Accents – Dublin Fringe Festival – Review
Performances: 11 – 17 September – 21:00, €20/ €18
Other performances: 17 September – 13:00, €20/ €18
Venue: Project Arts Centre – Space Upstairs
The set for this piece is closer to a gig than it is to a typical theatre production. The Space Upstairs in the Project has three raised platforms towards the rear of the space. On these platforms, there are a number of musical instruments including a piano, keyboards and guitar, along with a variety of electronic toys and gadgets. Emmet Kirwan emerges and stands centre stage. He is joined by three musicians in this hybrid piece. The musicians create an impressive backing track for Emmet’s tale of his last 42 years on earth!
Emmet Kirwan has recently become a father. His partner had a baby boy less than a year ago. Emmet uses this momentous occasion as a reason to look back on his life and see the events that shaped him. He talks about his parents, his youth in Tallaght and much else besides.
The other major element in the production is the housing crisis. Kirwan has never been afraid to delve into politics and as with a lot of other Fringe productions, the hot topic of the year is housing. While it does jar with the personal story that comes before it, Kirwan shows how the housing crisis has affected his own life and then names a number of simple solutions that he hopes could be enforced.
While the piece is called Accents, it is actually something of a misnomer. Emmet was recently on Arena and he discussed how the project had changed since its inception. The piece is largely a personal history. Kirwan is the focus of the event, performing centre stage while the three musicians create layered sounds in the background. It is the symbiosis of these elements that creates some special moments.
Whatever you call it, rap, spoken word or simply acting, Emmet is certainly a talented orator. His knowledge of accents and speech patterns is impressive and he can easily change from one to another. His enunciation is also striking and the flow of words out of his mouth at high speed would put many rappers to shame. The music created by the three-piece band is by no means filler and the work of composer Eoin French, who has released a number of albums as Talos, elevates the production to another level. This is Kirwan back doing what he does best, and there is a lot to enjoy. Whether it’s a personal history or a political statement, Kirwan delivers his message with style, intelligence and a wry grin!
Writer: Emmet Kirwan
Composer: Eoin French (Talos)
Director: Claire O’Reilly
Lighting Designer: Zia Holly
Production Manager: Grace Halton
Producer: Kate Ferris
Producer with Project Arts Centre: Cian O’Brien
Image: Sarah Doyle