Entertainment Theatre & Arts

Saturday 19 October 2019

All the city's a stage for the Dublin Theatre Festival

Great Dane: the Oscar-nominated Ruth Negga will tread the boards at The Gate in Hamlet
Great Dane: the Oscar-nominated Ruth Negga will tread the boards at The Gate in Hamlet

Shakespeare's Hamlet has a special place in the history of Dublin's Gate theatre, with co-founder Micheál Mac Liammóir famous for his interpretation of the young Danish prince, playing the part well into his fifties. Now, 90 years after the foundation of that theatre, Ruth Negga takes the part. It is Negga's first time on an Irish stage in 11 years, and a great chance to see the Oscar-nominated actor strutting her stuff in a meaty role. Directed by South African superstar Yaël Farber. (Gate Theatre, Sept 21 - Oct 27)

Irish National Opera presents Bluebeard's Castle by early 20th-century Hungarian composer Béla Bartók. Conducted by André de Ridder, it is a 60-minute work sung in Hungarian with English surtitles. Director Enda Walsh has a disruptive and outreaching vision of opera. His innovative engagement with composer Donnacha Dennehy last year produced The Second Violinist, whose radical features included an almost mute central part. With an emphasis on theatricality as much as musicality, Walsh is sure to light a fire under this popular two-hander. (Gaiety Theatre, Oct 12 - 14)

Dance innovators Junk Ensemble present The Bystander, an interrogation of the concept of the "bystander effect", a phenomenon described after a 1964 murder of a New York woman was witnessed by 38 people, none of whom called for help. This new work is created, directed and choreographed by Jessica Kennedy and Megan Kennedy in collaboration with the cast. Junk Ensemble make fiercely intelligent dance theatre, with a significant and compelling narrative drive. Intellectual bodies in action. (Axis Ballymun, Oct 4 - 6)

Pan Pan Theatre bring their ultra-theatrical vision to the concept of artificial intelligence in ELIZA's Adventures in the Uncanny Valley. Directed by Gavin Quinn and designed by Aedín Cosgrove, with a script by Quinn and Eugene O'Brien. In the 1960s, MIT developed artificial intelligence software called ELIZA, its title a reference to George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion. Here, Eliza meets four other characters, some of whom may or may not be real. They explore love, death, metaphysics, evil and evolution. Already my head hurts, but in a good way. (Samuel Beckett Theatre, Oct 3 - 7)

Visitors from the USA, Elevator Repair Service, bring Everyone's Fine With Virginia Woolf over from New York, after its world première. The company delighted Dublin during the 2008 DTF with Gatz, their eight-hour rendition of F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. They continue their interrogation of American classics with a feminist take-down of Edward Albee's influential drama Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, charting the power dynamics of one of the cornerstone fighting-couples of western theatre. Written by Kate Scelsa and directed by John Collins. (O'Reilly Theatre, Oct 4 - 7)

Playwright Deirdre Kinahan's new work Rathmines Road is produced by Fishamble: The New Play Company in collaboration with the Abbey Theatre. Kinahan's writing is characterised by an emotional intensity and an interrogative approach to meaty themes, though her humorous range was ably demonstrated in her popular version of Michel Tremblay's Les Belles-Sœurs (The Unmanageable Sisters), on the Abbey's main stage earlier this year. Directed by Jim Culleton, Ireland's maestro of the new play. (Civic Theatre, Oct 4 - 6; Peacock Theatre, Oct 9 - 27)

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