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Nov 15th

The Importance of Being Earnest

By Irish Reviewers

The NI Opera & Wide Open Opera presented with style; The Importance of Being Earnest by Gerald Barry.

 

The Importance of Being Earnest, a play by Oscar Wilde, is a trivial comedy for serious people. It is a farcical comedy in which the protagonists maintain fictitious personæ in order to escape burdensome social obligations. Working within the social conventions of late Victorian London, the play's major themes are the triviality with which it treats institutions as serious as marriage, and the resulting satire of Victorian ways. Contemporary reviews all praised the play's humour, though some were cautious about its explicit lack of social messages, while others foresaw the modern consensus that it was the culmination of Wilde's artistic career so far. Its high farce and witty dialogue have helped make The Importance of Being Earnest Wilde's most enduringly popular play.

 

John Worthing (Earnest) is played superbly by Peter Tantsits. His portrayal seems effortless and engrossing. You really do miss him when he leaves a scene and rejoice on his return.

 

Gerald Barry has retold The Importance of Being Earnest, in a third of the original content giving it quite a lot more musical accompaniment and opera than you might expect. However, what you can expect is to be enthralled and excited by this experimental and unexpected retelling of ‘Earnest’. This exciting version proves to be a bracing experience with a very unique approach. Rest assured the beautiful set, gorgeous choreography, perfect timing and stunning lighting will not fail to dazzle and please you.Plates are smashed, mallets smacked, loud speakers used to convey a very polite cat fight and the 21 strong Crash Orchestra also speak as a chorus cast member. From amazing fur hats, a cheeky lime green fishing line and sharp dinner jackets. The costume for this production was in itself a performance

 

Cecily (played by Aoife Miskelly) and Gwendolen (played by Jessica Walker) make a wonderful pair of fickle friends and when the mood suits, portray dedicated sisters with perfect comic timing and stunning costumes.

 

The opera has cast a male Lady Bracknell (Stephen Richardson), this is not the first time Bracknell has been portrayed by a man but he would usually be spotted sporting an enormous Victorian gown, in this version Bracknell is suited. Playing even further on the gender bending brilliance his costume is replete with a spilt tailed bustle. The outfit really is a thing of svelte, suave, shiny grey beauty.

 

The overall production is near flawless, the perfection of movement, complicité of the cast and overall finish is remarkable but it was at times so ground breaking that it left me wondering have they done this to improve the scene or just to see how outrageous they can get in the name of contemporary opera, which is an exciting boundary to watch out for from NI Opera & Wide Open Opera in the future.

 

When 40 plates are smashed in quick succession, one must maintain such a high level of absurd integrity thereafter. This show is a beautiful spectacle and worth it for the ‘Handbag’ scene alone.

 

Joseph Kearney

Irish Reviewers

 

To follow the tour dates of this production you can visit www.wideopenopera.ie

Oct 8th

Don Giovanni

By Irish Reviewers

LA Opera presents us with “Don Giovanni” until October 14th 2012. The amazing Dorothy Chandler Pavilion opera house brings the finest level of entertainment in LA with opera of world class calibre, enriching the leisure time of all its patrons. For a list of the up and coming shows for 2013 you can visit http://www.laopera.com

Saturday night arrived and Mr Handsome and I set off for the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Downtown LA. We got our parking under the building for $9. The Pavilion is enchanting as its gives way to an elegant courtyard with fountains. There were many choices of food and liquor. We indeed fitted in some tacos, salad and fresh salmon with wine as the opera is 3 hours and 25 minutes long including a short intermission. We looked over the beautifully lit fountain as night was about to fall. We engaged with many fine young men and woman in the courtyard who all looked dashing. Everyone shared their anticipation of Don Giovanni and confessed how it is nice to have a night off from being a doctor or lawyer, e.t.c.

