by Laura Kressly
Made for a mere €112,000, Once is an award-winning, hit indie film. It’s easy to see why in the stage adaptation that has been running regularly around the world since 2011. The melancholic, Irish music performed by actor-musicians and the almost-love story set this show apart from the bold, brash showiness of musicals that stick more closely to traditional forms. It’s appeal lies in the story’s delicate balance of tapping into that tender part of the heart that sadly knows happily-ever-afters aren’t real, and the unrequited celebration of music’s power to bring people together.
by Meredith Jones Russell
It’s a week until Matt and Steph’s wedding and they’re hungover. They want to be playing computer games on the sofa but instead they are having to field calls from Steph’s mum, arrange Matt’s suit and make big decisions about bunting.
By Amy Toledano
Cuckoo by Lisa Carroll has all the elements of a wonderful coming-of-age story. Set in a small Irish town, this play packs many a punch, giving us a raw look at what it means to not fit in, to feel lonely in your hometown and how as a teenager, the need to be liked can seem more important than anything else.
By Laura Kressly
A woman sits at a drawing table analysing jigsaw puzzle pieces under an anglepoise lamp. On the other side of the stage, another woman rhythmically bounces on a small trampoline. What starts off as just another post-narrative, young theatre piece becomes a satisfyingly layered work questioning subjects as wide-ranging as ableism, friendship and polarising opinions.
by Maeve Campbell
Karen Cogan begins her one-woman show floppy and lifeless looking, slumped over a grubby sofa bed. This is an uncomfortable image to pre-show chat in front of and it sets the mood for the proceeding work. Drip Feed is Brenda’s story, a ‘youngish’ queer woman living in Cork, inhabited by insular, parochial and judgemental residents. Brenda, though, is ‘part of the furniture’ of the city, but seems both in love with and restricted by it.
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
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.