Ladling it out

It begins with a debate on broth, but Anu’s Soup aims to be more stirring

Thirteen: Soup

Outside Abbey Theatre, Dublin


As Anu's series of performances marking the Dublin Lockout continues, the project seems to be both building towards something extraordinary, while simultaneously worrying about the place of theatre in politics. Soup, for instance, begins as a playful refraction of the Lockout's soup kitchens within a contemporary debate between two young Dubliners over the merits of oxtail, coddle and stew – but our location is more significant. We are outside a theatre and soon we will be rushed towards another.


The go-between in this journey is, appropriately, Helena Moloney (played, in a piquant bit of casting, by Derbhle Crotty), an Abbey actress, nationalist and trade unionist, who seems to burst straight out of a performance – armour-plated in make-up – to attend to more important matters. Swept up in Crotty's momentum, we are delivered directly into another of Anu's performances. It's a head spinning intersection, but – if you've already seen it – heavily reiterative. Later in town I saw one of Anu's performers, in full 1913 costume, negotiating rush-hour traffic en route to her next mission. Somehow that dash of purpose seemed more stirring.

Until Sat 21

Peter Crawley

Peter Crawley

Peter Crawley, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about theatre, television and other aspects of culture