Words: Ciarán Howley
Can’t decide what shows to head to? Here’s a guide to what see at this year’s Dublin Fringe Festival – from the most talked about productions to hidden gems not to be overlooked.
The Dublin Fringe Festival is set to make its annual return. For 16 days and nights every September, 30,000 people flock to Dublin to get a glimpse of Irish dramaturgy’s boldest and bravest theatre-makers. Since 1995, the festival has been putting experimental and unconventional theatre to the fore and championing a wide variety of voices.
2022’s festival is no different with a season of performances that truly offer something for everyone. For every merry madcap comedy there is a complementary insightful drama.
Hitting at a wall as to what to see? Look no further than our top picks for the Dublin Fringe Festival.
Bewley’s Cafe Theatre
21, 22 & 23 September
Do you remember when George Clooney was an ambassador for Nespresso? Well Beanie does, quite possibly because she’s their unwanted lovechild.
This freshly ground one-woman show from Síomhá McQuinn, developed by Scene + Heard, is a shot of espresso to the heart – exploring love and rejection with coffee puns galore.
Smock Alley Theatre
You may know them as those lads that read movie scripts for a living but for this year’s Fringe Dream Gun are presenting something a bit different.
Prepare for a journey through the greatest films you’ve never seen – because they made them up. Dream Gun presents a holy trinity of parody feature-lengths taking the mick out of Hollywood’s most overdone movie genres. Think erotic courtoom drama, theme-park-gone-wrong and even a coming-of-age-car movie.
For movie buffs, this one is not to be missed.
Imagine having to go to confession but instead of having to confess your auld sins you could make it all up? We’re so glad you asked because now you can.
Brisbane-based Unqualified Sound Design have stationed a booth at Dublin Castle in which two guests enter separate private booths with a hymn sheet – led only by a guiding light. Together you create a brand new story – “rethreading the seams of a frayed social fabric one good yarn at a time”, without sin.
Smock Alley Theatre – Boys’ Room
Julia Jay’s new performance is a love letter to the music of Britney Spears while poking at the underpinning misogyny during the age of MTV, Justin Timberlake and George W. Bush.
Abbey Theatre – the Peacock Stage
10 – 24 September
The highly anticipated production from playwright Dylan Coburn Gray is a timely examination of generations of children denied access to their heritage.
“A woman looking for her child is lied to. An artist pitches a memorial that’s never built. A landlord raises rents. A parrot disappears. (Or does it?) Thousands of children disappear. (No question this time.) There’s family reunions, collective actions, inexplicable Mormons.”
Coburn Gray probes the soft tissue of Irish society and the trauma that it has chosen to forget.
The New Theatre
“What else does a young Black man have to say if it isn’t about racism?”
From playwright Samuel Yakura comes a new play about one Nigerian man’s arrival in Ireland and the challenge of internally navigating both cultures.
Prepare for an honest conversation about the perception of Blackness in Ireland, told through prose and poetry.
Smock Alley Theatre – Black Box
12 – 17 September
It’s been said that Irish people tend to be resentful about those who leave to follow their dreams.
In a new play examining whiteness, C.N. Smith forces three white athletes in rural Ireland to reckon with their own privilege; spurred on by the discovery of a diary belonging to a successful Black athlete they now resent. Sparks fly as the trio begin to question everything they once thought to be true.
Project Arts Theatre
Lisa Fa’alafi and Busty Beatz are changing the conversation about how Women of Colour are perceived in Ireland as Hot Brown Honey makes it return to the Dublin Fringe Festival.
Through episodes of song, dance, soul and poetry and an original score and choreography from Busty Beatz, Hot Brown Honey’s joyous new celebration is not be missed.
Writer Ray Young presents an immersive auditory performance to be experienced from the comfort of your own bathtub. An examination of the importance of water as a necessity to our survival and the threat climate change poses to it, presented in an entirely new and novel way.
Project Arts Theatre
Oliver Cromwell led the invasion of Ireland, killed some 3500 and is often regarded as the most hated man in Irish history.
“But listen, he’s very sorry. Really very sorry. Really.”
For what is sure to be a provocative night, join Xnthony for a romp through Oliver Cromwell’s notorious time in Ireland through song, dance and utter carnage.
The Teachers’ Club & Workman’s
13-17 September (Installation) & 17 September (Gig)
You may know him as Max Zanga from an alternative hip-hop duo Tebi Rex by day, but by night (and at Dublin Fringe) he’s Filmore; a morally ambivalent hall monitor with an authoritarian streak.
Inspired by mystery rooms, Filmore presents an immersive experience beginning with an escape room at the Teacher’s Club with the full mystery unravellered at a performance at Workman’s.
The Complex – the Depot
The queer community and club culture have always shared a strong bond in Ireland. In a new show from Nick Nikaolaou, ‘Anatomy of a Night’ is a blazing love-letter to that bond within a space that transforms into a whole new nightclub with a different DJ in each performance.
Relive the euphoria of finding yourself on the dancefloor that has been passed down through generations of queer people in Ireland.
With “killer lewks” encouraged, the performances feature DJ sets from some of Ireland’s most promising young artists such as Rory Sweeney, Bambi, Bull Horris, ALYXIS and Tonie Walsh.
We’re not too sure how we’ll pick between any of these. The only thing we do know is that they’ll be performances to remember. Good lu- We mean, break a leg!