Review: Charolais, when a cow brought a tear to my eye

Charolais Photo by Sally Anne Kelly

I’m making a concrete effort this year to get to more shows in The Dublin Fringe Festival. Maybe I’m trying to make good on last year’s (yes 2013’s) resolution to see more theatre. I am the cultural bulimic that I may or may not have spoken about during my undergrad viva voce.

Wow, that sentence is full of hot air.

That sentence couldn’t be less like the lunchtime play I attended in Bewley’s last Sunday. Charolais is full of shit. And muck. And blood. Cows. Jeeps. Kitchen tables. In other words, very down to earth, realistic. It’s a one woman show about a love triangle between a woman, her man and his cow with a little bit of his mother thrown in for good measure. Hilarious (guffawing out loud hilarious) and moving, this Show in a Bag is technically excellent as well: minimal set and lighting are augmented by extremely clever but simple costume and hair changes. Written and performed by Noni Stapleton and directed by Bairbre Uí Chaoimh the site for this drama is very much Stapleton’s body, rather than any particular stage, which she uses to great effect. This in itself is a metaphor for the action of the play which is occurring in the bodies of the main character, Siobhán, and her farmer lad’s Charolais, who are both living that which is many females’ most physically dramatic experience: pregnancy.

Charolais Photo by Sally Anne Kelly
Charolais Photo by Sally Anne Kelly

It doesn’t escape my attention that the last play I reviewed was also situated in the drama of the female body and while Charolais is no less dramatic than Between Water and Trees, it is likely a far more accessible production. Interesting though that two productions that I have attended almost by accident have focused on this topic.

If you fancy a lunch time or tea time pick me up this week (check Fringe site for times) get yourself along to this most excellent and original production.

Buíochas le mo chomrádaí ollscoile a roghnaigh an dráma íontach seo dúinn. Go raibh maith agat agus ná ligimid chomh fada arís é!

Ironically this awaited me on my return home:

Roast beef
Roast beef

Next up I hope to see Eating Seals and Seagulls’ Eggs which I understand examines, amongst other things, our relationship with the most hated woman in Irish History: Peig Sayers.

Photo credit: Sally Anne Kelly

Quick review: Between Trees and Water, Dublin Fringe Festival

Between Trees and Water. Photo credit John Allen

I’m sorry I don’t have enough time to do “Between Trees and Water” the justice it deserves but I’m also conscious that time is of the essence if you are to make it to see this compelling production by Painted Bird Productions as part of the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival. It runs here in Dublin until Sunday with matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 1pm in South Studios on New Row South.

Between Trees and Water. Photo credit John Allen
Between Trees and Water. Photo credit John Allen

Based on a collection of documents relating to an illegal abortion in Cork in 1939 the fabulous ensemble acting of the cast and subtle costume, set and lighting weave an evocative piece of theatre. They capture the dun, smoke-yellowed, enamel and brown bottle ordinariness of the lives shattered by this event. Their repeated use of certain words like “responsibility”, “girl” and “married man” remind you of the morals that brought these people into this parlous state. One sequence where the cast members regard the missing victim is particularly thought-provoking. I was not surprised to read in the programme that the director, Fiona McGeown, had studied at L’ecole de mime corporeal dramatique as the physical realisation of a story bound up with the very physical was enthralling. I could not pick one actor from the cast as I felt that the ensemble work was impressive. I could go on but I’ve run out of time.

Between Trees & Water – Painted Bird Productions from Julie Kelleher on Vimeo.

Go and see it before it’s gone. I’m off to Charolais on Sunday so another review to follow. Special thanks to my good pal Aoife for getting me out of the house and down to this show 🙂

The (fore)play’s the thing

Went to see Love in the Time of Affluence in the Crypt last night. I laughed but I also did a lot of cringing with my parents sitting beside me. The play was all about sex in Dublin. Mind you the fact that I was sitting there with my own child kicking up a storm made me realise that no doubt my parents have heard it all before. In 20 odd years time that will be Himself and me sitting in a theatre watching our child cringe. Weird.

So it was all about sex in Dublin. Of all the things you could choose to link a disparate bunch of people, in a way it is the least interesting. It’s a very noughties version of a day in the life of a penny. If the stories, as oppposed to the linking, and the characters are not interesting, believable, if you feel no empathy to any of them then what is the point? Basically it was all just a little bit too caught up with its own cleverness at coming up with this great idea of linking characters throught sex. Yawn


The modem in work is back in action at last and hopefully there’ll be a few more posts.

At last I’ll be able to use Google again and buy DublinBus tickets and look at various minority language websites that I have been really dying to see…!!

I have a photo from this morning but can’t access my ftp now. Oh the day I have had you wouldn’t believe. I am so sick of computers. I’m away home now and I am going to see a play this evening. I don’t even know what the play is called but I will at least be able to vent my praise/ disgust/ joy or whatever here tomorrow morning. God I hope it is good. An acquaintance is in it and my parents are coming along with me because they also know him from years back and they like to be supportive. Reserve judgement, Roseanne, reserve judgement.