Monday, December 2, 2013

The Circus of Perseverance- Gonzo Theatre Co. at Smock Alley Theatre

A small number is gathering in a very large space for a little reception but there is no doubting the beauty of the upstairs space in the Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin's Temple Bar. We're here tonight to see the preview of Philip Doherty's play The Circus of Perseverance which premiered in the Dublin Fringe in 2012 and is resurrected here for a short run.

 COP_SmockAlley_01
The Gonzo Theatre was founded by Cavan born Doherty in 2009 and since that time he has written, directed or produced twenty plays.

Running from the 25th of November , tonight (30th) is the last night. It's a find-your-own seat theatre of the hard wooden bench variety but its warmth and friendly environment and smaller size makes it a perfect venue for these smaller runs.

Thirty-something arty-farties abound, no doubt friends of the playwright here to support him on the preview night. These are the country's up-and-coming arty crew and they are bonkers! Soon the rest of the audience is assembling, a mix of characters on a Tuesday work night.

The concept of the play is a ringmaster as narrator with seven interwoven stories "in a mesmerising disco of scenes." Roll on The Circus of Perseverance ..."where life is more absurd than art." The stage is set with a drum set, draped curtaining like a big top and red lights, the ring of the circus delineated by curved blocks and cut traffic cones.

It's a play that highlights today's battles-some of them new, some of them ever present; bills, unprotected sex, emigration, D4ers, junkies, the rugby crowd, tourists, Dublin taxi drivers, religion, bunking the fare on the Dart, hipsters, negative equity, investment apartments in Bulgaria. You get the picture. Is it a play? It's certainly a series of vignettes that start to come together as the first half starts to come to a close. Characters start to cross over into the others story. It's not a new idea but it does deal with today's issues.
 Philip Doherty

It is always exciting to see theatre from young writers. This is writing from someone still polishing his craft- it has high points of humour but does not quite keep the level high enough to maintain attention.

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