Oscar Wilde as you’ve never quite seen him, and the queer heroes of the Easter Rising – we’re travelling back in time with our latest batch of reviews from the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival
Wilde Without A Boy
The Cobalt Café on Dublin’s North Great George’s Street is a wonderfully intimate setting for Cahoots Theatre Company’s retelling of De Profundis, Oscar Wilde’s angry, painful letter to Lord Alfred Douglas, his former lover, written while incarcerated in Reading Gaol.
Already a big hit at the Edinburgh Festival, a show like this demands a huge amount from its actor, as there really is no place to hide, and in Olivier nominee Gerard Logan the production has found someone more than up to the task. In what is a beautifully subtle, exquisite performance, Logan gives us a chastened, painful account of Wilde’s downfall. He presents a Wilde mostly stripped of his former flamboyance, and the horror of what was done to him becomes even more affecting because of that.
Even though we might feel we are familiar with Wilde’s story and how he was brought down, this show brings home the reality of it in a way that is fresh rather than familiar. Whilst anyone interested in Wilde should be beating down the doors to get a ticket, this show is for anyone who has experienced loss and its after effects. And that’s all of us. Highly recommended. Sean Denyer
‘Wilde Without A Boy’ continues at The Cobalt Café until Saturday, May 7 at 9pm.Tickets €15/13 available here or on the door.
Although about heroes from the 1916 Rising, Brian Merriman’s Eirebrushed is of keen relevance to LGBT people today. Four key players in the Rising return to ask: ‘What would our world look now like if our heroes were allowed to be true to themselves and not have their sexual identities erased in the history books?”
Padraig Pearse, played by a very passionate John Kelly, is a conflicted character, torn between his nationalism and accepting his own true self. Roger Casement, a flawless Johnny Doran, is much more pragmatic. He asks whether freeing Ireland from a political oppressor will really free people’s own conscience? Eva Gore Booth, beautifully emboidied by Lia Monahan, talks of fighting for a free Republic, with equal rights for women, whilst Maria Blaney deftly portrays lesbian Elizabeth O’Farrell, a down to earth nurse, who feels she has option other than to to fight alongside her fellow male citizens. This added layer of the feminist struggle adds greatly to intensity of the show.
The simple staging and costumes, all in black, makes us focus on what these four iconic Irish men and women have returned to tell us about themselves, with stark lighting lending a sense of ghostliness to the proceedings
Eirebrushed is an emotional, inspirational and thought-provoking piece. Not just about heroes from the past and their fight for a free Ireland, it tackles the broader topic of censorship and the price we pay for censoring ourselves. Seraina Vogel
‘Eirbrushed’ continues at the Players Theatre until Saturday May 7 at 7.30pm.Tickets €15/13 available at here on the door.
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