Abbey Theatre. Jul 28 – Aug 19 7.30pm ¤13-¤45 abbeytheatre.ie In 1932, at the beginning of De Valera’s Ireland, and the last years of the bitterly divided Free State, James Gralton returned to Leitrim from America. Reopening the Pearse-Connolly Hall, a secular community space he built years earlier for cultural lessons, debates and dancing, Gralton was an enthusiastic organiser who was insufficiently deferential to either church or state. Barely a year later he was deported as an illegal alien from the country of his birth. Adapted from Ken Loach’s 2014 film, director Graham McLaren burnishes Gralton’s legend for the Abbey Theatre with a production that takes the form of a ceilidh, performed by a bright ensemble of player-performers whose jigs, dancing and audience address suggest what might happen if
Once The Musical met the populist agit-prop of Scotland’s legendary 7:84. Jubilant and earnest, sometimes to the point of self-seriousness, it is buoyed by the idea that any gathering has revolutionary potential, but is most steady in the simple joys of bringing people together.