Dispatches from the Fringe – #6
The chaos of Fringe week one has drawn to a close. Most of the headline shows have already opened, some runs are being slightly extended, extra shows are being squeezed into the schedules, and reviews plastered up around the place, stars slapped on to posters to try and sell out the last of the stalls.
So this week things will be a little calmer on the Fringe front. That said, there is still plenty to get your theatrical teeth into. One show you almost certainly won’t get to see (sorry) is World’s End Lane – its run has been sold out for quite some time, given that it can only handle three people at a a time (though on the day I saw it, there was one spare ticket for a no-show, so no harm in chancing your arm, perhaps). Medea might have the traditionalists all a-froth, and Pyjama Men might have them rolling in the aisles, but World’s End Lane is the stuff of Fringe legend.
It takes the audience (essentially on their own) through the notorious history of Monto, an area in Dublin that was the largest red-light district in Europe, radiating out from Montgomery Street (now Foley Street), before a combination of the Dublin police and the Legion of Mary shut it down.
Anyone of a nervous disposition or gentle demeanour should think twice before seeing this show. It is brutal, visceral, desperately uncomfortable and will probably leave you numb with shock. It should also be a permanent part of the Lab arts centre on Foley Street, its current Fringe home. It really is that good. If you get the opportunity, grab it with both hands.
Elsewhere at the weekend, Peter Crawley played along with True Enough’s distortion of fact and fantasy and had a thoroughly enjoyable time. Sara Keating tackled the unsettling piece of dance theatre that is smalltown Ireland, in all its local solidarity and tribal cruelty as portrayed in the vigorous Listowel Syndrome. You can read their thoughts here.
Meanwhile, Michael Seaver took in the Dance Double Bill at the project. So here is his review in full.
Paradise Dance Hall, Hang On
Project, Space Upstairs
Essentially a journey from conflict to compromise, Fidget Feet’s Hang On features some juddering transitions as two dancers eventually find a precarious solace on a swing. Ground-bound skirmishes become airborne as the two vie for possession of the swinging pendulum, but there is a lack of fluency behind many of the aerial manoeuvres. Things aren’t helped by a never-mind-the-subtlety-feel-the-decibel soundscore, but proceedings become more compelling when the action veered away from the dramatic towards the sculptural. The choreography was more carefully guided in Maurice Joseph Kelliher’s Paradise Dance Hall. Olwyn Grindley gives a raw visceral performance that picks at emotion scabs, revealing deeply-seated feelings of sexual confusion, exploitation and exploration. Recorded confessions are open-palmed in outlining the hurt and abuse that lie behind sexual encounters and the choreography seems to weave in and out of these tales, sometimes static, sometimes full-on physical.