Una Mullally: Riotous take on Ireland shows us all we can be

‘Riot’ drenches modern Ireland in colour in a triumph of wild and uplifting theatre

Thisispopbaby’s production ‘Riot’. “It is not blindly optimistic. It places resistance and egalitarianism front and centre.”

Thisispopbaby’s production ‘Riot’. “It is not blindly optimistic. It places resistance and egalitarianism front and centre.”

There’s a point during Riot, the Thisispopbaby production currently at Vicar Street in Dublin, that is somewhat transcendental. It involves a former Roscommon GAA player performing aerial choreography to a voiceover of Michael Harding ruminating on middle age, Apple tech-support call centres, love and mortality, while a tender and maudlin version of Justice’s D.A.N.C.E. is sung.

The production, which debuted in the Spiegeltent at the Dublin Fringe Festival last year, is a barrage of spoken word, dance, circus, song, comedy and theatre. It isn’t just good, or entertaining, or uplifting, or fun: it’s a release. Riot is buzzed about because among a general absence of contemporary art on this scale reflecting who we are, it comes to the rescue. It sees us and nods in recognition. It sees Ireland and celebrates it as much as it interrogates it. It reflects a wildness and a kindness, and rejects blandness and self-importance.

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