Tag Archives: Laurence Falconer

The Smock Alley Theatre: Boyz Of Harcourt Street

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“Boys will be boys.”

– Proverb

There is a very particular type of people on this earth – the “live for the weekend” type of people; those who drag themselves through the week just so they can enjoy the hell out of a weekend. And we all know what “enjoy” really stands for. If a weekend was good who cares that you don’t remember more half of it?

Rocket Octopus Theatre Company presents Boyz from Harcourt Street. Fosterson (played by Keith-James Walker), Gavmeister (played by Brendan O’Donohue) and D’Arce (played by Laurence Falconer) are indeed three boys; it’s true that they are already in their twenties holding an office job and being able to pay for their own booze and coke (and not the pepsi kind), but no tongue would turn to call those three – men. Cubicle next to cubicle, they spend one hundred percent of their time together: be it at work, home or out partying. They know each other better than anyone else; they’ve been almost hand in hand through it all: love, loss, buying cocaine off a junkie, crashing a car, spending a night in a stranger’s house in Carlow (yes, it is a big deal when for somebody whose comfort zone quite literally goes as far as Dublin’s Harcourt Street), being possessed by a demon… but it seems like nothing can destroy the friendship of these three. But (and there is always a but -one way or another – in every good story) something big is going to happen, and it’s going to happen soon.

Boyz of Harcourt Street, masterly directed by Eoghan Carrick, presents easily recognizable elements of Commedia dell’Arte, which converts this play into a complete and utter farce, but a hugely hilarious and enjoyable farce.

Devised by the performers themselves (apart from Walker, who is replacing Rex Ryan for this run) and Ian Toner, Boyz of Harcourt Street presents an absolutely brilliant and skillful ensemble of acting, miming and movement. The easily identifiable ruthless and careless white collar fellas, who clearly live for the party and buzz, become somewhat more human and interesting to watch thanks to the perfectly timed facial and physical expressions given by the three actors on stage. And even though the play is an unstoppable comedy from beginning to end, the theme of loosing a friend finally finds its absolute climax in one  of the very last scenes and it’s heartbreaking.

Boyz of Harcourt Street stands out from the very first second. It might not even be the script or the directing, but the fact that it’s one of very few plays nowadays that uses hand-made sound effects on stage (by Tiernan Kearns). It’s a rarity and a real privilege to witness such a precise and well-crafted masterpiece of sounds used during a live performance. The absolute genius of it is that thanks solely to those sound effects and put-on voices, a whole world was created. The play also benefited hugely from the usage of music (the cheesy over-played but yet so beloved and nostalgia-evoking tunes from the 80s) and movement bringing otherwise static scenes to a complete change of mood and energy.

Boyz of Harcourt Street is perfect for a fun night out. This easy to watch and to enjoy ridiculously amusing play will keep you laughing and cheering long after it’s over. For more info or to book tickets: http://smockalley.com/boyz-harcourt-street-2/

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Filed under Boyz of Harcourt Street, Rocket Octopus Theatre Company, Smock Alley Theatre

Theatre Upstairs: Tales from the Woods

After two interviews, pictures of guest speakers and comments by people who had already seen Tales from the Woods, the Hallowe’eny play brought by Theatre Upstairs and The Gumption Theatre Company, I thought I knew the performance inside out. How wrong was I!

I was nicely surprised from the moment I walked into the auditorium of Theatre Upstairs. Absolutely gorgeous set, designed by Theatre Upstairs very own Laura Honan, puts you into the right mood straight away. The ginger leaves covering the floor, a self-rocking chair, a spooky doll, an old-tape player… there is no place for a mistake: you are not in the middle of rainy Dublin anymore. This is the dark, mysterious, dangerous for some, liberating for others Woods. The light and the sound effects howling somewhere in the background just add to the intimate atmosphere of stepping on the unknown path, where there is not a single light at the end.

The play starts with a very soothing and comforting voice of a grandmother (spoken by Irene Shiels) who is telling bedtime stories to her little granddaughter:

Chapter I: “The ballad of Ginny Fogarty”, written by Kate Gilmore and directed by Karl Shiels. This piece is based on the song “The River Saile”, which is a very obscure tune, telling not such a happy story of a woman who killed her baby. The mini-play features three girls: Eilís Carey, Marnie Mccleane-Fay and India Mullen, who are playing truth or dare. And, as it happens, in the best traditions of an old haunted house horror films, one of the girls is being dared to knock on the door of an abandoned house where Ginny Fogarty once used to live. No need to say that nothing good comes out of this idea.

The piece features an absolutely beautiful and tragically touching interpretation of the song performed by Kate Gilmore.

Chapter II: “The beast in the woods”, written by Gary Duggan and directed by Karl Shiels. This “Little Red Riding-Hood” type of story that marries the modern world with the old prejudice. Are things always what they seem? The woods is indeed a very dark place… it’s probably the only place, where you’d rather meet a lonely male stranger than a small little girl.

This full of symbolism mini-play features India Mullen, who gives an extraordinary performance as The Girl, and the voice of Gary Duggan.

Chapter III: “The children played at slaughtering” is a mini-play developed by Karl Shiels and The Gumption Theatre Company.

The third and last piece is the darkest one. Rayne (played by Shane O’Regan) and Root (played by Dave Rowe) are two brothers from a small village, who decide to play at slaughtering one day. Naive (or maybe not so much?) one of them takes the role of the butcher upon himself, the second one plays his assistant, the third, a younger boy, is playing the pig. When the two brothers finally reach the pig, they kill him. But shall the young brothers be punished?

This grim story of lost innocence and justice also features Marnie Mccleane-Fay, who brilliantly plays the silent Plague Doctor.

This spooky and very atmospheric production is a perfect proof of how many levels a theatre can work on. Such a beautiful and strong interpretation of every single character by The Gumption Theatre Company brought up the creepiest in each one of the three mini-plays and made you feel your hair standing up on the back of your neck. The effect is even bigger when you realise that you are part of the show and in front of you are real people.

Theatre Upstairs is a kind of house you would want to knock on the door of on Hallowe’en for they have a whole hand full of  treats for you!

Tales from the Woods runs until November 7th with two performances on the last day! Would you want to wait another year to see something that great and that scary? Of course, not! Book your tickets here: http://www.theatreupstairs.ie/tales-from-the-woods

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Filed under Tales from the woods, The Gumption Theatre Company, Theatre Upstairs