Fringing Theatrical Bets

Diana Stokes and JJ Tuite discuss their top picks for the upcoming Dublin Fringe Festival

Since its founding in 1995, the Dublin Fringe Festival has sought to highlight the immense creativity of Dublin’s independent artists through a month-long festival demonstrating their capabilities. From interactive art exhibitions highlighting the best of Dublin’s independent artists through their creative and technical abilities, to podcasts featuring some of Dublin’s best comedians telling humorous tales of their lives and experiences, there is plenty Fringe has to offer. However, there is little doubt that the two central pillars of the upcoming festival are its comedy and theatre shows which in the past have involved many artists – including Netflix star and Trinity alumnus Danielle Galligan and playwright Eva O’Connor who was nominated for best actress at the Irish Times Theatre Awards in 2009. This year’s line-up appears just as promising as previous ones, with a wide range of shows for Dubliners of all stripes and backgrounds.

For the comedy lovers out there, there are plenty of good shows to get your laughter on track. Take Chiron: A One Centaur Show by Fionn Clearly for example: a 60-minute stand-up comedy show featuring a centaur telling his story after he got “shot with a poison arrow, creating an incurable wound.” Perfect for those who are a little cynical about life or conversely always find the silver lining. The show also mulls over the fact that he, the centaur, may be chronically ill forever, and tries to find humour within the shadows of the things that life throws our way. For your planning purposes, tickets for the Pearse Centre experience are just €12-14.

The festival is even set to include one of the few Irish language comedy shows in Dublin. ‘Craic den as Gaeilge’ is scheduled to be performed at Little Whelan’s comedy club on September 10 and 17. Although it may seem intimidating for non-Gaeilgeoirí, the show will not be conducted exclusively through the Irish language; the aim is to instead “have the craic and poke fun at our first language.” So, whether you are a native speaker, just know your ‘cúpla focail’ or are looking to immerse yourself more in the Irish language without the monotony of Duolingo, ‘Craic den as Gaelige’ is certainly a show to keep your eyes out for.

“As far as theatre-goers are concerned, they can rest assured that this year’s line-up will not leave them wanting”

As far as theatre-goers are concerned, they can rest assured that this year’s line-up will not leave them wanting. With at least forty stage productions to take place all over Dublin, it is impossible to give fair coverage to all the upcoming theatrical performances. Instead, we will direct your attention to just two shows that have caught our eyes. The first show you should look out for is the short play Mosaic by Louis Deslis. A bilingual French actor and playwright, Deslis trained at the Gaiety School of Acting, has written and performed his previous 2019 Little Gem Award Winning show Patchwork, here at the Dublin Fringe. Mosaic tells the story of a man who, following a hard break up, travels from Dublin back to France to mind his hard-of-hearing grandmother after she suffers a broken leg. In doing so, the writer conveys emotions of “going home, the things we can’t say and the things we hear even without being said.” Readers should be advised that this show does cover issues relating to mental health and may cover upsetting material for some. That being said, Deslis’s use of dark subject matter does not detract from the show’s joie de vivre (French for ‘craic’). The show will be taking place from September 9-16 at the Cube-Arts Centre in Temple Bar with tickets from €13-€15.

On the more chaotic side of the theatre category, the 70-minute show Dog Shit by Bellaray Bertrand-Webb & Ursula McGinn is sure to entertain. Self-described as a show about the “fine line between friendship and competitors,Dog Shit is a four-person (and three pet) drama about a summer afterparty turned sour after the appearance of an unwanted person. Centered around the “conflict between the arts and tech industry in Dublin,” Dog Shit is sure to be an interesting interpretation of human conflict and competitiveness. It runs from September 13-16 at 6 pm, with alternative performances being offered on September 14 and 16 at 1 pm. Both performances’ tickets are €15 and €13 at the New Theatre. 

If the wordiness of comedy and drama fails to capture your interest and you desire something more visual, then you can be sure that the Fringe will not leave you wanting. The Garden of Shadows visible display is a collaboration between the Dublin Fringe Festival and National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, which through amazing light shows and immersive natural sounds “celebrates the beauty and interconnectedness of the natural world inviting you to appreciate a deeper understanding of our ecological surroundings.” The show is a successor to last year’s sold-out Remnant Ecologies which received a great deal of praise at last year’s edition of the festival. The Garden of Shadows is taking place on September 14 – 17, 19 & 20 from 20:30 pm  – 22:30 pm with tickets ranging from €13-€18 and from September 21 – 24 from 20:00 pm  – 22:30 pm with tickets at the same price. Readers should be advised that the show involves smoke machines,strobe lighting and takes place outside – if attending, one should dress appropriately.

Lastly for both the music and plant lovers out there, A Symbiotic Symphonic Movement by Laura Skehan with Clíona Ní Laoi, Masaya Ozaki and Banu Çiçek Tülü is a fascinating performance of experimental sonic and music responses to migrating plant data. Based on the weaving of individual and collective experiences through sound, A Symbiotic Symphonic Movement is “a story of connection, of adapting, of place-making and loss.” Taking place in the historical Teak House in the National Botanical Gardens of Glasnevin, this 60-minute show takes place right at the beginning of the Fringe Festival from September 9-11 at 8:30 pm. Tickets are €15 and €13. Note that this performance includes loud noises and has unreserved seating. 

“Overall, this year’s Fringe Festival should be an interesting and exciting blend of chaos, experimentation, and emotion that readers will be sure to enjoy”

Overall, this year’s Fringe Festival should be an interesting and exciting blend of chaos, experimentation, and emotion that readers will be sure to enjoy. There is bound to be a show that will catch your eye, so make sure to check out the Dublin Fringe Festival’s website for more information on shows as well as ticket information.