Crisis Meeting review: plenty of off-kilter pleasures to be had here

Dublin Theatre Festival: experimental Icelandic company stick to the central conceit of a funding application

Budget projection: Árni Vilhjálmsson, Friðgeir Einarsson, Ragnar Í Bragason in Crisis Meeting at Project Arts Centre, as part of Dublin Theatre Festival  Photograph: Ragnheiður Pálsdóttir

Budget projection: Árni Vilhjálmsson, Friðgeir Einarsson, Ragnar Í Bragason in Crisis Meeting at Project Arts Centre, as part of Dublin Theatre Festival Photograph: Ragnheiður Pálsdóttir

 

Crisis Meeting ★★★
Project Arts Centre

 The good people at Kriopleir – a wry, three-person experimental company from Iceland – certainly prepare us for the rigours of Crisis Meeting. The programme notes promise “a path of anti-climaxes” leading to a presentation that may “come across as both chaotic and erratic”. Well quite. There are off-kilter pleasures to be had here, but it’s hard to argue with Kriopleir’s withering assessment of their own limitations.

Crisis Meeting pretends to be a practical application to an arts funding body. As we begin, two of the company are chatting amiably on stage while the third sits quietly at the rear. It transpires that the upstage lurker has taken a vow of silence that is set to expire within the next hour.

On one side is a table arrayed with energy drinks, post-it notes and highlighter pens. On the other, we find the laptop that controls sound and lights. An overhead projector sits between.

The company begins by sticking close to the central conceit. A budget is passed among the audience while projections outline the theatre makers’ grand strategy. Order soon breaks down, however, as Kriopleir wander off to various obsessions and diversions.

One had the chance of becoming an Olympic athlete. Another may be recommending Caroline Myss’s Sacred Contracts – a high-end self-help tome – or may be satirising the content. (The uncertainty is probably intended.)

Delivered at an unhurried pace by engaging hosts, the material veers from the diverting to the frustrating. What most irritates is the cosiness of the enterprise. You couldn’t call Crisis Meeting conventional, but nor is it dangerous or shocking.

It feels like an evening spent exchanging anecdotes with three mildly eccentric cousins. Were I on the imagined funding body, I’d give them the money, but I would decorate the acceptance with abundant notes.
Until October 2nd

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