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The Passing at the Abbey Theatre (Review)

The Passing is one of the new plays from Paul Mercier playing at the Abbey, alternating with Mercier’s other new work, East Pier. The Passing is essentially a story about how disconnected we’ve grown as a nation, out of touch with one another, and our roots. It’s the type of reflection that one sees frequently these days, so it seems reasonable to expect any material covering the theme to try to approach it in a novel or an interesting way. Instead, The Passing is just about passable as an exploration of social isolation in 21st century Ireland.

Pass on this one?

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John Gabriel Borkman at the Abbey Theatre

The Abbey is very much selling Frank McGuinness’ adaptation of Henrik Ibsin’s John Gabriel Borkman as a timely piece of work. Set during a recession and focusing on a former banker who has managed to avoid squalor by assuring his property ends up in the hands of his sister-in-law (though she bought it at auction rather than the fact he assigned it to her), it is an easy enough sell in modern Ireland. However, the play’s themes are much more universal than that – it’s a story about our attempts to live vicariously through others and attempt to define ourselves contrary to whatever plans those around us might have, a reflection on how easily and readily we construct elaborate cages for ourselves (but cages that we insist are actually throne rooms). However, the main draw to this theatrical run – and perhaps the factor behind its near-constantly sold-out status – is a lead performance from Alan Rickman as the eponymous banker-turned-outcast.

Cool...

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MacBeth at the Abbey Theatre

Myself and the better half had the pleasure of taking in a show in the national theatre last night. Director Jimmy Fay has brought Shakespeare’s MacBeth, the play known in the industry as “the Scottish play”, to the stage. I studied MacBeth in secondary school, as one of the big four tragedies. I would have rather studied Othello or Hamlet, but at least it wasn’t King Lear. We had high hopes in settling into our seats for the full performance – Fay had brought The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui to the stage only last year in a show that remains perhaps my favourite of all the plays I have seen at the Abbey. Did MacBeth live up to those expectations?

"Something wicked this way comes..."

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