From the Wilde to the wonderful
Niamh Lunny’s set is an oasis of dilapidated charm: a cornucopia of surprise and wonder, where hidey-holes reveal new characters, lampshades have emotional reactions, and doorways can thwart you again and again.
Director Muireann Ahern capitalises on the physical images evoked in Kruckemeyer’s script, although the irrepressible Louis Lovett brings much more than slapstick clowning to his performance. He even produces his own sound effects (with the help of sound designer Carl Kennedy).
Lovett plays the eponymous hero, hotelier and host, but he also stars as all the guests, no mean feat considering the tics and freakish traits that define them. There are the Lionel O’Brienses, Senior and Junior; Norma and Dorma, Italian opera-singer twins; a moustachioed Spaniard and his two Irish children; and the ghastly, ghoulish Mrs Chelsea, who is all teeth and no manners. Jack’s greedy evil brother Jake makes an appearance too, although he proves to be more Southpark than South-End-On-Sea; an unwelcome visitor in an otherwise hilarious family show.
Until Sunday, then tours SARA KEATING
Seen and heard: what's on and what we said
The Last Summer, The Gate ***
“Director Toby Frow’s production … seems unsure how to respond to Declan Hughes’s strange mode of urban pastoralism.”
The 14th Tale, Project Arts Centre - Cube ****
“An age-old story then, of fathers and children, of reconciliation, of the confused search for love, but one that is expressed in new-minted language and with a winning simplicity.”
Talk of the Town, Project Arts Centre ***
“Like Maeve Brennan it has two sides that cannot easily reconcile, tugged between locations, between truth and fiction.”
Everyone is King Lear in His Own Home, Smock Alley Theatre ***
“Anyone looking for a contemporary version of Shakespeare’s tragedy will be frustrated by Pan Pan’s deliberately oblique approach.”
Tristan und Isolde, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre *****
“Fergus Sheil conducted as to the manor born, paced the music with sensitive care, secured near-perfect balances between voices and orchestra.”
The strand of previously produced plays this year features:
Eternal Rising of the Sun (The Lir)
We described Amy Conroy’s performance as “powerful and lingering” after its run in 2011’s Absolut Fringe Festival.
Pineapple (The Lir)
This production has had cast and creative changes since its May debut. Back then, we positively reviewed Philip McMahon’s play – set in a tower block – as “compassionate but unsentimental, hopeful but worldly wise”.
Bird with Boy (12 Henrietta Street)
The dance installation was given five stars when it ran in the 2011 Fringe, at Kilmainham Jail, and was described as “a finely produced dance theatre work; unsettling, raw and even beautiful”.