Tick tock! We were pleasantly ushered to our seats as the performance was about to begin at 7.30 pm. As the curtain drew we were introduced to the belle’s of society, Don Giovanni and his servant, Leporello. The opera is in Italian with English subtitles. What really begins to amaze you is the singing voices. The main cast of eight will move you with their outstanding talent. The extraordinary cast and creative team bring you on a mesmerising journey, taking you back to the 1700’s as the dazzling costumes, superb characters and swift set changes is brought to life to bring you on a journey like no other in Los Angeles. LA Opera truly gives you a night to remember and memories that will not fade fast!

Don Giovanni was written by Mozart in the 1700’s and is a story about a young, arrogant, sexually promiscuous nobleman, Don Giovanni, who abuses and outrages everyone else in the cast, until he encounters something he cannot kill, beat up, dodge, or outwit. We are brought on a journey of an incredibly handsome womanizer. We see the pretty young women dealing with Giovanni’s devilish ways until the plot thickens.  Don Giovanni deftly balances comedy and tragedy with unforgettable music.

Conducted by James Conlon, the orchestra sits in a pit in front of the stage. The orchestra will give you the icing on your cake. From violins, cellos, and clarinets, they belt out the spectacular sounds of Mozart. James Conlon brilliantly conducts them with his floppy hair, fast movement and baton.

Tickets are roughly priced from $19 - $304 and can be purchased here: https://www.laopera.com//tickets/Individual-Shows/

 

 

Aug 31st

Cirque du Soleil (Iris)

By Irish Reviewers



Cirque du Soleil presents us with ‘Iris’ in the Dolby Theatre, Hollywood until Late December of this year.

When someone says to you, hey I’m going to see Cirque du Soleil tonight – what does that mean if you’ve never seen it? To me it meant some kind of cool show that had a great reputation for wowing the crowds.  So when Saturday night arrived I collected my tickets and hit the bar for a sauvignon blanc and an oversized chocolate strawberry as hottie and I strolled towards our seats.

It’s directed by Philippe Decouflé who is renowned for his creative dance shows and Olympic opening ceremonies so I was hopeful to be in for a triple treat.

 

From the moment I walked through the doors I could feel the environment bursting with creativity as I was entertained about the nearest exits and reminded to turn off my cell phone as I settled into my seat giggling.

 

As soon as the show started I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, listening to the soft enchanting music as I began to be captivated by what was appearing in front of me. It was at that moment that I realised we can all watch things on TV, go to the movies or read a thousand reviews about anything before we decide to invest our time but this kind of experience I was having was beyond investment, maybe even beyond time. The experience of being in a theatre where the Oscars are held, watching acrobats, artists, dancers and performers bring a story to life is a journey unto itself. Inviting you into a world of creativity while pushing boundaries, this show helps us explores what we can achieve and what we can become.

 

I was left mesmerised as the 72 performers, 200 costumes, 8,300 square feet of performance floor, 174 loudspeakers, 603 lighting features, 20 video projectors and 160,000 watts of sound was unveiled.

One of the most captivating experiences was watching two beautiful male acrobats perform together depicting such beauty of two men in unity together. “West Hollywood” hottie whispered as I giggled. My absolute favourite part of the show was whenever the character ‘Violet’ played by the uniquely talented Katia Pirogovskaya was on stage. She is the iconic picture representing Cirque du Soleil wearing a praxiniscope skirt. When you are introduced to her in reality you can immediately see why she is so captivating. She portrays such art form, poise and character almost taking you to another dimension. You’d almost want to have your own personal Katia Pirogovskaya in your Castle in another life. She is the picture of dedication and art.

Throughout the show we are introduced to marvellous characters, hilarious banter and stupendous performances. The creators bring the audience into the imagery of “The making of” a movie showing its evolution in Hollywood as they swiftly engage you into the land of creativity.

When the two young heroes – Buster and Scarlett – find themselves plunged into the joyful chaos of a film set, their escapades transport the spectator into a kaleidoscope of movement, moods and images supported by an orchestral score.

IRIS conjures up a place between motion and picture, light and sound, which shifts constantly between reality and make-believe, to explore the limitless possibilities of cinema. By combining dance, acrobatics, live video, film footage and interactive projections, the show illustrates both the mechanics of cinema and its extraordinary power to deceive the eye.

