Today’s reviews from the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival are rooted in the history of Irish LGBT’s, from Oscar Wilde to the Celtic Tiger and all the way to the St Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City.
Irish Historical Shorts
The International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival’s Irish Historical Shorts programme is made up of three pieces set in three different centuries of Irish LGBT history. Oscar Wilde’s epic poem The Ballad of the Reading Goal describes his time during imprisonment from 1885 to 1887 for gross indecency. Gerald Logan gives an outstanding performance, which was, for me, the highlight of the night and would be a real treat for every Wilde fan.
All In My Heart is a lesbian love story set in the midst of the 1916 Easter Rising. Deftly written by Honor Molloy, who based it on the experience of her great Aunt Florence, it’s a heartwarming tale of an upper class Irish Girl, falling in love with a female revolutionary, and features an emotional performance by Ellen Gorman. This could definitely be worked up to a full-length play.
The Gentleman Caller brings us back to the days of the Celtic Tiger, where an engaging Steven Masterson tells the story of his elderly neighbour, Martin, who lives alone, apparently devoting his to the church. Written by Brian Merriman, this is an important story that sheds light on much less visible LGBT generations and their lives in modern Ireland.
The constraints of the very lovely Cobalt Café mean staging has to be simple, and that in a way adds to the intimacy of this entertaining evening, and it’s a good companion piece to Wilde Without the Boy, which plays immediately after in the same venue. Seraina Vogel
Irish Historical Shorts continues at the Cobalt cafe at 7.30pm until May 7, tickets available here or on the door.
A Sacrilegious Homosexual and Lesbian Parade
In this very charming and entertaining one-man show, a straight drummer from Dublin inadvertently becomes a gay rights activist in New York. Brian Fleming (pictured above) makes for a really engaging narrator, as he recounts the tale of his 14-year involvement in the St. Pats for all Parade in New York, which was established as a stand against the deliberate non-inclusion of LGBT people in the main New York St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Fleming is a very talented percussionist and drummer and he uses those talents, along with a gift for storytelling, to bring us through the ups and downs of getting the St. Pats for All Parade established, and the great characters he meets along the way. His story has a great arc, ending with the first ever LGBT-inclusive main parade, which took place in New York this year.
Though this is, on the face of it, a tale of activism and advocacy, at it’s heart it is a story of enduring friendship and solidarity, and a wonderful reminder of all the fantastic work done by straight allies of the LGBT community, not least in our own recent referendum, to build a more inclusive society. Sean Denyer
A Sacrilegious Homosexual and Lesbian Parade continues at the Players Theatre at 9pm until May 7. Tickets available here or on the door.
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