13 Deadly Plays to See This Winter
Irish theatre during the winter is at most dynamic stage; it is as if theatre makers are inspired by the frost, compelled by the rain and wholeheartedly invigorated by the prospect of the summer’s sun. This season we are seeing everything from new writing to musicals to classic tales to modern classics take center stage in what looks to be a dynamic year for Irish theatre.
The Importance of Being Earnest | Gate Theatre
Runs until 6 February
Two bachelor friends, the adorable dandy Algernon Moncrieff and the utterly reliable John Worthing J.P., lead double lives to court the attentions of the exquisitely desirable Gwendolyn Fairfax and Cecily Cardew. The gallants must then grapple with the riotous consequences of their deceptions, and with the formidable Lady Bracknell.
The Irish Mail on Sunday
Juno and the Paycock | The Everyman, Cork
Runs 10 February to 20 February
In this the second part of O’Casey’s great Dublin Trilogy, the ambitions of the Boyle family are set against the political and social events of the Irish Civil War in 1922. Set in a tenement house, Juno and the Paycock is an epic tale of survival and vengeance punctuated by dreadful poverty.
24 Hour Plays | Abbey Theatre
On 1 February
Six short plays will be written, rehearsed and presented all within 24 hours by the best of Irish writing and directing talent and over two dozen of Ireland’s most recognized and beloved stars of stage and screen. It is sure to be a craic-filled night of theatre, and charitable fundraising.
Educating Rita | Lyric Theatre
Runs 30 January to 28 February
Rita crashes into Dr. Frank Bryant’s life wanting an education, although she has no idea what it is that she’s asking. Her brash sincerity earns the respect of the doctor who has previously resigned himself to a life of empty lectures and booze. Rita’s character is a breath of fresh air for Bryant and he begins to care about someone, or something for that matter, for the first time since his wife left him. As each begins to wake up to life in their own way, the story comes to a close as an inspiring tale of self discovery and of the power choice that comes through education.
This new production will feature Kerri Quinn (Cabaret, Shibboleth) as Rita and Stephen Kennedy (The Archers) as Frank and will be directed by the critically-acclaimed Emma Jordan (God of Carnage, Scorch).
You Never Can Tell | Abbey Theatre
Runs until 6 February
The play is set in a seaside town and tells the story of Mrs Clandon and her three children, Dolly, Phillip and Gloria, who have just returned to England after an eighteen-year stay in Madeira.
The children have no idea who their father is and, through a comedy of errors, end up inviting him to a family lunch. At the same time a dentist named Valentine has fallen in love with the eldest daughter, Gloria. However, Gloria considers herself a modern woman and claims to have no interest in love or marriage.
★★★★★ ‘You Never Can Tell is pure mischievous froth’
They Called Her Vivaldi | Nationwide
On February and March
Vivaldi’s Daughter is an upbeat comedy-adventure about a gifted young musical prodigy who sets out to make her fortune in the world. Set in the 19th century, imagine this show as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang meets Around the World in 80 Days. Now that’s quite the mixture indeed!
Puckoon | Pavilion Theatre
Runs 7 April to 8 April
Set in 1924, it details the troubles brought to the fictional Irish village of Puckoon by the Partition of Ireland: the new border, due to the incompetence of the Boundary Commission, passes directly through the village, with most of the village placed in the independent Irish Free State, but with a significant portion to Northern Ireland. With the church separated from its own graveyard and drink now thirty percent cheaper in one corner of the pub, life in the newly divided village will never be the same again.
Jersey Boys | Bord Gáis Energy Theatre
Runs 13 January to 23 January
Jersey Boys is the remarkable true story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and their rise to stardom from the wrong side of the tracks. Winner of Broadway’s Tony, London’s Olivier and Australia’s Helpmann Awards for Best New Musical, Jersey Boys is the winner of 55 major awards worldwide and 20 million people have come to see the show.
Forgotten, Silent and Underneath | Nationwide
On February to August
Fishamble returns with its three multi award-winning one-man plays written and performed by the virtuoso Cork born Pat Kinevane. Silent is the touching and challenging story of homeless McGoldrig, who once had splendid things. Forgotten is a solo piece of theatre which reveals the interconnecting stories of four elderly people, living in retirement homes and care facilities around Ireland, who range in age from 80 to 100 years old. Underneath is a blackly comic, rich and vivid tale of a life lived in secret, a testament to the people who live on the fringes, under the nose of everyday life.
★★★★ ‘Kinevane has given his character a vitality beyond death, a wicked sense of humour, the intimate confidence of an audience.’
The Irish Times
Dublin Oldschool | Project Arts Centre
Runs 12 January to 16 January
This show was the hit of the 2014 Tiger Dublin Fringe and will now see a revival by Project Arts Centre 12 months later. Join Jason, a wannabe DJ on a chemically enhanced trip through the streets of Dublin as he stumbles from one misguided misadventure to another. Somewhere between the DJs, decks, drug busts and hilltop raves, he stumbles across a familiar face from the past, his brother Daniel.
★★★★ ‘Part urban portrait, part family snapshot and part gratuitous headrush, it’s so exhilarating one even forgives the odd outbreak of cod-philosophy.’
The Irish Times
All That Fall | Abbey Theatre
Runs 11 February to 20 February
In All That Fall, Beckett’s first radio play, we encounter Maddy Rooney in her seventies – unsightly, ungainly and unwell – laboriously to-ing and fro-ing between her home and Boghill Station. This is a landscape whose details are drawn from the Foxrock and Leopardstown of Beckett’s youth, but which may now exist solely in Maddy’s mind.
Lessness | Project Arts Centre
Runs 26 January to 30 January
Sharing a long white desk with an anglepoise lamp, Fouéré clasps her hands neatly, lets her steely eyes scan the horizon and listens intently as Beckett’s words are relayed to her through headphones.
Bees | The Ark
Runs 13 February to 13 March