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Opening Night review: A puzzling experimental piece that works best when it does least

Dublin Fringe Festival 2022: Electronic composer Jane Deasy monitors the space around her as she probes the anxiety of performance

Opening Night

Gallery, the Complex

As Jane Deasy’s perplexing show is set to begin, percussive bangs echo across north central Dublin. She calls for a pause. There will be no fireworks during Opening Night. What we get is Deasy, an exclamation point in glamorous shoes, hunched over electronic equipment while moving images play out on two walls. Occasionally they feature recordings of the performer dancing in the same bleak space. More often a cameraman relays her current activity (if that is the word).

The effect is far from unpleasant. Deasy is a drone artist of some note, and her soundscapes stoke the sense of a forbidden religious rite playing out in a bleak urban catacomb. Then she rolls up a blind to reveal a seascape. Eventually, she produces a bass guitar and plays a surprisingly conventional song. After what is an effective immersion in the ambient art, these mild outbreaks of actually doing something feel like sacrilegious betrayals. Is that the point? No: the show (which is accompanied by a multimedia installation) is a “live exploration of the audiovisual contract”. Fair enough. Deasy’s side of that contract was fairly honoured before we were permitted to leave.

Runs at the Complex, Dublin 7, until Saturday, September 24th, as part of Dublin Fringe Festival

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke, a contributor to The Irish Times, is Chief Film Correspondent and a regular columnist