ABSOLUT Fringe is a curated festival i.e. unlike some fringe festivals only a minority of aspiring participants actually get through the selection process. This year it was about one in five, so the organisers are confident of the quality of their shows.
One very friendly company I spoke to are The Children. The members of the company got to know each other through the Dublin Youth Theatre and then progressed on to forming their own company. For their Fringe show, Does Anybody Ever, they're doing the behind-the-scenes work. The three actors are also from a DYT background. The play is about three grown-up children and how they relate to each other, but stylistically it's abstract and conceptual rather than gritty and realistic.
A very different style of play is Talking Shop Ensemble's Do You Read Me?, on one level a work of "Documentary Theatre" about mediumship but at the same time a play about Ireland's attempts to find something to believe in. The show is a collaboration with Shaun Dunne, and I think it'll be a cracker.
One of the things I'm most excited about is that Smock Alley Theatre is reopening. Lucky Shaun Dunne et al. will be the first play in the reopened theatre.
If the return of Smock Alley is good, even bigger and better is the opening of the new Lir Theatre in Grand Canal Dock. One of the first plays will be Cult by Diet of Worms. Fundit.ie regulars will already be familiar with it - Diet of Worms successfully raised funding for the play on the site. Cult tells the story of five members of a cult "left behind" after their movement's mass ascension. I think this play could be the hit of the festival.
This will be a good September.