Freefall by Michael West, in collaboration with the company

This review is of the original run, in October 2009. For its November 2010 revival at the Abbey Theatre, Declan Conlon replaced Louis Lovett in the cast. Corn Exchange productions are almost always impressive and enthralling, foregrounding their immense dedication to physical precision through the stylised...

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The Blue Dragon

The Blue Dragon by Robert Lepage and Marie Michaud

In Robert Lepage’s The Blue Dragon, the Quebec artist at the centre of The Dragons’ Trilogy (1985) is back on stage. While the latter production ended with Pierre Lamontagne (Henri Chassé) going off to study in China, this installment takes places 20 years later, and both Pierre and China...

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Tales of Ballycumber

Tales of Ballycumber by Sebastian Barry

The Abbey stage is bedecked with daffodils, framed with a cyclorama that reaches up to the flies. The set is almost something out of a fairytale, with the interior of a house suggested by a chimney that reaches up into the seemingly infinite space above our heads. The characters of Sebastian Barry’s...

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The Pitmen Painters

The Pitmen Painters by Lee Hall, inspired by the book by William Feaver

“Men make their own history, but not under conditions of their own making.” It’s hard for me to not like a play where a handful of the punchlines have been scripted by Karl Marx. And for a reviewer who has spent several hours in recent weeks in the company of Pan Pan and the Performance...

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To Be Straight With You

To Be Straight With You by Lloyd Newsom

It has been twenty-one years since DV8 created Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men, a reaction to the UK’s Clause 28, which prohibited local councils from “promoting” homosexuality. Based on Dennis Nilsen, a serial killer who murdered and butchered fifteen gay men, it was the film version...

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No Worst There Is None

No Worst There Is None by The Stomach Box

A row of nooses, a blood-drenched flag, dead animals, and, what’s that dismembered organ, a heart? A sacred heart? With Gothic relish, The Stomach Box have turned the nooks and stairwells of Newman House into a site of hauntings and symbolic tableaux. By the time we’ve passed the seated horse-headed...

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The Crumb Trail

The Crumb Trail by Pan Pan

Talk about your Brechtian estrangement: in the opening minutes of The Crumb Trail, before the members of the cast have even got around to introducing themselves to the audience by their real names and by the characters they will play, one of them (Bush Moukarzel) is in our faces reading extracts from...

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The Birds

The Birds by Conor McPherson

Based on Daphne du Maurier’s short story, The Birds (1952), which inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 film of the same title, Conor McPherson’s new play is set in an isolated lakeside house, sometime, somewhere in the present. Relative strangers Nat (Hinds) and Diane (Cusack) have taken...

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The Manganiyar Seduction

The Manganiyar Seduction by Can & Abel Theatre

The Manganiyar Seduction is a presentation of religious songs by a troupe of Indian Muslims. Elements of Hindu worship are featured in the songs, though only one of the forty-two performers is actually Hindu. The show was originally performed as a prelude to the 2006 Delhi film festival and has been...

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A Woman in Progress

A Woman in Progress by Panti

The smoldering chandeliers and the strings of fire-red lights bath the Project Space Upstairs in an eerie glow. In a massive scrawl the name ‘Panti’ is spread before us on the stage floor, topped with a dainty heart, the kind of self-conscious signature one would find on the side of a celebrity’s...

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