Corn Exchange Theatre Company, Dublin by Lamplight

Review in Issue 19-3 | Autumn 2007

Set in the ‘filth and fury’ of Dublin 1904, this is a strong and splendid fusion of naturalistic and commedia dell’arte inspired physical theatre. The makeup is stylized, the movement timed to the split second, and the audience never loses connection with the characters – it is quite a feat to work with an hour’s worth of makeup plastered on your face and still be able to transmit pathos as well as slapstick. The narrative is carried well – you never feel lost in the multiple strands of individual stories and the outside world of politics – veering from the comic to the sinister. (There’s a minor scene in the police station which is a perfect mixture of Kafka and Father Ted). It is a very fresh creation, with good pacing and structure –the company have worked hard not only on the individual performances but also on the coherence and energy of the whole.

The heady mixture of Irish nationalism, setting a Yeatsian desire for a national theatre against the shadowy spectre of violent revolution, is played with depth and feeling. It was really impressive to have these themes portrayed and still hang on to the small stories (the poor seamstress; the alcoholic actor stumbling home, hoping to avoid his landlady). And some things never change – the scrabble for funding, patrons and sponsors for a theatre, when meanwhile so called ‘real life’ is full of savagery and bureaucracy!

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. May 2007

This article in the magazine

Issue 19-3
p. 28