Sunday, June 30, 2013

The 1913 Lockout

In our decade of centenary events, the 1913 Dublin Lockout is next.  An interesting commemorative event is planned throughout July and August.

The Dublin Tenement Experience lets visitors into number 14 Henrietta St to experience the tenements up close.  This particular building is unchanged since 1913.  Henrietta St, to my mind, is one of the most interesting streets in Dublin.  It was built by 18th century property developer, Luke Gardiner, who lived at number 10.  The street was then inhabited by wealthy merchants, business people and landed gentry.  However, within a century, it had become a street of poverty.  The 1911 cencus records vver 1000 people living on Henrietta St, with families living in one room or even sharing. 

The tour runs 6 days a week and costs a modest €5.50.  Booking can be made through their website.  I hope to get along to it during July and report back.

If you're interested in knowing more about the Lockout, get yourself a copy of Strumpet City by James Plunkett, which is also, fittingly, this year's One City, One Book pick.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Mousetrap

The Mousetrap is currently running at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre for a week.  I saw it play tonight to a full house.

World's longest continually running play.
This tour celebrates 60 years of it.
The audience is asked at the end of the play to never reveal whodunnit.  Unusually, people adhere to this.
Agatha Christie gifted her grandson with the royalties of this play.  He ended up being her only descendant, so he got the lot.  Which must be a lot.

So since tradition prevents me from divulging too much, I will only say: it's funny, it's good, if you like Christie, you will like this.

Tickets start from €18.  It finishes on Saturday.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review - Shush in the Abbey Theatre

The latest play on the Abbey stage is Shush, a comedy by Elaine Murphy about a girls' night in. It plays its stereotypes well instead of falling victim to them, and most importantly it's just damn funny. Shush is set in modern Dublin but avoids the temptation to bemoan the state of affairs.

A thoroughly enjoyable comedy with some terrific one-liners.
Rating: ****

Shush runs in the Abbey Theatre until 20th July 2013. Tickets cost from €13 to €40.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dublin Hip-Hop

Hip-hop is not my thing, but I guess it's good to see Dubliners trying out musical styles that aren't just more of the same. Axis Ballymun have an event on Friday 21st featuring an artist called Lethal Dialect. No, I hadn't heard of him before either, but if you type "Lethal" into Youtube his name comes up ahead of "Lethal Weapon", so someone must like his material.

Details from Axis:
Axis presents “The Home Sessions: Lethal Dialect.” This one off gig will see Lethal Dialect performing vintage tracks coupled with unheard material from his brand new album 1988, currently being recorded at axis. This is a unique opportunity to catch never before heard Lethal Dialect tracks mixed with old favourites in an unplugged setting.

Event Details:

Date: Friday 21st June
Time: 9pm
Tickets €5
Address: axis, Main Street, Ballymun, Dublin 9
Telephone: 01 883 2100
Twitter: @axisBallymun

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Abigail's Party

I was at the opening night of Abigail's Party in the Gaiety last night. 
The play was written by Mike Leigh and the original 1977 production starred his then wife, Alison Steadman (of later fame as Mrs Bennet in the superlative 1995 BBC Pride & Prejudice) in the main role of Beverly.  This current production retains the original setting and comes to us after a successful run in the West End.

The drama takes places over the course of an evening's gathering at Beverly and Laurence's home, with new neighbours, Tony and Angela, and old neighbour, Sue.  A lot of the comedy comes from their accents, mannerisms and physicality, while the conversation revolves around intensely mundane topics, while the characters get drunker and drunker.  Hannah Waterman, on stage for almost the entire play, deserves praise for her performance as Beverly, as does Samuel James for his ability to say so much with very short dialogue as Tony.

I particularly liked the set - a symphony of browns and oranges as befits the late 1970s setting.  It was very reminiscent of my childhood but I did wonder if this setting, and the things I found amusing in it, were originally meant to be funny.  When the play was first performed, it would have been a perfectly normal suburban setting.  Things like Beverly sticking a bottle of beaujolais in the fridge is funny now but would it have been then?  For me the best part was a dance sequence, about which not much can be said without giving the game away.

As the play progresses, the tone of it makes the final act drama seem very sudden and melodramatic, while still providing the laughs.
It runs for just one week and, though I'm still hearing ads, I've also heard of problems getting tickets.  These short runs (another coming next week to the Gaiety) don't leave much time for word of mouth and organising tickets.  Would a two-week run work better?