PICK OF THE WEEK

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - THE TICKET SEVEN DAYS - Jim Car­roll JC Peter Craw­ley

There’s still some time to go be­fore this venue be­comes the site of a ho­tel and Han­gar finds a new abode. Tonight they wel­come Drum­code and Co­coon rep Mark Reeve to the gaff. Reeve is a pro­ducer whose techno and tech-house comes with boom­ing bassline and swing­ing grooves, as seen on tracks such as Dru­mat­ics. Sup­port from Luke Xan­der and Dy­lan Mo­ran. BIRTH­DAY Techno Fri­day It has been quite a year for Techno Fri­day. They kicked off with a monthly night at The Pav be­fore that venue closed and ne­ces­si­tated a move to AMP for the club, its res­i­dents and such in­ter­na­tional guests as Neil Land­strumm and John Heckle. Tonight the fo­cus is on the res­i­dents; Jamie Be­han (Bas­tardo Elec­trico) and Jon Barry lead the way. PI­ANO IMPROV Alexan­der Hawkins Trio WHO’S AFRAID OF VIR­GINIA WOOLF? “That’s the idea,” an­nounces Es­tragon dur­ing Wait­ing For Godot: “let’s abuse each other.” It’s a good way to pass the time, and so Beck­ett’s tramps hurl in­sults at each other like two spite­ful du­el­lists – joy­fully at first, un­til some­body takes things too far. Ed­ward Al­bee’s cou­ple, Ge­orge and Martha, would never have stopped there. In the pan­theon of toxic re­la­tion­ships, this New Eng­land pro­fes­sor and his wife, the col­lege pres­i­dent’s daugh­ter, are now about as iconic as Amer­ica’s First Cou­ple, the Wash­ing­tons, for whom they are named.

Early in the Gate’s new pro­duc­tion of Al­bee’s still vi­ciously en­thralling 1962 play, De­nis Con­way and Fiona Bell en­gage in a such bat­tle, un­til they hit a crescendo and dis­solve into laugh­ter. It’s a re­veal­ing mo­ment: like those cou­ples who seem to get off on row­ing in pub­lic, there’s some­thing para­dox­i­cally sus­tain­ing about these ef­forts to break each other down. It’s a part­ner­ship that is as bit­ter as it is bind­ing.

But some­thing else holds them to­gether: a shared se­cret that goes far be­yond a game. When they bring a young cou­ple (Mark Hu­ber­man and So­phie Robin­son) home for a night­cap, over a long night warped with booze, that com­pact must come to a bru­tal end. Can they sur­vive with­out it? Di­rec­tor David Grind­ley, who ex­pertly con­ducted The Gigli Concert last year, is just as at­ten­tive here to the heart­beats, flut­ters and at­tacks of Al­bee’s clas­sic.

This is a more gru­elling ex­pe­ri­ence – through a com­bi­na­tion of Jonathan Fen­som’s en­tomb­ing red set, the lengthy du­ra­tion and Bell’s mag­nif­i­cent per­for­mance, you move from be­ing riv­eted and amused to feel­ing as drunk and trapped as they do. Un­usu­ally for Ge­orge and Martha, though, that is in­tended as a com­pli­ment.

Un­til June 11, gateth­e­atre.ie. See list­ings, p21, for de­tails

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