The best theatre shows this week

A Dublin Theatre Festival hit transfers to the Abbeywhile a young company sees if there’s new life in the Dublin monologue form

Stephen Jones and Sarah Morris in Class by Iseult Golden and David Horan. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

Stephen Jones and Sarah Morris in Class by Iseult Golden and David Horan. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

 

Class
Peacock Stage, Abbey Theatre, Dublin. Free Preview Jan 24 Opens Jan 25-Feb 2 8pm (Sat mat 2.30pm) €20/€18 abbeytheatre.ie
Speedily revived following its debut at the Dublin Theatre Festival last year, Iseult Golden and David Horan’s play Class, which they also direct, is an entertaining and challenging lesson. When a young boy has been acting up in school, his separated parents, Donna and Brian, are called into a meeting with his teacher. However well-intended, couched in the caring terms of modern education, the power dynamics of the classroom see them reverting to the nervousness of childhood.

That is also the fillip of the performance, in which the marvelous Sarah Morris and Stephen Jones also play two children under Will O’Connell’s supervision. In energetic, intercutting scenes Golden and Horan tease out the influence and obstacle of class structure in every meaning of the term. Like Morris’s performance, perfectly alive to the difference between childlike and childish, comedy here comes without making anyone cartoonish. Wary of being supercilious, O’Connell’s teacher is trying to help, and, alternately enthusiastic and guarded, Donna and Brian both want what’s best. But, like learning impediments, some barriers need to be acknowledged if they are ever to be dismantled.

Walksinstown
Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin. Previews Jan 22-23 Opens Jan 24-Feb 3 8pm €15/€12 smockalley.com
Most genres, whether romance, western or sci-fi, go through the same cycle: from invention to adoption to parody and finally revival. For his third play for Monkey Backstage, writer and performer Keith James Walker takes on the Dublin Monologue Play, a long-standing and lively sub-genre, in which the texture and tenor of the city has been conveyed to us by alternating speakers imbued with poetic urban verve, scabrous and sensory detail, and often rhyme. See enough of the stuff, and you can imitate its rhythm and style without a pause for breath.

That was the starting point for Walkinstown, originally conceived as a short parody piece three years ago, and which advertises itself with knowing self-deprecation: “A Theatrical Odyssey. Probably.” Aren’t they all? Since then, however, Monkey Backstage has gained some traction; Walker’s last play, 2014’s How To Build Your Own Robot, was shortlisted for an award, and this two-hander has gravitated somewhere beyond a sussed-out piss-take, moving towards an exploration of what is acceptable in human behavior. That sounds a little like a genre cycle in one show, but, then again, they’ve always been about the journey.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.