Saturday 18 November 2017

All the fun of the Fringe Festival

Emer O'Kelly is looking forward to this year's Tiger Fringe Festival

The dazzlingly talented Panti Bliss stars in the show ‘Riot’
The dazzlingly talented Panti Bliss stars in the show ‘Riot’

The 16 days of the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival begin on September 20, and the programmers describe it as the "boldest, wildest and most spectacular yet".

The aim of a fringe is to be outrageous and unpredictable, a standard set many years ago by the Edinburgh Fringe. The problem, of course, is that this can lead to a lot of self-indulgence at the expense of the professionalism that even the most laidback and cool audiences have a right to expect.

(At one Fringe festival, I saw a supposed play which was a long whinge from a would-be actress about how she deserved to be loved and appreciated because she was an unrecognised genius, and it wasn't fair that nobody loved her. I wasn't surprised that nobody did. The production budget, such as it was, would have been better spent on a couple of psychotherapy sessions.)

A lot of the time, though, Fringe works; and with the hundreds of different spectacles, shows and cabarets, there's more than enough to satisfy every open-minded, discerning taste. And leading the charge this year will be Thisispopbaby, featuring/starring Miss Panti Bliss. She may have become fashionably iconic, but that is entirely separate from the fact that Rory O'Neill the performer is as dazzlingly talented as Miss Panti is a committed gay rights campaigner. The show is called Riot.

Other longtime favourites will include Deirdre O'Kane with her new one-woman stand-up, I Dee, and Jason Byrne "doing" Jason Byrne Is Propped Up.

The company White Label will present Override, a new play by award-winner Stacy Gregg, while New York's underground queen Penny Arcade will take to the Peacock stage.

And there's more, much more, including the 11 "actual" plays I hope to see, including a couple from the Fishamble-produced Show in a Bag series.

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