Living off the wall

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LOOKING ahead to what’s new and innovative in Irish theatre-land for unFringed Festival 2009, Arts page is happy to report of plenty. Press launch night took place last week to hear that our national success story, playwright John Breen, fulfils the honour of festival launch on Friday January 30. The premier of his latest show The Magic Boy opens then at 8pm for a three night run at 36 Cecil Street, current home to Belltable.

Yew Tree Theatre presents this story of a boy called Zack who is really the Mozart of magic and inspiration to Malcolm, a lovelorn magician.

On to locally based arts bodies. Musicians, directors, comedians and choreographers turned out for the festival broadcast on Monday 19th and all had something new to lobby.

Recently formed arts group, Bottom Dog, goes Off The Wall for unFringed’s second premier. Opening at Limerick City Gallery of Art on Saturday January 31 at 1pm, Bottom Dog’s core four artists introduce five performances based on paintings at the gallery. Each of them a professional entertainer, they engage in a mix of visual and performance arts with an original delivery spanning various media and genres.

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“Off the Wall is an ensemble piece by Bottom Dog’s Myles Breen, Mike Bourke, Mike Finn and myself,” says actor/ singer Liam O’Brien. “We are used to writing, directing and acting and this is a multidisciplinary piece based on LCGA’s Permanent Collection. We have all chosen a  piece that spoke to us, inspired us and are doing different responses to the individual works”.

Bear in mind that Finn, O’Brien and Breen were MAMCA winners last weekend for 2008 shows. Their lunchtime works at Pery Square will take place at 1pm on the 30th, 2nd and 3rd,  and a  3pm show on Sunday 1st, platforming the five 10-minute performances.

Mike Finn has written “We Are What We Witness”, referencing the Gaza strip, for actress Mairead Devlin. It’s derived from the eponymous work by Robert Janz.

Liam O’Brien has written a piece for actor/ writer John  A Murphy and  Myles, and accomplished choreographer, will dance.  Celine Natasha Murphy is invited in with her film and performance, and Claire O’Dea has choreographed a response in dance to her selected painting, Harry Kernoff’s Turf Girl. Box office at 69 O’Connell Street for a ticket, 061-319866.

The Hunt for Red Willie

ANYONE who saw Buck Jones and the Body Snatchers last August in No. 2 Pery Square can begin to salivate for a sequel. Director/ producer Joan Sheehy, MAMCA winner, leads a rehearsed reading of Ken Bourke’s No. 2 in this trilogy, The Hunt for Red Willie.

Actress Gene Rooney, who thrilled us as the savvy French maid in the 2008 production, talked up this Saturday 31, 3pm date at [email protected] Cecil Street. Bourke, a Kilkenny based playwright, has an extraordinary way with words and people so expect earthy hilarity in spades. Who’s who here?

“Joan has brought together actors Seamus Moran (of Less Than a Year), Andrew Bennett (Garage) and Paul Meade, along with Monica Spencer and myself,” Gene tells Arts page. A lively piece of work herself, she’s delighted to be on board Red Willie. “Oh, to be in a room with these men is a female’s dream. They are three of the best looking men in theatre”.  

Hats and tricorn’s off to Sheehy for reeling in this accomplished lot for trial show purpose.

“A reading won’t be the full experience,” is her approach, “but Ken’s use of words and language is so vibrant that people will get a strong sense of the  play. And the actors I have are so good”. Any plans for a full run?

“Not at this stage. We’re concentrating on getting Buck Jones up and running again and hope to bring it to some festival or other this year”. Matinée reading only so for Red Willie this season, Saturday 31.