Everything from the set design, costume, violinists and performances are nothing other than simply magical. It’s meant to be ironic no doubt that the chosen theme is about making a movie and the evolution of cinema  in Hollywood while you are sitting in the heart of the place, where Oscars are awarded every year.

If you want to step out of the box, have new ideas or see something beyond time watch Cirque du Soleil, with a hottie, with anybody, eat a chocolate strawberry or don’t eat at all. Just experience my friends. Just experience.  For a list of countries and cities where you can find your nearest Cirque du Soleil you can visit http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/welcome.aspx

Tickets range from $43 to $133 (VIP tickets are available at $253). Tickets can be purchased online at www.cirquedusoleil.com/IRIS

 

Irish Reviewers

 

Mar 13th

Irish Fair - Los Angeles

By Irish Reviewers

The Irish Fair in Los Angeles

The Irish Fair took place this weekend, It's an annual event that takes place in Los Angeles every March. This year it celebrates its 10thAnniversary as it has become the largest festival of its kind in Southern California. Offering its patrons 8 stages with 60 shows, Irish Imports, A Celtic Arts Centre, fair rides, Irish Stew, Bacon and Cabbage, Guinness, Irish Dancing, Irish Music, a farm, Irish Fortune tellers and a popular Irish Historical Education from the 3rd West Cork Brigade - this fair is worth the visit!

 

The fair has a large Irish following for the small number of Irish that is in LA put the vast majority of the crowd where Irish American’s who proudly love to celebrate their roots.

 

Entry to this fair cost $18 per day or $28 for a 2 day entry plus a $10 parking fee per day. Once inside the fair the entertainment level was high as we followed the large schedule which mapped out all of the events including bands, Irish dancing and all other Irish Entertainment. One of the most popular acts proved to be The McCartan School of Dance with consisted of a huge army of Irish Dancers with ringlets in their hair, belting out many fast pasted jigs as they wowed the crowd.

 

The biggest gem of all was the 3rdWest Cork Brigade which is a small brigade of about 7 men and woman from Cork, founded by two brothers Tristan and Seamus Wolfe. They had a large tent set up with artefacts and antiques of the 1920’s and as you enter the humble home they extend their Irish kindness by saying "can we offer you something". We declined the potatoes and food so Tristan brought us over to a little area where he gave us some Potean as he brought us into the world of Eamon De Valera, Michael Collins and Ireland in the 1920’s. The brigade offers the uneducated a massive insight into Ireland and how we fought for our independence. The 3rd West Cork Brigade is funded by Tristan and Seamus themselves as well as some small donations. They were a refreshing find at the fair and all Irish Citizens can remain calm knowing that these guys are doing us proud, educating America on Ireland and its real culture as well as bit more clarity on Leprechauns etc etc!

 

The Irish Fair is currently run by Elizabeth the grand daughter of the original Irish American Founder. For more information on this fair you can visit www.la-irishfair.com

Robin Stewart for Irish Reviewers and The UK Theatre Network

Sep 8th

Bedbound

By Irish Reviewers

BedboundDirected by Rosemary McKenna, Enda Walsh’s Bedbound is now showing in the New Theatre until Saturday. Run while you can to be entertained by another one of Enda’s exhilarating evenings of entertainment!

The cast consists of just Two. “Daughter”- Maxie Darcy played by Sara Joyce and “Dad” played by Fionn Ó Loingsigh. I particularly loved McKenna’s choice of opening. When entering the theatre you are immediately invited into the world of the daughter as she sits upright in her bed staring out, bringing you into her bizarre head as everyone sit down amongst other fellow theatre goers.

 Allow yourself enter the disturbed world of Maxie Darcy and observe how she is bound in a perpetual cycle, re-enacting the most pivotal and horrific moments of her Dads life as a ruthless and devious furniture salesman. As always, Enda Walsh’s writing pushes theatre to the max as he brings you on a slightly mad journey of the dark side. Actress Sara Joyce demonstrates an excellent art of acting by going in and out of all of the characters she re-enacts for her father while she struggles with the voice inside her brain.

