Fringe 2013: How much can you pack in?
Dublin Fringe Festival has kicked off, and you’ve only got a few weeks to catch more than 100 productions. Here’s what we recommend – and who you should bring along – whatever kind of show you’re after
Briefs encounter: the Australian troupe is back with The Second Coming
Each preview includes a code. Here’s what they mean:
BYM: Bring your mum
BYD: Bring your dad
EB: Early bird – starts before 8pm
L: On at lunchtime
S&S: Short and sweet – less than an hour
D: Bring a date
Things that make you go ‘Oooooh!’
Last year they made The Irish Times use words like “recockulous” in a five-star review; this year we’re bringing our mammies. Yes, the Briefs troupe is back with The Second Coming. Australia’s answer to Cirque du Soleil and RuPaul’s DragRace (although we’re not sure what the question was) is taking its burlesque with balls indoors to Vicar Street (runs until September 11th, BYM).
Less testicular, but just as spectacular, is Gabby Young, who brings her spiegel-style party combining Balkan brass, jazz and swing to the Workman’s Club on September 16th (BYD). And keeping with the circus theme, Bunk (today until September 14th, EB) and Damn the Circus (September 17th-21st, EB) – the former a fantastical aerial circus show from PaperDolls, the latter a rollicking reinvention of the experience of Irish Circus – should sate all the carnie-vores.
Both Figure It Out (Monday until September 14th, S&S) and How to be a Lad(y) (Wednesday until September 15th, EB) tackle issues of gender – the first, from the makers of the previous fringe shows Seekers and Chemistry, is a site-specific piece combining dance, physical theatre and film; the second is an all-dancing, (mostly) all-male troupe ready to take you on a gender-bending “journey of learny”.
And for younger spectators, check out Brat Kids Carnival (tomorrow and 14th, L).
Prefer a walk on the dark side? Try one of these: Animus (September 16th-21st) features live music by the composer Denis Clohessy; Distance from the Event (until September 21st, D) combines Irish noir with sci-fi.
Things that make you go ‘Aaaaah!’
For the more curious, this year’s fringe has plenty to offer. In Confusion Boats (today until September 14th, EB, BYD), Gerard Kelly tackles myths of masculinity, asking why some boys don’t cry. Using dance and technology, John Rogers will indulge your inner conspiracy theorist with Decision Problem [good time for questions] (Monday until September 14th, S&S). And in Of Rogues and Knaves (today until September 21st, EB, S&S), Paul Gleeson reveals the secrets of a con artist.
For your more old-fashioned whodunnit, The Secret Art of Murder (September 15th-21st, S&S) brings the genre into the 21st century with blank verse and bright talent. The Curious Case of the Stoneybatter Strangler (September 16th-21st, EB, S&S, D) will use site-specific storytelling to take audiences back to 1780s Dublin to reopen the case of Billy in the Bowl.
Returning fringe favourites this year include Brian Fleming, Rise Productions and Dead Centre. Fleming is back with Have Yis No Homes to Go To (September 17th-21st, S&S, D), the follow-up to Gis a Shot of Your Bongos Mister, telling the true story of one eejit drummer’s expedition to Africa with Clowns Without Borders. The Games People Play (September 17th-21st, EB, L), Rise Production’s follow-up to Fight Night, is a reworking of the Tír na nÓg myth for the negative-equity generation. And Lippy, created by Bush Moukarzel with cameo playwright Mark O’Halloran, is the new show from the creators of the critically acclaimed Souvenir.
Still curious? Try these: Amy Conroy’s Break (until 21st, D); (Grindr/A Love Story (September 10-14th, EB, S&S), with the incredible spoken-word talent of Oisín McKenna; You Remember the Stories You Wish Were True (until Friday, EB, L), exploring the fictions we use to make sense of our lives; Exit Strategy, a show where what happens next it is up to the audience (12th-14th, L); Kitschcock (14th-21st, EB, S&S), which examines celebrity and our public and private identities; and In Dog Years I’m Dead (10th-14th, EB).
Things that make you go ‘Awwwww’
There are plenty of shows in this year’s line-up to have you reaching for the tissues, and Nic Green’s moving Fatherland (17th-21st, EB), in which she follows the trail of her paternal line, is one of them. Finding Sympathy (17th-21st, EB, S&S) is the story of Ellen and Henry, told through the discovery of a small chocolate box full of letters, dance cards and receipts found in a shop in Cork.
Melanie Wilson’s fourth show at the fringe, Landscape II (17th-21st, BYM) combines performance, film and sound art to tell the stories of three women spread across 100 years. After a sold-out run at Galway Arts Festival, Sanctuary (14th-15th, three shows only) makes its Dublin debut, exploring sex and disability in the captivating story of Larry and Sophie, who find themselves unsupervised at last. And if it’s a date you’re on and something sweet but funny you’re after, in Stories of a Yellow Town (16th-21st, EB, D), the Gombeens intertwine true stories, told in the words of the people of Gort, to explore the impact of the arrival of Brazilian migrant workers to the town in 1999.
So you didn’t cry at Bambi? Try one of these: Postscript (9th-14th); Swing (10th-19th, L); The Birthday Man (5th-14th, BYD); The Churching of Happy Cullen (7th-21st, L); The Far Side (11th-18th, EB, S&S); Small Plastic Wars (10th-18th; not daily, BYD).