caricatures, certainly, but there’s a lot of energy, and the suggestion we might see some of these clichés unpacked and explored.

Then, suddenly, we seem to be in a completely different play. I Am of Ireland, an examination of the complexities and divisions of recent Irish history up to the present day, provides short monologues and scenes focusing on an entirely different set of characters, with a markedly different tone. Continue reading

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Translations, National Theatre

National Theatre

By Laura Kressly

Mud covers the Olivier stage. It’s dark, nearly black, thick and peaty. The ‘emerald’ part of the Emerald Isle is pointedly absent. The muck’s heavy and pervasive, working its way into every crevice of the rural hedge school where students of all ages learn Latin and Greek. They don’t mind the mud. But the British soldiers that come with their imposing colonisation, also working its way into nook and cranny? That’s where the villagers take issue.

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Yokes Night, Theatre Royal Stratford East

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by Laura Kressly

Yokes (n.): Irish slang for ecstasy pills

In March 2015, a governmental gaff meant that for one night only, all drugs were legal. The good people of Ireland duly took advantage of this accidental loophole, leading to a night of glorious mess and the inevitable disappointment that comes from overinflated expectations. Two people, Saoirse and Harry, fall out with their friends and connect with each other during the glorious chaos in this sweet yet predictable story.

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Stud & If We Got Some More Cocaine I Could Show You How I Love You, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Gregory Forrest

There are no openly gay male professional footballers currently working in Britain. Of course, there are almost definitely gay male professional footballers currently working in Britain, but the prospect of coming out in a sport well known for its chanting crowds and tabloid-splashing players is a daunting one. Paloma Oakenfold’s new play Stud tackles this issue head on.

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Odd Man Out, Hope Theatre

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A middle-aged, gay Welshman contemplates the English class he teaches in Hong Kong. Amongst the students is Windy, the Chinese woman with whom he shares his bed. Utterly smitten with her, he refers to her as his Pocahontas. He then kisses a barbie doll with long black hair and tanned skin.

Pocahontas was a Native American woman kidnapped by the colonising English in the 1600s, forced to marry, then taken to Britain. The same woman bore her husband a child then died, aged 21, after contracting a European illness.

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Disco Pigs, Trafalgar Studios

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by guest critic Simona Negretto

In 1997 Edna Walsh’s Disco Pigs hit the world with the story of an intoxicating and obsessive friendship between two teenagers, Runt and Pig, and their crazy, oneiric, visionary night out. Today, to celebrate its 20th anniversary, Tara Finney reprises the play in a vivid production permeated by the bittersweet taste of nostalgia.

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I Hear You and Rejoice, Tricycle Theatre

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by guest critic Maeve Ryan

I Hear You And Rejoice is a tribute to the power of the single storyteller.  Lighting, costume and staging are simple, revealing the power of the skilled actor. The result is a joyful play full of sentimentality that is also hugely funny.

This is the followup to the much-loved The Man In The Woman’s Shoes, also written and performed by Mikel Murfi. Both plays began their journey following a research period  interviewing older people in Murfi’s native Sligo. Having performed the play back to the very people he had interviewed for inspiration, The Man In The Woman’s Shoes debuted at The Hawkswell in Sligo. It has since toured extensively to audiences at home and abroad.

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