Zia Holly brilliantly caters for the 2-man show in such a small space with her set design bringing you right in to the world of the Darcy’s.

The New Theatre had a nice make over since we last visited and Anthony has such a brilliant display of book and comics in his lovely quaint Irish book shop.

For more information visit: http://www.thenewtheatre.com/tnt_php/scripts/page/show.php?show_id=55&gi_sn=4e68a4a6b2a60%7C1

 Dated: Aug 8th - Sep 10th
Time:  8 pm
Ticket Price: €15 / 12 (concs) / 10 (Preview)
Booking line: +353 (0)1670 3361
Address: The New Theatre, 43 East Essex St, Temple Bar, Dublin 2

Jun 22nd

Perve

By Irish Reviewers

“Perve” is Stacy Gregg’s first full act play and it’s a piece of theatre that grapples with the dark issue of paedophilia. An automatic silent applause awarded to Gregg for unfolding her concerns about society’s ability to deal with the hysteria that accompanies this issue.  Alyson Cummins basic set offers no insight into the domestic lives of the main characters. It offers no warm indications of family life yet the characters and their relationships reveal this subtlety as the play unfolds.

The focus of the play is centred on a young Gethin and his desire to make an honest documentary that will probe the mass hysteria surrounding paedophilia and as well as the caustic spell rumours cast.

Initially we see him filming outside a “known” Perve’s house as he searches for footage his “concept” documentary. He is concerned about the gross reversal of the traditional “presumption of innocence” rule and declares that nowadays “it just takes one person to throw the first stone”.

Gethin permits his younger sister to spread baseless “perverted” rumours about him in order to get an organic reaction to fuel his project. These rumours, although circulated by school kids, have a far more sinister effect that his has prepared himself for.

The acting reached a high energetic level as the play progressed and the play turns out some compelling performances most notably by O’Brien’s Gethin and NicLiam’s Sarah.

It peaks when a very convincing Jane Brennan interrogates Gethin and when the hinted sexual abuse of both Gethin and Nick surfaces. It feels however that as soon as these moments are touched upon they are disregarded and leave you wanting more. I look forward to Gregg’s next piece which I’m sure will tackle another social sickness to the ground.

 

Booking Details

Venue: On the Peacock stage
(Abbey Theatre 26 Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1)
Dates: Wednesday 25 May – Saturday 25 June (Previews Wednesday 25 – Monday 30 May)
Monday – Saturday evening 8pm, Saturday matinee 2.30pm
Tickets: €13 – €25

Booking:
http://www.abbeytheatre.ie/whats_on/performances/perve

or call +353 (0)1 87 87 222

 

 

Aug 16th

The Plough and the Stars

By Irish Reviewers

“The Plough and the Stars” is now showing in the Abbey Theatre until 25th September 2010.

 

The Plough and the Stars is a play by the Irish writer Seán O'Casey which was first performed on February 8, 1926 in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

 

It is set in Dublin around the time of the 1916 Easter Rising. The play shows little of the leaders of the rising, but instead concentrates on a cast of ordinary working-class Dubliners. Among them are a young married couple called Jack and Nora Clitheroe. Jack is a member of the Irish Citizen Army, but Nora would prefer that he stay at home with her. Jack learns that Nora has burned a notification that he has been promoted Commandant and he is to lead a reconnaissance attack on Dublin Castle. Jack is furious and leaves the house.

 

Throughout this play we are introduced to the period were my generation’s parents grew up. We are brought down the familiar road of Irish lifestyle, lingo and livelihood which resonates in us all. Jack is played by the devilishly handsome and all grown up Barry White who we seen strut his stuff previously in “Lay me down Softly, in Late 2008.

 

The audience seem to love many of the additional characters throughout this play bringing us barrels of laughter at there persona.

