Festival mixes controversy and quirks


A DANCE piece inspired by last year’s Listowel sexual assault case is among the events at this year’s Absolut Dublin Fringe Festival.

The 16th festival will run from September 11th-26th and will once again feature often edgy and quirky shows. The festival’s director, Róise Goan, yesterday described it as being focused on “what’s new and what’s next”.

With almost 100 events on the programme, the festival will kick off with a rare Dublin street performance by the very established Macnas, but will also feature three shows by the young and innovative THEATREclub and a potentially fascinating act from dance group Ponydance, who will perform 15 times in 15 public locations, including a dole queue.

Among the more controversial shows will surely be Listowel Syndrome,based on the Kerry assault case, by Emma Martin, a dance and live music piece that is described as “a dark tale of small-town solidarity”. Last year, 50 locals lined up in court in Listowel to shake the hand of a man convicted of a sexual assault. It will be premiered at the Fringe.

Much of the focus, though, will surely be on Trilogy, at Dublin’s Project Arts Theatre, a show which boasts of being a take on “modern-day feminism that examines and interrogates the joys and complexities of being a woman today”, and which has asked for women to volunteer for the mass nudity it requires. Some 50 women in total are required, and the Fringe organisers say there have already been plenty of volunteers. Also interesting will be Jerk, a one-man show which uses glove puppets to tell the true story of a 1970s serial killer and his accomplices. It is not for children.

More family-friendly puppetry will come with Escape from Dead Zoo, based in Merrion Square, which will use the reopened Natural History Museum as inspiration. Meanwhile, a mini city, LiffeyTown, created by artist Fergal McCarthy will float up and down the river during the fortnight.

Other highlights will include a new interpretation of a translation by the Scottish poet Robin Robertson of Greek tragedy Medea. Absent this year is the Spiegeltent, which had become a popular focal point for previous festivals but which had its final year last year. The festival’s overall theme will be “Community”, which Goan said was chosen because, “times are tough, and in rough times people tend to roll up their sleeves, co-operate and get on with it”.