Theatre Reviews: Botox Angels, McKenna’s Fort, Word Play, and BELLEΛEN Helen of Troy

Botox Angels

Helen of Troy is a pole-dancer, feminist lesbians decry assimilation, words get mixed up, and Roger Casement is on the move in our first round of reviews from the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival.


Botox Angels

Ratiing *****

“Women need men like a fish needs a hat” is one of the slogans I read when entering the theatre, before being faced with the manic site of three topless women with painted bodies, moving around on rollerskates.

Presented by Dutch company, Dood Paard and described as a “feminist lesbian relationship comedy about militant female sexuality”, Botox Angels (pictured above) is about assimilation, asking if lesbians really want to start copying straight people’s lives, a controversial topic in the light of last year’s marriage referendum.

The audience is brought into the bedrooms and lives of Swift, Cocky and Deedee, getting to know each of their vulnerabilities, strengths and stubbornness. Inspirational accessories are used to underline the performances, which go hand-in-hand with the dialogue, complete with elements of clowning, dancing and slapstick. The energy is infectious, and the performances are flawless. Seraina Vogel

Botox Angels continues at The Teacher’s Club at 9pm until May 7 with a matinee on Saturday at 4pm. Tickets €15/13 available here or on the door.


McKenna’s Fort

Rating ****

As a late addition to the festival programme this flawless show from Fire and Ice Theatre Company allows the audience to depart on an epic journey with Sir Robert Casement, early in 1900.

The play brings us into the colonial world, following Casement’s work placements as a diplomat, activist and gay man in the Congo, Peru and other British colonies. His continued fight for human rights, and for an independent Ireland, are portrayed through his travels and experiences. Casement’s strong sense of justice makes us fall in love with him, as does Michael Bates central performance. The play explores the emotional state of Casement, torn between Ireland, his place in the British establishment, and his placements abroad. His experiences and affairs with other men during his travels show the circumstances in which he could meet his desires in a time when homosexuality was the love that dared not speak his name, underlining his passion for helping the oppressed.

The stage is kept simple in order to follow the story seamlessly, accents are used by Bates to transport us to the respective region.

This play draws the audience in from the start, with Bates bringing Robert Casement to life with a lightness of touch. Seraina Vogel

McKenna’s Fort continues at the Teachers Club at 7.30pm until May 7 with a Matinee on Saturday at 4pm. Tickets €15/13 available here or on the door.


Word Play

Rating ****

A gay man and his straight female friend argue about words, their meanings, and the personal impact they have. In their drink-fuelled debate, they move between their work environment and their personal lives to explore the boundaries of what can and cannot be said.

Presented by Theatre Topikós, who brought this show all the way from Toronto, Canada, this is a witty, sharp and engaging piece, beautifully performed by the two leads and writers of the show Nick May and Jess Bryson. The pair have great timing and have a great connection, and it’s the kind of show that has you debating with your friends afterwards. Go see it if you enjoy banter, exploring the playful use and misuse of words and watching performers who are totally in tune with each other. Sean Denyer

Word Play continues at Outhouse Theatre at 9pm until May 7, with a matinee on Saturday at 4pm. Tickets €15/13 available here on the door.


BELLEΛEN Helen of Troy

Rating ***

Presented by Lydia Lythos Dance Theatre and starring Fenia Apostolu, who describes herself as a transexual actress, this show dives into the drama of Greek mythology, with a twist. With the use of dance and Greek expertly translated on a screen, the audience gets to grips with Helen, adopting the artistic nickname BELLEΛΕΝ, as she tries to escape the Greek financial crisis and is pushed into a foreign world. With her passionate performances Helen wants to awake the half-asleep audience in order to get their undivided attention.

The most beautiful woman in Greek mythology gets a makeover as a pole dancer in this one-woman show that poses the question: Can a modern day Helen can liberate her soul after centuries of silence? Seraina Vogel

BELLEΛΕΝ continues at the Outhouse Capel St at 7.30pm until May 7, with a matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm.Tickets €15/13 available here or on the door.



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