Fringe Reviews


Crash Test Cabaret  No Stars Filmbase Imagine a cabaret involving a variety of cross-dressed performers who can’t sing, dance, keep time, or even lip-synch in rhythm. Then throw in some “enforced volunteering” from the audience, with the cast going so far as to strip an unwilling member of the audience despite his protests. For some of the paying spectators, all this proved amusing; for this reviewer, it was closer to a violation. If Crash Test Cabaret was compulsive viewing you might call it car-crash theatre, so bad it’s essential viewing. But it’s not. Best avoided. Run concluded. Sara Keating

Kissing Marigolds  ***


There’s a lot to enjoy in Kissing Marigolds, the latest production from Red Lemon. It’s a musical and the songs are tuneful, energetic and well-performed. It’s about heartbreak and how to recover from it – a universal theme, and wittily dealt with by the writer, Patrick J O’Reilly, who also directs and acts. He’s a good actor, and playing the heartbroken man at the centre of the piece he’s convincingly poignant. Rosie McClelland, playing his dog, is funny and nicely gruff; and Sarah Lyle,

playing a very bossy therapist, is sharp and has a lovely singing voice as does Katie Richardson, playing the heart breaker. The cast is proficient and

confident, and the Marigolds of the title refer to rubber gloves, and not the flowers. Running for an hour, it provides a good alternative to lunch. Until Sunday.  Noeleen Dowling

Lavender  **

Project Cube

Frog-marching us to our church pews via the emergency exit of Project Cube, and later evacuating us abruptly through the front door, Jouissance Productions is clearly seeking to invert usual procedures. Casual contempt may be a pose – theatre of cruelty meets live art – but when the rest of Lavender seems to be an exercise in deliberate audience alienation, the suspicion grows that it is masking the company’s conceptual insecurity and lack of directorial rigour: treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen.

Heavy on symbols, light on significance, choked with fragmented ideas and entirely humourless, the show judders between lavender video sequences and an onstage authoritarian dictating elliptical texts about memory and loss, while an agitated dancer in a vintage dress in a plastic bubble looks mildly unhappy.

The monotony is broken occasionally by Si Schroeder’s pleasant yet ill-fitting music, while lavender aromas waft around, making another appeal to the senses in a show so unwilling to make sense. Ends tomorrow.  Peter Crawley

Mari Me Archie/ Iris Brunette  ****

Temple Bar/Players

Iris Brunette’s mellifluous voice is in my head, steering me to a cafe, casting its innocuous customers as actors in her/my drama, sending me on to the street for other shadow games. The short, daytime MP3 tour, Mari Me Archie, is but a playful prologue to the evening’s main drama, a post-war intrigue in which Iris follows a man she has spied at a clearing house across a shattered city (in a scenario influenced by Chris Marker’s black-and-white film, La Jetée, from 1962).

Shifting notions of time and memory are conjured up in a setting and performance that hint at past and future simultaneously. Iris (writer, actor and sound designer Melanie Wilson) cuts a striking, poignant figure, graceful and otherworldly, as she envelops the audience of 20 in an episodic chase, her recorded voice emanating from a haunting soundscape while she darts here and there under cover of darkness, between scenes, on a quest doomed to elude her forever. Shows concluded. Paula Shields

The Legend of Zocorro  ***

Bewley’s Café Theatre

The lights go down. A masked, dark-haired woman in a black dress strides on to the stage, where a single microphone awaits. This is Zocorro, avenger of myriad injustices and self-described epitome of a modern Irish woman. She comes charged with an extra helping of testosterone and ready to sacrifice love or bare whatever is necessary to achieve her goal: to be crowned the Rose of Tralee.

In heavily accented English, reminiscent of The Princess Bride’s Inigo Montoya, she waxes lyrical on the St Patrick’s Day parade, on nannying forgettably named Foxrock offspring, on her first leprechaun sighting, on flying Ryanair, on the melodious joys of the Garda Síochána band and on her fight for the Rose of Tralee crown (and the keys to the Volvo that come with it).

Leonor Bethencourt never once drops character in a deadpan 50-minute monologue, expounding on the vagaries of Irish life with such earnestness that their inherent comedy is instantly evident. Not every joke hits the mark, but where she shines is in her attention to detail and an impeccable timing that marks her out as a keen comic talent. Ees funny. Until tomorrow. Fiona McCann

Wozzeck  ****

Fringe Factory

Despite being written in 1836, George Buchner’s short expressionistic drama is a play for all time; its anxieties about the modern age traversing history to remain relevant to contemporary problems. Daguerreotype makes it its own by rewriting it, with an eye on the corruption that defined the Celtic Tiger economy and the panic in its aftermath.

The audience is guided towards the tragedy by Samuel McArdle’s ringmaster, Clown Man, whose stalks Donal Gallery and’s Wojtek and Grace Kelly’s Marie like the very spectre of death. Unfolding largely upon raw scaffolding in the bare Smock Alley theatre space, the actions’ elevation ensures that audiences for the promenade production can not only always see the action but that they also have several perspectives. Dan Bergin’s subtle script echoes the terseness of Buchner’s fragmented form, while, working as director too, his atmospheric production avoids the temptation of excess. Lighting by Simon Burke and Emma Gallivan moves beyond the functional, helping to sustain the threatening tone and pace. This premiere production by the young company is promising for their future. Until Sunday. Sara Keating

Broken Croí/Heart Briste  ***


Why do Irish people find their alleged native tongue a difficult language, wonders muinteoir Manchán Magan? With the audience cast as slow pupils at a lecture that isn’t ag obair, he dons a kilt and a chainsaw, both comedy green, and frogmarches his own daughter (the magnificently mutinous Eva O’Connor) out on stage to help.

Part lesson, part drama, 50 per cent as gaeilge, 50 per cent in English, in a nimble comic double act, family dynamics soon overwhelm any official attempt to impart vocabulary – she is all subversive rage, he is worried, trying to unravel the reason for one of her recent particularly drunken nights out. In the ensuing revelation, the audience will learn words few school teachers ever taught, although to this pupil’s dismay, no one thought to translate the absurd highlight of a lighthearted evening: “The dispossessed under Ceaucescu are screaming!”  (Or maybe they did) Until Sat. Paula Shields