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Dublin Fringe Festival 2017

Soldier Still by Junk Ensemble. Photo by Fionn McCann

Shining Lights in Darkened Spaces

With the Dublin Fringe Festival 2017 now less than two weeks away, it’s time to get ready for some serious play. Now in its 23rd edition, The Dublin Fringe Festival promises 16 extraordinary days of excitement and experiment across a range of performance platforms. This year’s festival also marks the final festival in charge for Festival Director, Kris Nelson, who moves on to new challenges with the London International Festival of Theatre after four years steering the Dublin Fringe. And on the evidence of this year’s programme, he’s looking to go out with all guns blazing.

MDLSX by Motus. Photo uncredited

With Dublin Fringe Festival 2017, Nelson appears to be taking no prisoners, nailing his colours firmly to the mast with a Fringe politically charged in tone and intent. A festival aimed at giving voice to the voiceless, shining lights in darkened spaces and addressing local and global issues. Yet, as always, it's a Fringe that strikes out for living and laughing large. Through theatre, comedy, dance, music and cabaret, as well as shows that defy easy description, Dublin Fringe Festival 2017 wants to rock your world. Here are just a few performances worth checking out.

Close To The Sun by The Corps Ensemble. Photo uncredited

If you like your productions to pack a political punch, there’s an embarrassment of riches on display at this year’s Fringe. Whether it’s Junk Ensemble exploring PTSD and the plight of returning soldiers in “Soldier Still,” Grace Dyas and Emma Fraser giving voice to Irish women who have travelled abroad to access abortion services in “Not at Home,” or Amanda Coogan and Dublin Theatre of the Deaf appropriating Teresa Deevy’s The King of Spain’s Daughter in “Talk Real Fine, Just Like a Lady,” many shows have important things to say and are determined to be heard. As are Louise Bruton who discusses perceptions surrounding disabled people getting laid in “Why Won’t You Have Sex With Me?,” Luke Casserly who deconstructs events surrounding the Kerry babies case of the 1980s in “efficacy 84,” and Sahar Ali who explores Irishism, Arabism and racism in “Saharcasm.”

All Honey by Sad Strippers. Photo uncredited

As always, there’s a healthy abundance of the fabulous and frivolous, the hilarious and heaven sent. The excellent Lords of Strut seek to create the perfect dance routine for finding fame in “Absolute Legends,” Sad Strippers discover how friends become enemies in “All Honey,” and YouTube comedy sensations Foil, Arms and Hog make their National Theatre debut with “Oink.” Fishambles’s “Show In A Bag” makes a welcome return, with its mix of comedy and drama, and The Corps Ensemble explore of the trials and tribulations of an Irish/Australian wedding in their eagerly anticipated “Close to the Sun.”

Everything Now by Irish Modern Dance Theatre. Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Unquestionably a highlight of any Dublin Fringe is the opportunity to see a range of international acts. “Trophy” by STO Union (Ottawa/Gatineau), Sara Conn, and Allison O’Connor, along with Dublin’s Change of Address, creates a glowing, pop-up tent city on Barnardo Square, inside which people reveal moments in their lives where everything changed. "Town Choir" from Theatre Replacement (Vancouver) and Tonnta (Dublin) transform notable writers’ observations into choral song. London’s Lucy McCormick and her Girl Squad present “Triple Threat,” a retelling of the New Testament with McCormick starring in every role. Italian company, Motus, shatter boundaries with “MDLSX,” an explosion of memoir and gender fluidity. The Fringe and The Abbey Theatre co-presentation of pioneering, transgendered Canadian artist, Ivan Coyote’s “Tomboy Survival Guide,” delivers a campfire of songs and stories on gender. Brazil’s Grupo Tripé make their international debut with “Entre Quartos (Within Rooms)” exploring the lives and loves of 20-somethings in Brasília. “Trucker” from American cult comic, Shenoah Allen, explores isolation, living on the road and, of course, truckers in a world premiere at The Project Arts Centre.

Raven Eyed by Looseysmokes. Photo by Eoin Comiskey

As always, The Dublin Fringe offers performances across a multitude of platforms and spaces. “NEON Western” by Cork’s Conflicted Theatre and Peter Power sees the Samuel Beckett Theatre transformed into a wild west saloon with a rave twist. Irish aerial acrobat troupe, Loosysmokes, take over one of the last standing warehouses of the Dublin Docklands with “Raven Eyed.” John Scott’s Irish Modern Dance Theatre, back from a hugely successful run at The Edinburgh Festival with the award winning Lear, premiere their eagerly anticipated, “Everything Now.” Opera is given voice in “Owen Wingrave,” an opera by Benjamin Britten, presented by Opera Collective Ireland. Lovers of cabaret can get their fix with Film Fatale’s homage to vaudeville, “Closing Night.” Fried Plantains Collective’s “BLACK JAM” offers the best of punk and hip-hop from the African diaspora, featuring feminist punk legends Big Joanie, for those who like their late nights to have a little more edge. For those who like their Shakespeare with a little more edge, look no further than Dublin Fringe Festival and The Abbey Theatre’s co-production, “The Shitstorm,” an electrifying new take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

The Shitstorm. Photo uncredited

In a Fringe giving voice to the damned and the dreamers, Nelson’s swan song shapes a fist with one hand whilst cradling a cocktail shaker in the other. Featuring local, national and international acts, The Dublin Fringe Festival 2017 offers 81 productions, featuring 460 performances, across 34 venues, including 49 premieres. Promising a fun, fierce, fabulous festival full of fight and frivolity, The Dublin Fringe Festival 2017 desires to delight and excite in equal measure. With the clock ticking, phone lines now open and tickets selling fast, jump on the link below and check out what's on offer. Whether you’re visiting the city, or lucky enough to live there, it will be impossible not to find something that moves in Dublin this September.

The Dublin Fringe Festival 2017 runs city wide from September 9th until September 24th.

For programme, or information on tickets, visit Dublin Fringe Festival 2017

Alternatively you can call 1850 374 643 from August 30th

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