The two best theatre shows on this week
Redemption Falls in An Taibhdhearc in Galway, The Same at Galway Airport
Corcadorca: The Sameby Enda Walsh, directed at Galway Airport, Carnmore
An Taibhdhearc, Galway; July 28th, 8pm (Sat mat 2pm)
In a way, music got the Mooney family into this mess. Set in the aftermath of the US Civil War in 1865, Joseph O’Connor’s novel Redemption Falls follows Eliza Duane Mooney, the daughter of an Irish emigrant to America, on a wandering mission as she searches the land for her brother Jeddo. What was he doing as a child soldier in the Confederate Army? He was a drummer boy.
For Galway’s stately and innovative Moonfish Theatre company, which brought a wonderful version of O’Connor’s earlier book Star of the Sea to the stage in 2014, it might otherwise have been hard to find a beat to this splintering, digressive sequel. Eliza’s story interweaves with several others, and the novel itself is conceived as something playfully inter-textual, abounding in posters, letters, newspaper cuttings, verses and ballads. The solution, for a company that credits its grab bag theatricality of story-telling, music, dance, puppetry and fresh technology to its rugged West Coast origin, is to present this new adaptation as “a theatre-gig”.
Weaving together traditional folk song, visceral imagery and evocative storytelling, that bold creativity responds to a work dealing with the shattered consequences of war, the sprawling journeys of history and the dream-dazed emigrant experience. Co-produced with Galway International Arts Festival and the Abbey Theatre, the production next appears at the Dublin Theatre Festival in October. The beat goes on.
Galway Airport, Carnmor. Ends Jul 27 7.30pm & 9pm
Corcadorca, a company mainly committed to site-specific work, don’t make touring an easy prospect. Sure, you may be able to convene the cast again at a later date, but if the work has been conceived for a Cork location suffused with atmosphere it’s not especially easy to move the jail. The Same, however, an anniversary collaboration with Enda Walsh from 2017, was not a show that people were willing to leave behind. Sisters Eileen Walsh and Catherine Walsh play two women, both called Lisa, who meet each other in a psychiatric institution. That gave the production’s original setting, in Old Cork Prison, an even eerier frisson.
Now transplanted to Galway Airport, a place with a different sense of confinement, it may also borrow some of the new space’s transitional hum for a piece that plays with our own shuttling sense of time. Directed by Pat Kiernan and imaginatively designed by Owen Boss, it encourages the women to quickly recognise each other, as two versions of the same life, to compare their troubled experiences and console one another, and realise how they might help and hinder each other. Why no one thought to retitle the revival, though, is anybody’s guess. I’d have The Same Again.