It may be tough out there, but Irish theatre is responding with hard-nosed good sense. With funding cut, there’s a new focus on what audiences want. And in times of recession, as Michael Colgan says, they want entertainment. Here are ten shows in 2013 that look likely to entertain, and may well inspire.
Recent Irish theatre has lacked a master imagination: it’s too long since we have seen a new play to rival the best of John B Keane or Brian Friel or Tom Murphy. Or so I wrote this time last year, reviewing the theatre of 2011. In 2012, Irish theatre found a master imagination again. And… read more +
In late September, 1843, Charles Dickens was sent a recently-published report on child labour in Britain. It enraged him. He set about writing a response; six weeks later, he was finished. It was published on December 19 and was an instant success. On Christmas Day alone, it sold 6,000 copies
I’ve an essay-cum-investigation on the Smithfield horse fair in the current (summer) issue of the Dublin Review. It’s not online but can be bought here or in bookshops. One of my previous pieces for the Review, on the slow decline of the Irish language, is online here.
Almost a century ago, WB Yeats attempted to revolutionise the modern theatre with a concept so simple it was audacious: he would write plays designed to be staged in people’s drawing rooms.
When actor Conor Madden took a rapier thrust just under his eye during the final scene in Hamlet recently, he joined a long list of actors to whom tragedy on stage has come a little too close for comfort. The day he was injured, in a production by Second Age, company director Alan Stanford… read more +
‘The Order of the Phoenix Park’ by ‘Twenty Major’ is the worst book I have ever finished. Admittedly, I made it just 50 pages into ‘The Da Vinci Code’, which this satirises, and about the same into the first Ross O’Carroll Kelly book, which this apes. Between them, those books sold approximately 40,100,000 copies, worldwide…. read more +