Dublin Fringe: 15 shows you need to see at this year’s festival
This year’s fringe is packed with potential: here’s the ones we think will make the cut
Barnardo Square, Dame Street September 9th-11th, 3pm & 7pm
Lives can change in an instant, for good or bad, pivoting on a bit of luck or jack-knifing into unexpected challenges. In Trophy, a city pops up in a cluster of diaphanous tents, each bearing an individual performance of transformation, which Canada’s STO Union and Ireland’s Change of Address have sourced from people living in the limbo of direct provision in Ireland. Performances are free, but ticketed, and at night the tents themselves are transformed into a dynamic visual installation.
Samuel Beckett Theatre September 8th-16th, 8pm (Sat matinee 4pm)
The Soiled Dove Saloon, in which Conflicted Theatre and composer/sound designer Peter Power’s immersive frontier town rave is set, sounds like a wild and lawless place. Debuting at Cork Midsummer Festival this year, the show is part theatre, part club experience, which is why you are encouraged to grab “a drink and a dab” – “dab” presumably being that dance move you’ve seen on Instagram. In this two-horse techno town are blissed out preachers, hedonist sheriffs and hookers with hearts of moral fibre. It’s probably big enough for the most of them.
Project Arts Centre September 15th-16th, 8.30pm
Italian performer Silvia Calderoni has been astonishing audiences with her fluid performance of a story about gender and androgyny, which combines her own biography and text from Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex. It’s serendipity that Cal, the protagonist of the novel, and Calderoni, the performer, are on similar journeys to be led by their nature beyond the brackets of biology. In this case, transition can be agressive, spurred on by Calderoni’s restless physical performance and an engagingly provocative staging from the company Motus. The intent, though, is more consoling: an exhortation to be who you are.
Project Arts Centre, September 19th-23rd, 9.15pm
The morality play is one of the oldest forms of theatre we have, and durable enough to withstand frequent contemporary assaults. Now London’s trashstep-dubpunk purveyor Lucy McCormick takes on the form as a live art cabaret, casting herself in all the roles of the New Testament, from Jesus down, with some assistance from cult diva Ursula Martinez. McCormick’s subject, and her access-all-areas body shocks, will, at the very least, give Liveline something to talk about, but her absurdist humour applied to sacred texts will earn her faithful apostles too.
Project Arts Centre, September 8th-14th, Mermaid Arts Centre September 16th
Fringe regulars and contemporary dance innovators Junk Ensemble return with a piece about combat and violence. Jessica and Megan Kennedy have collaborated with many different parties before, from fellow professionals to community casts and youth theatre, and here they enlist the help of former soldiers along with Irish and international dancers to explore the viciousness and trauma of violence.
The Dust We Raised
Project Arts Centre, September 11th-14th
Choreographer Luke Murphy and his company Attic Projects take on the progress of science and medicine in a new piece of contemporary dance, which physicalises the process of searching questions and furious succession. Civilisation is built on interventions against nature, our refusal to be annihilated by disease and disaster, and our creation of whole new ones. Using film, dance theatre and sound, three performers illustrate that drive through the storm of progress.
Everything Not Saved
Project Arts Centre, September 9th–16th, 8.45pm (Sat mat 4.30pm)
Since their first Fringe appearance just two years ago, the riveting company Malaprop have been asking some of the most salient questions about this jittery world of ours while discovering engaging new ways to explore them. Following the technological infatuations of Love+, the contemporary meat market in BlackCatfishMuskateer and the performative politics of Jericho, they return with an exploration of memory and misinformation. Don’t forget it.
Peacock Stage, Abbey Theatre, September 8th-16th, 9pm
Writer Simon Doyle takes on Shakespeare’s already woozy and wacky play The Tempest as an hallucinatory jaunt off the coast of west Kerry. Here, Prospero is finally serious about relinquishing his powers, the sylphan Ariel is out of the job, the surly Caliban is dangerously idle and Miranda, Prospero’s daughter, is a teenager without supervision, stuck on an island. Maeve Stone directs the piece as a modern mash-up of classic theatre, smart updating, and a fiercely female focus.
Peacock Stage, Abbey Theatre, September 9th-16th, 6.30pm (Sat mat 3.15pm)
Peter Dunne, the writer of previous Fringe shows Broadening and Inhabitance, returns with a new dark comedy about putting words in somebody’s mouth. When Dolly, the daughter of a famous ventriloquist, has a meltdown on live children’s television, she returns to the family home with her own inanimate companion, to live with her brother, a burnt out former star, with his own dummy. In a production from new company Morb, this family clearly needs to talk, but their demented lap-top mediators don’t make it easy.
Smock Alley Theatre, September 20th-23rd, 7pm (Sat mat 1.30pm)
Inspired by the awful Kerry babies case of the 1980s, in which a young woman was charged – and acquitted – for the murder of two babies found on a beach and buried on the family farm, director Luke Casserly leads a devised performance in which a group of young theatre-makers try to make sense of its tangled mystery with continuing reverberations for justice, body autonomy, and the treatment of unmarried mothers in Ireland.
Smock Alley Theatre, September 15th-17th, 6.45pm
For those in need of some alternative escapist conceptual experimental absurdist nostalgic comedy scream therapy theatre, look no further. And for those not in need, do go anyway. Paul Currie’s breathless hour of fun, interaction and arch introspection is aimed squarely at anybody disenchanted with adulthood, still ready to play. Through it all, Currie will drop hints about the worries of the world – caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s, managing a lifelong depression – while still making room for games, joyful call and response and ludic carry-on. The title is pronounced just as it’s spelled.
The New Theatre, September 11th-16th, 6.30pm
You may have seen the American comedian Erin McGathy on the sublime TV comedy Community or the part-charming, part-harrowing documentary Harmontown, about its creator (and McGathy’s ex), Dan Harmon. Fresh from a stint in Edinburgh, her one-person, multiple role-play performance is a murder mystery comedy set in California wine-country. Expect a taste of kook-noir.
The Offices of the Dublin Correspondent, 62 Mountjoy Square West, September 9th-24th, 7pm
Nothing is quite as exhilarating or as exhausting as putting a daily print newspaper together, which is what we will tell future generations on whatever platform finally succeeds our Snapchat channel. In Conor O’Toole’s interactive comedy, held daily in the offices of the Dublin Correspondent, you get to see the modern news cycle put together, through the pressures of time, spin, legal restrictions and inevitable compromise, as all the news that’s fit to print is reluctantly put to bed.
Meet at Point Luas Stop, Sep 12th-16th & Sep 21st-23rd, 8.30pm & 10pm
Loosysmokes, the aerialist performance group that owned the 2015 Fringe with the brooding Phoenix Park installation Behind the Dark, return for a new off-site spectacular, in a secret location. Inspired by turbulent dreams, it tests the laws of physical and blasts beyond normal boundaries, distending the properties of a room like a waking hallucination.
Peacock Stage, Abbey Theatre, Sep 14th-16th & 21st-23rd, 1pm
As part of Young Radicals, the Fringe for Kids programme curated by Collapsing Horse, Eccles Theatre Group present a new show called Birdie. When singing is banned by an evil overlord, Birdie joins forces with Jazz Fusion Fox and Techno turtle to put together the best band in the world and restore music to their hometown. Jane Madden and Ross Gaynor concoct the anarchic energetic show for 6-10 year olds.