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Donka: A Letter to Chekhov at the Gaiety (Review)

Donka: A Letter to Chekhov is a rather wonderful addition to the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival. Between this and the Absolut Fringe, theatre-lovers have been quite spoilt of late – I’m still looking forward to checking out Peer Gynt by Rough Magic in the next week or so. Donka: A Letter to Chekhov is a rather wonderful and imaginative little show loosely connected by vignettes inspired by or related to the works of Anton Chekhov, as written and directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca, who also wrote and directed Corteo for Cirque de Soliel. It’ really rather wonderful and magical.

All going accordian to plan...

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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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Freefall (Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival)

It has been a while since I’ve worn my ‘theatre reviewer’ hat, but I’m blowing the cobwebs off on this one. My girlfriend is a huge fan of the Corn Exchange theatre group and we decided to give their new work, playing as part of the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival, a go. I’ve had very mixed luck when it comes to seeing performances in the project theatre, and while I was quite impressed with the technical aspects of the play – I couldn’t help feeling that something was missing.

Not quite a stroke of genius...

Not quite a stroke of genius...

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