Wednesday 17 January 2018

Cheer, shout, heckle and dance till dawn – a day in the life of the Fringe Festival

Colin Murphy

The programme for the Dublin Fringe Festival, currently in full flight, can be bewildering. Crammed full of shows, it can be difficult to pick out any particular play as a "must see". Instead, try using the programme as a city guide: put it in your pocket and set out to see as much as you can in a day.

Check out the daily timetable on (or at the back of the printed programme) for options. Here's a suggested route for next Saturday, September 14 – all of the shows here are also on either this week or next.

Start at 1pm, at Liberty Hall, on the corner of Beresford Place. Exactly 100 years ago, Jim Larkin led rallies here during the Lockout of 20,000 workers. Anu Productions, probably the most exciting company working in Dublin at the moment, is running 13 events during the Fringe at separate venues to commemorate the Lockout, and this, Speakers' Corner, is one of them.

Listen to your fellow citizens as they stand on the soap box to address the challenges of today – or make a speech yourself. Cheer, shout, heckle, interrupt – and try to imagine it as it was a century ago.

Don't get too carried away, though, because you've to leave at about 1.40pm. Head down the river to the Beckett Bridge, cross over and continue to the Lir on Pearse Street, for a 2pm encounter with some of the leading talents on the Fringe this year, in Lippy.

Based on the horrifying true story of the suicide pact of four women in Leixlip, this new play is written by Bush Moukarzel with Mark O'Halloran (writer of the films Garage and Adam and Paul), with a super cast. (Moukarzel's Souvenir was one of the hits of the Fringe last year.)

There's a different kind of horror on offer down the road. Cross Grand Canal Dock and head down Ringsend Road. There, at Windmill Lane Studio 3, Conor Lonergan has created Labyrinth, a 20-minute "horror survival game" in which you're trapped in a labyrinth and have to find your way out, guided by a mysterious voice (starting every half hour).

After that, you'll need some sustenance. Head back to Temple Bar, to the Project Arts Centre, where artist Jennie Moran has installed herself and her luncheonette in the foyer, to feed you and help you "make sense of things", in Supperette. The food is "not free or expensive", she promises (try the lemon and almond pound cake for €3).

After that, you'll need a nap – or, at least, to watch a show about naps. At 6.15pm in the Project, the aerial artists (the trendy title for acrobats) PaperDolls take to their beds in Bunk, a 50-minute circus fantasy about sleep, dreams and inner worlds.

Revived, here are three options for your main evening show. Stay in the Project for Break by Amy Conroy, at 8.15pm: this part-musical promises new and hilarious insights into the world of the staff room. (This show is also touring to Draíocht, Blanchardstown, later in the month.)

Or go next door to the New Theatre at 8pm, for Postscript by Noelle Brown and Michele Forbes, a detective story with a twist, based on the true story of Brown's experience of being adopted and searching for her birth parents.

Or head down to the Sam Beckett Theatre in Trinity for 8.45pm, for Distance From The Event.

This piece of "science fiction meets Irish noir" is the latest production by one of the rising stars on the Dublin Fringe, Collapsing Horse Theatre Company, which received rave notices for Monster/Clock.

Finally, end the night with a science fiction blowout at a gig by Le Galaxie, rated the best dance band in the country at the moment, replete with 3D effects. That's at Meeting House Square, till late. Dance till dawn: you can sleep tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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