Latest reviews from the Dublin Fringe Festival
TRUE ENOUGH ***
“Knowledge is the stuff of TV game shows,” wrote Jean-François Lyotard witheringly of contemporary culture. But in Making Strange’s energetically comic competition – high on audience involvement and soaked with irony – knowledge can be a hindrance. Our fast-talking hosts Hank (Aonghus Óg McAnally) and McKenzie (Megan Riordan) explain the post-fact condition: an update of George Orwell’s “doublethink” by way of Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness”, where belief outweighs evidence and history is a Wikipedia entry.
The impulse may be satirical and the form parodic, but director Aoife Spillane-Hinks’s production simply asks us to play along. Like the post-fact giddiness, fun trumps content. Contestants succeed by supplying wrong answers to absurd questions (truths and hesitations are penalised) and – on opening night, at least – the audience proved to be hilariously creative cheats and liars. Strictly speaking, the cash prize ought to be counterfeit, but its frantic incentive to distort actually suggests a show with a moral centre; one that must know the truth to reward our lies. Fact.
Runs until Saturday, September 25th
– Peter Crawley
LISTOWEL SYNDROME ****
Project Arts Centre, Listowel
Syndrome is an unsettling piece of dance theatre, inspired by the true story of a small town that turns on a young female rape victim. Written and directed by choreographer Emma Martin, it uses live percussion and a four-piece choir to create an atmospheric deconstructed score that sets the tone for the powerful physical expression of this strange contemporary story of local solidarity and tribal cruelty.
Martin’s modernist choreography is at once beautiful and brutalist, as a duet of curious first encounters becomes a violent tussle and then a predatory kill. But the representation of physical violence is neither gratuitous nor sensationalist, and we are more aware of the emotional violence that lies behind this story, which Stephen Dodd’s bleak ashy lighting enhances with visceral effect.
There is vigorous conviction in this short intense thirty-minute long piece. Highly recommended.
Runs until tonight
– Sara Keating