The best theatre to see this weekend
It’s the handover period between Dublin festivals this week as the Dublin Fringe Festival begins to wind up and the Dublin Theatre Festival starts to ramp up. Here’s a small selection of the changing stages
Birdy’s quest for a diva saviour at the Peacock
The Dublin Correspondænt. Ends Sep 24, 7.30pm, €12-14, fringefest.com
Conor O’Toole is a disarming and encouraging editor to work for at The Dublin Correspondænt, a publication so relaxed it features a typo in its masthead, and, in a sign of the times for print media, operates out of his one-room flat. In O’Toole’s eyes, you’re a damn fine reporter just for showing up. Hell, you even remind him of a young him. Putting the Fringe newspaper together in the space of an hour, the audience is enlisted in every contributory way – news, weather reports, personal ads, controversial opinion columns, crossword compilation – while the office burbles with good music, anecdotes, valuable short cuts for layout and living, breezy gags and busy camaraderie. Sure, it’s a parody of process, but O’Toole harnesses the crackling energy of a good team game, the miracles created under pressure and the myriad sly cheats that we in journalism call professionalism. Whadda scoop.
Peacock Stage, Abbey Theatre
When the tyrannical President Liz bans music throughout the land, it falls to a ragtag band to try to restore some harmony. Such is the charmingly simple premise for this family show from Eccles Theatre Group, performed on a pop-up-book landscape using puppetry and live music. It is a score for adventure, comedy and song, but it also affords writers Jane Madden and Ross Gaynor grace notes of alliances, resistance and resilience, deftly addressing two audiences at once. On Birdy’s quest for a diva saviour, she meets an anxious chicken, a conflicted hepcat, Jazz Fusion Fox and a loved-up Techno Tortoise. But like Dorothy before her, Birdy’s realisation is that she and her motley band are the heroes she’s been looking for.
The Suppliant Women
Gaiety Theatre. Previews Sep 27, Opens Sep 28-Oct, 1 7.30pm (Sat & Sun mat 2.30pm), €16-€46
In Aeschylus’s classic play, the Danaids, 50 daughters of Danaus, cross the Mediterranean Sea as refugees fleeing forced marriage to their Egyptian cousins. They reach the Greek city of Argos and appeal for safe haven from its ruler, King Pelasgus. Instead, he puts it to a vote from the citizenry just before the Egyptians arrive in angry pursuit. David Greig’s new version of the play honours the classic’s innovation of making the Chorus the protagonist, casting an army of volunteers in the role of the Danaids. That manoeuvre, familiar from Greig’s excellent play The Events, has also endeared this co-production between London’s Actors Touring Company and Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre to international festivals, such as the Dublin Theatre Festival which opens with the production, filling vast stages with an ensemble of actors and non-professionals. The heart of the performance is in its music and ritual, though, with keen resonance for this turbulent age of desperate migrants and the complications of sanctuary.