Cirque Des Rêves – Smock Alley – Review

Cirque de Rêves Image 1s

Cirque Des Rêves – Review by C.K. MacNamara

Until Sat 31st October @ 8pm, Matinee Saturday 31st @ 2.30pm,  in The Boys’ School, Smock Alley

Steeped in the Gothic glee of a Steampunk fever dream, Cirque Des Rêves is a R. L. Stine novel come to life that revels in its self awareness and absurdity. It is a story of that most doomed archetype protagonist; the starry eyed girl looking to go on an adventure to escape her dull existence, in spite of the neon ‘be careful what you wish for’ moral message flashing above her head. As if on cue, a mysterious circus appears overnight, beckoning the townsfolk to wander outside their lamplit safety into the realms of gypsy magic and vanished children.

A well worn cliché perhaps, but it is the execution of this otherwise dull premise that the play thrives on, crafting a world of caricatures in fingerless gloves swilling incandescent booze from glass decanters and casting about with tarot cards. This Dickens-esque drama comes together as a cautionary tale narrated by two alleyway tramps to a pigtailed runaway hellbent on a similar fate.

Performance wise; Finbarr Doyle commands the stage with all the grandiose of a true ringmaster, tweaking his moustache and leering about the audience with a monocled eye in the manner of a snake oil salesman. The flamboyancy of the cast’s performances is enlarged by Nicola Burke’s costume design, which revels to a near obsessive degree in the richness of its Victorian era; every movement is accompanied by the flick of coat tails and trialing brass buttons.

Overall, the Cirque Des Rêves is a spectacle much in the manner of the circus it portrays. Childishly appealing in its familiar premise and ornate execution, it doesn’t aim at breaking new ground, but nevertheless relishes its cathartic flavour and flair with a cheesy grin.

It is simply fun – an all too rare quality in an industry often too obsessed with taking itself seriously.


Cast and Crew –

Director: Jeda de Brí

Writer: Katie McCann

Set Design: Aoife Fealy

Costume: Nicola Burke

Visual Design: Ste Murray

Composer: Eoghan O’Shaugnessy

Musical Arranger: Agnese Banti

Musical Arranger/Vocal Coach: Silvia Lombardi François
Cast: Clodagh Mooney Duggan, Kevin C Olohan, Finbarr Doyle, Katie McCann

Categories: Header, Theatre, Theatre Review

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