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
Things that make you go ‘Haaaaa’
Plenty of familiar funny faces will be trying out something new at this year’s festival, including Maeve Higgins, who returns from London with her first play, Moving City (17th-21st, EB), a love letter – but who jilted who?
In his new show, David O’Doherty Will Try To Fix Everything (15th-21st, EB), O’Doherty will presumably be, eh, trying to fix everything – with luck using only his beard and his keyboard. Keybeard.
In the spirit of the Gathering, the fringe welcomes back to these shores two promising young Irish comedians for a double bill: Aisling Bea, winner of the 2012 So You Think You’re Funny? award in Edinburgh, and James Walmsley of Dead Cat Bounce. C’est La Bea and Don’t Swim With Killer Whales (EB, D) run from tonight until Tuesday.
Tommy Tiernan describes these lads as “pure brilliant”, but don’t let that put you off: Foil Arms and Hog (tonight until 13th), are back with more sketch comedy and stand up after a sell-out run at last year’s fringe. Also returning to this year’s festival is Ruth Lehane (Best Female Performer at last year’s fringe) with Ruth 66 (16th-21st, EB, D), a comedy road trip about a clown in search of of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll.
Still got a straight face? Try one of these: Lambo (16th-21st, D); Some Baffling Monster (16th-21st, EB); War Of Attrition (Monday to 14th, S&S); Counter Culture (11th-14th and 21st, S&S); Speedtrap – Confessions of a Speed Junkie (17th-21st); Boys and Girls (17th-21st, EB, D); and The Last Post (11th-14th, EB, L, D).
Things that make you go ‘What the . . . ?’
This is the fringe, so if you don’t leave scratching your head then what has it all been for? For one of the more beautiful but no less odd site-specific festival offerings, get yourself to Sandymount Strand for 4 of 704. Using four out of an average of 704 high tides a year – two at night (20th and 21st at 11.59pm) and two during the day (21st at 12.31pm and 22nd at 1.06pm) – their ebb and flow will be transferred on to seven garments over 48 hours.
Wage (until Tuesday) didn’t quite have us at hello, but with the line “Despite all your wage are you still just a t**t in a cage?” our interest has been piqued. Male-identified audience members pay €2 more than their female-identified counterparts, to reflect the gender pay gap in Ireland – you decide which rate to pay. Sold.
Speaking of sold, The King’s Feet (Tuesday-Saturday) tells the story of Liam and Amanda, who buy into the promised land of prosperity but end up living on “government-issued microwave burgers” (a step up from iodine tablets, surely?) and cycling the desert in search of dream jobs. The themes of emigration and disconnection will be familiar, but the dystopian fairy tale should leave you wondering.
We’re not sure what Dolls (11th-16th, S&S) means when it says it wants us to own five real performers, but we’re ready to find out and be manipulated, as promised, “to feel any number of emotions on a spectrum that ranges from exhilaration to repulsion”.
Dive and What’s the Matter? (18th-21st, D) is a dance double bill. The first show is inspired by the myth of Narcissus together with the French poet and philosopher Gaston Bachelard’s interpretation of matter; the second is inspired by the disciplines of astronomy and science fiction. And Mice Will Play (17th-21st, EB) involves real vermin.
Things that make you go ‘Nice one, I’m skint’
Don’t think that just because you’re broke the fringe has forgotten about you. One of the most spectacular spectacles of this year’s festival is bound to be Chaosmos (15th, 2pm and 5pm), a walkabout boutique street show by Macnas, promising to “discover and recover the elixir of life” as they meander through the city.
For a chance to hear original work by new voices in the theatre, Scripted (21st, 2pm) will showcase the next generation of playwrights from Ireland, Britain and the US. Extracts from the works of seven MFA graduates will be read by a professional cast. Be the first to hear original work by new voices in the theatre.
For dance lovers, The Finest: Fitzgerald and Stapleton in Conversation With Arturo Vidich (21st, 3pm) is a film screening and Q&A with the New York artist Arturo Vidich, the first in a curated series of talks marking the 21st anniversary of Dance Ireland.
And, while it’s not quite free, Whelp (today until Friday, €10-€13) is a tale of being broke in more ways than one. Meet the Boomerang Babies, retreating under the threat of “insufficient funds” to live with the mammy and daddy.
FEEL THE MUSIC: SOME AURAL HIGHLIGHTS
A 20th Century Concert: Abridged: A two-hour version of the acclaimed singer and theatre artist Taylor Mac’s 24-hour concert (17th-21st).
Deep: Follow Larry Lehane, as he chases the footsteps of his brother Danny, through two decades of music in Cork, from the rise of acid house to the euro changeover (17th-21st).