Revolting Women – A Rebel Cabaret – International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival – Review by Fran Winston
Part of the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival
The Teachers Club, 36 Parnell Square West Dublin 1.
Runs until May 11th at 7.30pm nightly. Matinee Saturday 11th at 4pm
If ever a show did what it says on the tin it’s this one. It’s a celebration of 100 years of female rebellion and the fight for equal rights and a group of performers tell stories of protest and passion through music, dance, film and drama. Starting with a song called Grace Gifford about the wife of James Connolly from singer/songwriter BeRn the scene is set for an uplifting evening of female empowerment. Alongside the music there are short dramas about Countess Markievicz and the women of the Monto back in the day, inspired dance performances and a couple of thought-provoking videos from producer Sonya Mulligan.
The stage is draped with gold curtains, a kitsch lamp and fairy lights and is reminiscent of a turn of the century cabaret club. Each thread works as a standalone piece and audience members will all no doubt have their favourites. The songs are infuriatingly catchy although they are not all upbeat. Magdalene Laundry blues, in particular, is extremely poignant. A film clip called Funbags and Fannys drew many laughs while Yvonne Kavanagh’s three-part tune Struggling Woman, threaded throughout the work, has the audience clapping along before building to the finale where all of the cast and creatives take to the stage for the last chorus.
This really is a celebration of the feisty women who fought for equality as well as a nod to those who still continue to push for change. Unsurprisingly, the audience was predominately female although the men seemed to enjoy it also. I do wonder what a male reviewer would have made of it though.
My one bugbear was that some of the segues felt a bit clunky. However, this could simply be down to the restrictions of the venue. Despite this it was refreshing to see a proper cabaret performed with such passion.
Despite the fact that it celebrates struggle this is an extremely uplifting show and a wonderful tribute to some remarkable women. You don’t have to be a feminist to appreciate this. It is a wonderful evening’s entertainment featuring some very talented ladies that would even warm the cockles of Molly Malone herself.