The Rising – Powerscourt Theatre – Review

The Rising

The Rising and by way of interlude World War 1- Review by Joseph Kearney

This piece was extremely hard to watch. It is an attempt at historical documentarian theatre, retelling the tale of the 1916 Rising but placing it in context with a wider socio-political and economic narrative from Wolfetone to now. Great idea and ever so timely as the centenary approaches at light speed but sadly the boys who took on the challenge were not quite seasoned enough to pull it off. It was a great effort, the research was certainly put in and I did learn a lot about my own history but the perspective of the storytelling was off the mark. The decision to play a Catholic and Protestant that didn’t like each other but decided to put on a show despite their better sense was hard to bear. The scripted deviations from the script and the consistent theme of much wronged noble Catholics and abrasive, belligerent Unionists was offensive. The show had a huge amount of wonderful Irish dancing; it was precise, beautiful and excellently executed but had little or nothing to do with the show. The jigs were only provided by one of the two performers and distracted hugely from much of the play. It was as if they just did it because they could, this seemed to be the case with many special skills presented within the 90 minute saga.

When brooms wearing World War 1 hats were used to portray Troops going over the top in the trenches my gut tightened with tense fear and pity. When severed bloodied limbs were thrown about the stage I gave up on trying to like the piece. We met Lady Eire, A thon, A thon, A thon and we met inner city Dublin Hags whose only concern was what to sell from their pram and who to sell it to: leading to fickle political loyalties and an ever the knowing judgement call,’ The Bowsies’.

The cast were confident and announced at the top and end of the show that they had other historical works on their resume. Hopefully the next one will be shorter, cleaner and will have a point. This piece lacked any such substance.

The Rising and by way


Town Hall Theatre, Galway: February 20th

Theatre Royal, Waterford: February 26th

An Grianan, Letterkenny: February 27th

Powerscourt Theatre, Dublin: March 11th – 21st

Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge: March 22nd

Categories: Theatre, Theatre Review

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