Tuesday, June 21, 2005

REVIEW: Perchance to Dream (George's Dock, Dublin)

George’s Dock may be the new site for the National Theatre if the current front-runner for a new location finally wins out. And if future activity is of the same standard offered here by Footsbarn Travelling Theatre Company, the Abbey would be off to a good start.

Reborn from the ashes of a post-sixties theatrical experiment, Footsbarn are by now a venerable institution, celebrated for their vivid, back-to-the-roots approach to making theatre. And while the company’s roots are long, they have also being renewing themselves, husbanding fresh talent and even incorporating a little bit of new-fangled technology into their medieval-inspired style.

The company has made something of a specialty of Shakespearean shows and their latest brings together various tales from the bard – Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear and Romeo and Juliet – blending the stories together, and having the actors quit one scene from Romeo and Juliet, only to reappear in Hamlet.

The transitions are impressively fluid, highly inventive and often gorgeously executed. The company’s use of projected images – from fake antique newsreels, to brilliant use of an overhead projector – gives extra power and smoothly enhances the work of the actors.

This company, however, does not put too much emphasis on the text, and the multinational accents tend to fog the verse somewhat. But then, Footsbarn’s Shakespeare (more of which is will be on offer later in the month at the same venue, with their production of The Tempest) offers substantial other rewards.

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