 

Booking Information

Tuesday 27 July – Saturday 25 September
Previews Wednesday 21, Thursday 22, Friday 23, Saturday 24, Monday 26 July
Monday – Saturday evening 7.30pm, Saturday matinee 2pm

Book now or call 01 87 87 222

 

Jul 23rd

Review of pacino’s supper club

By Irish Reviewers

MOVE OVER ABBEY THEATRE. PACINO’S SUPPER CLUB HAS ARRIVED!!

 

What’s a supper club and where is Pacino’s I here you ask!? A supper club is the latest brain child of Paul Ryan where we can all go to dine & wine while watching theatre. Doesn’t that sound brilliant? Well it is! Pacino’s is a stunning little Italian restaurant on Suffolk Street, Dublin 2 (To the right of Molly Malone’s’ wheel barrow). The staff are friendly, the food is ridiculously cheap and the wine is delicious. Pacino’s proprietor is a splendid young man, Mick Martin and the supper club is on every Thursday at 10pm. There is an admission charge of €10 on the door which goes straight into the actor’s pockets. http://www.pacinos.ie/

On arriving into the venue I was ushered by a gentleman to the bar where I chose a glass of house red merlot. Please try it because it was sensational. As the place crowded up and everyone was greeted and seated we had a look at the menu. For a measly €20 you get a selection of any two Tapas or a large delicious Italian pizza with 2 glasses of wine. No wonder they advertise the night as “unscene”! The tapas where delicious and I tried a slice or two of some handsome devils Pizza and it was truly gorgeous.

A young lady came on the microphone and introduced the fire exists and explained that we would see five, 10 minute plays with 10 minute intervals in between for us to chit chat and the likes. The set up of the restaurant was perfect for this night. There are lots of high seated stools with tables and bar seating which all face a stage which I’m sure they use as an area for dinning during the day. The restaurant it quaint with stone brick interior, soft dim lighting and an exquisite Italian feel.

As the first act came on we are introduced to a hilarious scene of two ladies who are dinning and confessing their thoughts which have the audience in barrels of laughter, particularly at all the characters performed so hilariously by Actor Rebecca McGurrell who you can’t help but love and laugh out load or hysterically to yourself. As the 5 acts are performed they get better and better particularly in the 4th act where Johnny Williamson will stun you with his character of an actors agent about to sign an actor. The level of acting demonstrated by Johnny Williamson is second to none as he performs very different characters throughout the night with his excellent American accents and ground breaking performances. Every week we can expect to see different acts so it’s worth getting down to see this guy before he’s gone or snapped up by Hollywood.

The true star of the night however was the concept itself. Everyone seemed to like the new buzz of theatre while dinning and everyone is right. It is the first time something like this has been introduced on the Dublin scene and it’s about time. There is a buzz amongst the art and actor types of Dublin about this new concept and I predict a whole new array of these supper clubs popping up everywhere, where the talented actors, writers and director of Dublin strut their stuff. I personally am looking forward to being entertained while dining, particularly with menus as cheap as Pacino’s.

 

When your finished eating and watching the theatre you can go down stairs where they provide live music or a dj until some made hour!

Paul Ryan mentioned to us last night that there is a group on Facebook called “Entertaining Dublin” where he urges all entertainment industry professionals to get involved so they can get up and perform to the wonderful audience of Pacino’s on a Thursday night. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=145973135417036&ref=ts 

 

Date: Every Thursday Night

Time: 10pm

Location: 18 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2, Ireland

Admission: €10

Booking Line: 01 677 5651

Website: http://www.pacinos.ie/

 

Marti Stewart

UK Theatre Network

 

Interview

Actor Johnny Williamson was kind enough to do a short and sweet interview with UK Theatre Network, sponsored by the UK Theatre Network, here’s how it went:

UK Theatre Network: Johnny, captivating performance there, I see tonight the production company performing are Company D. How did the company come about and how did you get involved:

Johnny: Well a guy called Dave is the director along with Rebecca there who spoke on the microphone earlier. They started up the production company who is performing tonight and I met Dave along the way in acting classes and he asked me to be a part of it.

