The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - THE TAKE -


Project Arts Cen­tre, Dublin. Pre­views Nov27Open­sNov28-Dec1.7.30pm (Fri-Sat7pm)¤15-¤20 pro­jec­tarts­cen­ More than a decade ago – but, re­ally, who’s keep­ing count? – the di­rec­tor Phillip McMa­hon and a gather­ing su­per­nova named Panti Bliss con­spired to put on a show to­gether. In These Shoes was an acidly funny first in­stal­ment of Panti’s au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, and as she rose from an un­der­ground sen­sa­tion to a na­tional trea­sure, that story was elab­o­rated and ex­tended across suc­ces­sive stage shows. There were other fac­tors that fa­cil­i­tated her as­cen­sion to be­come the Queen of Ire­land, an ac­ci­den­tal ac­tivist and an in­ter­na­tional spokesper­son, but for some, that stage was a telling in­tro­duc­tion.

McMa­hon’s com­pany, THISISPOPB­ABY, is not cam­paign­ing to in­stall a King of Ire­land, but it is of­fer­ing the plat­form of theatre to Tonie Walsh, the “God­fa­ther of Gay”. The leg­endary DJ, club im­pre­sario and ac­tivist is the ar­chi­tect be­hind in­nu­mer­able wild nights, from the cel­e­brated Flikkers and El­e­va­tor to H.A.M., par­ties that stirred a com­mu­nity and brought peo­ple to­gether. Par­ties have al­ways been po­lit­i­cal, and Walsh’s grav­i­ta­tion to­wards hous­ing rights, women’s right and queer rights brought him to stand for elec­tion at a lo­cal and na­tional level. Whether this show is a tribute or a launch­pad to some­thing else re­mains to be seen, but, as the ti­tle sug­gests, al­low these ground­break­ing col­lab­o­ra­tors to make the in­tro­duc­tion.


Bew­ley’sCaféTheat­re,Dublin.Un­til Dec11pm¤8-¤12 be­w­leyscafeth­e­ A dis­tin­guished war­rior on the foot­ball pitch, but lost at sea in mat­ters of the heart, the hero of Ken Ro­gan’s de­but play is glanc­ingly aware of his an­cient an­tecedents, men and myths who jour­neyed far for love and war. “Hec­tor,” he chances, at­tempt­ing to im­press one unattain­able woman. “Priam… Nis­san?” It’s all Greek to him. Ro­gan sub­tly matches a con­tem­po­rary pos­ture with the in­spi­ra­tion of epic po­etry, al­low­ing clas­sic echoes in Smithy’s jour­ney, while still keep­ing it all recog­nis­ably real. Com­mand­ing and be­liev­ably blunt, Daithí Mac Suib­hne will com­plain of “blue balls of the lips” when struck dumb or air griev­ances about “be­ing cock-blocked by a fuck­ing ghost” when aban­doned and ro­man­ti­cally adrift.

That helps to give the old­est tale the fresh­est ex­pres­sion pos­si­ble, im­mea­sur­ably as­sisted by Amelia Ste­wart’s di­rec­tion and Naomi Faugh­nan’s ef­fec­tive de­sign, alive to both brag­gado­cio, ten­der­ness and vul­ner­a­bil­ity. Smithy, of course, reels from any sug­ges­tion of weak­ness but be­comes a slave to his pas­sion, the sulk­ing cor­ner of a love tri­an­gle, seething with rage. Few short plays can con­tain so much so stealth­ily, from grand mythic ref­er­ences to the pri­vate dev­as­ta­tion of see­ing a fate­ful Face­book sta­tus up­date, and, more sat­is­fy­ingly, the sug­ges­tion that all these im­pos­si­ble hero nar­ra­tives – no less than the spin­ning gods of de­sire and anger – are an in­her­i­tance that will al­ways be with us.

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