Review: (The Making of) The Frogs After Aristophanes

Project Arts Centre – Cube

There’s something infectious about performers taking pleasure in what they do. Their enjoyment spreads irresistibly to the audience. And so it is with The Frogs. Amid chaos and confusion they unravel their colourful set and costumes to bring Aristophanes’ comedy about playwriting to the stage, building it up as we go along.

Dionysus and Xanthius are here set up as a Laurel and Hardy dynamic duo whose journey to hell leads them to encounter a series of queer and terrible characters. They are assisted throughout by their rather forgetful stage manager who adds a touch of exciting uncertainty to the proceedings.

The piece is punctuated by a series of video projections. An important aspect of the production is the fact that the cast have learning disabilities and disadvantages, which the confessional video segments deal with head-on, as the performers explain their need and love of the theatre with admirable chutzpah. What is perhaps most striking in these moments of gravitas is the quality of movement some of the performers exhibit as they dance in front of the camera. Unfiltered and lacking self-consciousness, they demonstrate a raw and enviable appreciation of music, as though their bodies were giant ears picking up rhythm and tone, responding instinctively.

This is not the journey to hell that Aristophanes wrote, the intent is not to learn or overcome obstacles, but simply to sink into the pleasure of the journey, like a hot bath.

Until Saturday
Roisín Agnew

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