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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: September 24, 2010 @ 12:18 pm

    Dispatches from the Fringe and weekend recommendations

    Laurence Mackin

    Spoiled for choice you are – utterly spoiled for choice. If it’s not enough that this year’s Fringe is gearing up for its last hurrah, then you also have Culture Night events across the country to contend with. For a full proper two broadsheet pages on what’s shaking, stump up the €1.80 for a copy of today’s Irish Times. Or you could click here for free to see the equally informative if not as pretty online version. So instead of giving you our regular recommendations, check these out instead. Honestly, how many pointers do you need?

    But back to our Fringe folk, who last night almost ran a-cropper thanks to some overenthusiastic marketing high jinks. For anyone stuck in the capital last night, the marketing wonks at Guinness had designated the day Arthur’s Day and stuffed the city’s venues full of well-known acts, including Snow Patrol, Brandon Flowers and Manic Street Preachers (nope, me neither). The end result of Diageo Day seemed to be a whole lot of beer sold, and a huge increase in workloads for the Garda and the ambulance services (the horrendous weather conditions did nothing to help matters).

    But at one stage yesterday, the Guinness gremlins lost the run of themselves and had floated some advertising tat in the Liffey, which somewhat ruined the effect of Fergus McCarthy’s Liffeytown installation. A few phonecalls from the Fringe office had it sorted. Fringe 1, beer peddlers 0.

    Back on dry land, the festival proper is preparing its exit stage left. The dance programme seems to have proven particularly strong, with an embarrassment of critical praise being heaped upon the various shows, and The Spinner is no exception. Christine Madden reckons this show, depicting the work of three Greek dieties fuses “the godlike and arachnid in work with all the delicate grace and meticulous ruthlessness of both”. Crumbs. Of choreographer Aoife McAtamney, Madden says: “The fates foretell a bright future here.”

    was also on this critic’s agenda, and it was getting plenty of press in the run up to performance time. A three-hour show on feminism featuring a stage-full of nude women was always going to provoke attention, and Madden reckons this was a highlight of this year’s Fringe.

    Meanwhile, Sara Keating was at I Alice I, and while she is reluctant to give too many details, for fear of ruining the show for others, she reckons this is “an impeccably executed piece of documentary theatre”. Michael Seaver was charmed almost senseless by 25 minutes of a simple tale well told at Never Look in the Mirror When You’re Dancing (sound advice if ever there was some). We can’t say the same for Peter Crawley, though. He found the rambling The Butcher Babes (based on the gruesome 2005 Scissor Sisters killings) contained little of substance. You can read these reviews in full and more arts coverage over here.

    And so we head for the final weekend. If you haven’t seen Medea and are free this afternoon, there is one more performance at 3pm today that you might be able to scrounge a ticket for. Also, this weekend are those all important Fringe awards, and we will have the winners here the minute they are announced. Start getting your sob-strewn speeches into proper order now, Fringe folk. It behoves you to make a rather large scene, Fringe folk – behoves you.

    And to get your weekend off to a musically pleasant start, who not have some Amiina, the main highlight from this weekend’s Icelandic Fringe offerings? They’ve done well out of the Irish arts circuit, having played the Kilkenny Arts Festival, the Festival of World Cultures and the Fringe in the past year and a bit. We demand nothing in return, except a really good show tomorrow night in the Grand Social.

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