The Humours of Bandon – Bewley’s Cafe Theatre – Review

The Humours of Bandon – Bewley’s Cafe Theatre – Review
March 06 – 25, 2017 – Time: 1pm (doors at 12.50pm)
Winner of the Bewley’s Little Gem Award at Dublin Fringe 2016

We meet Annie as she is enduring extreme physical pain! She is seated beneath her mother who is pulling her hair. She is putting in curlers and you have to put them in tight, or else they don’t work. It is the night before the Irish Open Dancing competition and Annie dreams of winning the under 17 prize. It’s a goal she’s been working towards for many years, but now she really thinks she has a chance. It is taking place in the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght, and she only has hours to wait before the event begins.

This is a one woman play, starring Margaret McAuliffe that gives an insight into the world of Irish dancing. Annie is 16 and is no longer a child. She is at a stage where most young women have long since given up dancing and are focusing on other pursuits! It is no longer cute or fashionable and most of her friends have no idea why she continues to partake. McAuliffe plays a wide number of characters including Annie’s Mum, her dance teacher Assumpta and a number of other dancers. She focuses on this close knit community to try and show the complexities of the world!

It is fairly obvious that McAuliffe is writing from her own experience, as she is an impressive dancer, which she exhibits at times throughout the show. The play has a lot of humour but is not written purely to poke fun. There is also a lot of love for the art, it is the competitive edge that she really takes issue with.

This play is directed by Stefanie Preissner, who previously performed in the successful one woman show ‘Solpadeine is my Boyfriend’, so she knows how to construct this type of production. It is a vehicle for McAuliffe to show her wide range of skills, often dancing and performing lines of dialogue at the same time! McAuliffe is at her best when playing the over bearing dance instructor Assumpta and the Annie’s mother, a typical Irish Mammy. It is a warm and welcoming hour of theatre, that will sit well with those that remember their days in the dance halls around Ireland.

Written and performed by Margaret McAuliffe (Digging for Fire, Jezebel)
Directed by Stefanie Preissner (Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope, Solpadeine is my Boyfriend)

Photo credit: George Carter / Donal Mulligan.

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