Saturday 21 April 2018

Circus, musicals, dance – just some reasons to soak up the arts in Galway

Colin Murphy

The Galway Arts Festival is always one of the theatre highlights of the year – here are 10 reasons to go to Galway this month. (See www.galwayartsfestival.com for details.)

1. Tom Vaughan-Lawlor

If there's any justice, Vaughan-Lawlor will become one of the great Irish actors, and if he does, you could get to say you saw him up close, in the (bare) flesh, in an extraordinary one-man show by Mark O'Rowe (one of the great Irish writers). It's officially sold out, but if a play's worth going to, it's worth queueing for returns for. (July 22-27, An Taibhdhearc)

2. Fabulous Beast

When you have to coin the phrase "dance theatre" to describe someone's work, you know both dance and theatre have taken a wrong turn somewhere. Michael Keegan-Dolan's work defies pigeon-holing. He brings a double-bill of ballets by Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring and Petrushka, to the Galway stage. (July 13-20, Black Box Theatre)

3. Olwen Fouéré

Fouéré is another theatre artist who defies categorisation. Here, she is performer, director and adapter – of no less a text than Joyce's Finnegan's Wake. Riverrun is her response to the voice of the river, Anna Livia Plurabelle, in the novel, and sees her collaborating with sound designer Alma Kelleher. (July 18-27, Druid Lane Theatre)

4. Northlight Theatre

The American company had a hit last year with The Outgoing Tide by Bruce Graham. This year, they return with a new play by Graham, Stella and Lou, which has also been a hit for them at home in Chicago. Proving that the relationship isn't all one way, next year in Chicago they will premiere a play by Galway writer Christian O'Reilly. (July 16-21, Town Hall Theatre)

5. Christian O'Reilly

And the very same O'Reilly, whose play, The Good Father, was one of the most auspicious debuts of the early noughties, features in the festival with Sanctuary, a play about love between people with intellectual disabilities, produced by Blue Teapot Theatre Company. (July 17-27, Blue Teapot Theatre)

6. Casus circus

Galway has a great relationship with "new circus" and young Australian company Casus aims to live up to the standards set by their predecessors. To judge by the trailer on YouTube, their show Knee Deep has a defiantly sexy, late-night-vibe take on the circus arts. (July 22-28, Black Box Theatre)

7. Hyperactive

John Scott has produced some of my favourite dance work and his new show, Hyperactive, looks similarly exciting. It's playing for one show only, which is free, on July 21, at the Absolut Festival Gallery.

8. Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy's work explores the psychic history of the Irish nation. Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe brings us An Tíoránach Drogallach, a translation of The Last Days of a Reluctant Tyrant, which made for a powerful production in English at the Abbey a few years ago. (July 16-20, An Taibhdhearc)

9. A Galway Girl

Galway girl Geraldine Aron has had a varied and successful career as a writer for stage and screen, with Fringe Firsts and West End runs to her name. This Bewley's Café Theatre production revives her 1979 play about the struggle to keep a marriage together. (July 16-27, Bank of Ireland Theatre)

10. The Adventures of Shay Mouse

It may be "for adults and children", but with a cast of 32 plus live band, this musical by Pat McCabe is no modest affair. Adapted from his own novel, it tells of Shay's adventures as he is forced to flee across the Midlands after his home woods are taken over by an evil rat gang. (July 15-28, Nuns Island Theatre)

Next week's column features an interview with Yael Farber, the director of a further show coming to Galway, Mies Julie.

colinmurphy@independent.ie

Irish Independent

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