March Blog: Theatrical Treats 

With World Theatre Day earlier this week (March 27th) it really brought home to me what an stunning collection of theatres we have in Dublin, and around the country. I was scanning my mind for the various theatres I that regularly attend in Dublin and it made me realised what a diverse selection we have. Even considering that, arguably, we’re a fairly small city we can match and overtake many of our larger rivals. Not only do we have the stalwarts, such as the Abbey Theatre (Ireland’s National Theatre), the Olympia, the Gate, and The Gaiety, we’re also home to Smock Alley, one of the oldest theatres around. Besides the big guns we’ve a plethora of smaller theatre and arts centers that, simply put, are amazing. The New Theatre, Project Arts Centre, Theatre Upstairs, The Viking, Bewley’s Cafe Theatre (currently at Powerscourt Theatre) and these are just the ones that instantly come to mind- there are plenty more to choose from. What I love about having such a collection it that there’s always something for everyone, whether it’s a large scale travelling West End production or a 40 minute debut show in a make shift space. I have to admit I’ve always had a soft spot for smaller scale productions and I think it’s utterly brilliant that tickets for some shows cost as little as €10 (that’s cheaper that a cinema ticket and some popcorn). Smaller scale shows also tend not be be as lengthy- a major annoyance of mine is shows that are needlessly long; anything over 2 and a half hours and I have to strongly consider if it’s going to be worth it. Anything over 3 hours better be the damned best show in the universe (and I’ve yet to see that). Less, in my humble opinion, is always more.

Being spoilt for choice can make it to decide on what shows to attend, when I’m not reviewing them that is. I recently went to see Dublin By Lamplight by Michael West, for my own viewing pleasure, which is currently running at the Abbey Theatre until April 1st. This was, without any doubt, the best show of 2017 I’ve see so far. Hilarious but incredibly touching, this is a charming old-school, vaudevillian piece that casts a satirical eye on us all . Directed by Annie Ryan, the ensembles cast are unquestionably superb, not to mention the accompaniments by composer/pianist Conor Linehan. Dublin By Lamplight really is a theatrical treat. Perhaps I enjoyed it all the more because I wasn’t reviewing it, but even now I feel compelled to state how good it was and what a shame it would be for anyone to miss it.
March has been good to me theatrically I must say, and I was back on RTE Arena earlier this month to review The Effect by Lucy Prebble. This, too, was a great show, though worlds apart from Dublin By Lamplight in terms of story and presentation. That said, like most stories, it has the human condition and how we relate to, and love, each other at its heart. My review of The Effect can be listened to here.

I sometimes forget how lucky I am to be able to attend as many shows as I do (though like most things it can be a mixed blessing at times). If you haven’t been to the theatre lately, regardless of your interests and likes, try to make a point of attending a show in the coming month. If you can’t find something that tickles your fancy, you simply aren’t looking hard enough. If you still can’t find something, take a chance on something you normally wouldn’t and don’t forget to support the little guys as much as you can.
Do you have a favourite theatre or performance space in Dublin or Ireland? Let me know in the comments.

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