For Saoirse review: Well worth travelling up Dublin’s Champs-Élysées to see

Dublin Fringe Festival: Colm Keegan’s Ballymun odyssey rarely takes an expected turn

For Saoirse: the tireless Eric O’Brien plays Craner in Colm Keegan’s play. Photograph: Babs Daly

For Saoirse: the tireless Eric O’Brien plays Craner in Colm Keegan’s play. Photograph: Babs Daly

 

FOR SAOIRSE

Axis, Ballymun
★ ★ ★ ★
It’s not unheard of for Dublin Fringe Festival to offer us a variation on the My Big Night Out play. The drugs. The ups. The downs. Heightened language capturing neon reflected in gutter water.

Colm Keegan, a gifted poet and short-story writer, offers a notably ambitious addition to the genre with his theatrical debut. For Saoirse has its flaws – not least a closing slump into sentimentality – but its momentum and invention cannot be resisted.

Occupying a bare stage decorated with only a broad white trapezium, the tireless Eric O’Brien plays Craner, a Ballymun man who, interrupted while on the town, is required to transport his pregnant girlfriend to the Rotunda maternity hospital.

Keegan has addressed staggering wads of the Mun’s past and present – early tenements, the towers signalling to arriving planes, homeless families now housed in hotels – in a busy odyssey that rarely takes an expected turn. James Connolly makes an appearance. Ghosts tag the protagonist at every corner.

Well worth travelling up (as he dubs it) the Champs-Élysées of Craner’s youth to see. Unless you’re already there.

Runs until Saturday, September 22nd

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