UK Theatre Network: How did you chose the pieces to perform tonight, did someone write them, and if so who?

Johnny: well actually we just took little scenes out of plays that are already written by excellent playwrights and performed them.

UK Theatre Network: How long where you in rehearsals for?

Johnny: about 3 weeks

UK Theatre Network: Which is your favorite character to perform amongst the 4 scenes you play?

Johnny: Oh definitely the actors agent. He’s a great one to play and just takes over.

UK Theatre Network: Yes, he seems ready to go, you could make a movie on him alone!

Johnny Williamson is originally from Tipperary, he travelled around the states studying acting and returned to Dublin in 2008. He is currently represented by Julian Benson.


Jul 14th

Keeping Up Appearances

By Steve Burbridge

keepin11.jpg
Keeping Up Appearances

Darlington Civic Theatre

Staging a theatre production of Roy Clarke’s classic television sit-com, Keeping Up Appearances, is an ambitious undertaking. Already our theatres have been swamped with a plethora of such shows, including Dinnerladies, Dad’s Army, Porridge, ’Allo, ’Allo and Last of the Summer Wine, and one wonders how long this appetite for gems of the small screen transferring to the stage will last.

Yet, The Comedy Theatre Company’s production has a lot going for it. Firstly, the original writer, Roy Clarke, has written an entirely new script especially for the stage. This is a big advantage over many of the others, which are merely four half-hour episodes performed in succession. Secondly, a stellar cast has been assembled and the characterisations are as near as you could possibly hope to get. Indeed, there are no weak links to be found in this production.

Rachel Bell has the daunting task of stepping into the shoes of Patricia Routledge as the social-climbing supersnob Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet, if you don’t mind!). From the instant she appears, from the rear of the stalls, she nails the part and has the audience in the palm of her hand.

Former ’Allo, ’Allo star Kim Hartman is superb as nervy next-door-neighbour Elizabeth and Brookside’s Steven Pinder is a suitably highly-strung Emmet. Gareth Hale only needs to shuffle onto the stage, as Onslow, to generate laughter, whilst Christine Moore is great as the slovenly Daisy. Debbie Arnold completes the line-up of principal characters as the lascivious Rose. Her performance should, perhaps, carry a government health warning as I’m sure she had an extraordinary effect on the blood pressure of more than a few men in the audience.

Two new characters appear in the play – Mr Milson (David Janson), a computer geek and plaything for Rose, and Mrs Debden (Sarah Whitlock), the formidable chair of the local charity committee.

Fans of the original television series will not be disappointed by this hugely enjoyable production, And for that matter, neither will anyone else.

Steve Burbridge.

Runs until Saturday 17th July 2010.

Jul 11th

Eyes Front!

By Steve Burbridge

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Eyes Front!

Darlington Arts Centre

Singer and broadcaster Isla St Clair has collaborated with film-maker Patrick King in an exciting combination of live performance and archive footage about the effect of music in wartime, Eyes Front!

Isla performed a selection of songs, some instantly recognisable and others which were less familiar, ranging from Napoleonic times through to the popular hits that were born out of two World Wars. The quality of her voice - which combined clarity and purity - not only did justice to each of the songs but also made the ballads, in particular, hauntingly beautiful. Her renditions of ‘The Scottish Soldier’ and ‘When The Pipers Play’ were two notable highlights.

In addition to performing the songs, with only her guitar for accompaniment, Isla also told the fascinating stories behind them. Tales of heartache and separation lay behind many, others were used to make political points and some clung to the promise of peace in the future.

Patrick King used film clips to illustrate the importance of songs and music during wartime, and explain their effect upon the everyday lives of both soldiers and civilians. His encyclopaedic knowledge of the methods employed in filming warfare through the ages provided a multitude of fascinating insights.

  Eyes Front! is a deeply affecting show that evokes feelings of pride and patriotism. Indeed, it is impossible not to feel humbled by the sacrifices made by all those who have fought in defence of the freedom and liberty of our green and pleasant land.

Steve Burbridge.