It was a short-sleeved Summer’s night when I went into Garter Lane for Blueraincoat Theatre Company’s production of the Flann O’Brien comic novel, The Third Policeman. After a hundred minutes without an interval I came out to rain and misery. So now I had eventually seen and enjoyed the dramatisation of a novel I had read in secondary school or thereabouts.
Blueraincoat are an excellent physical theatre company who have an individual style that infuses the work they take on. And they gave this complicated and dated farce of the Celtic Twilight or Celtic Toilet as O’Brien referred to it in his Myles Na Gopaleen column, forty whacks any handball-playing hero would be proud of and his sainted mother too.
Embedded in the dramatisation is a rural police station where the police believe that people who ride bicycles eventually become part bicycle or maybe the bikes become part human. Vehicular molecular theory, no doubt.
A clever set, an excellent soundtrack by Joe Hunt recreated the many madcap scenes and a splendid ensemble cast did the rest. Sandra O’Malley was the Man With No name, Ciaran McCauley was a superb Pluck, John Carty was an excellent MacCruiskeen with Fiona McGeown, a fine O’Corky.
Niall Henry directed with style, and Jocelyn Clarke wrote the adaptation.
Not having an interval is serious business and now that martin Cullen is Minister for Darts, Spurts and Daytrippers, he will have to exact a law compelling Art Council funded groups to have mandatory intervals. For a while I thought I was becoming a theatre seat, then I felt I was becoming a critic until I began counting the red bricks.
Review: Redmond O’Toole
Highlight of the May weekend was a Coffee Concert on Sunday with the up-and-here guitarist Redmond O’Toole who uses an innovative 8-string Brahms guitar which he plays in the cello position. He uses what his publicity describes as a special resonating boc but as far as I could see this was a mic on a stand feeding through an amp box, to amplify rather than enhance.
It took me a while to get into his style and the opening J. S. Bach transcription while it was relaxing in the streams of sunlight, didn’t seem Bach enough. Perhaps the choice showed his nimble and dextrous fingering technique.
In the Rodrigo, Invocation y Danza (a 1961 prize-winning guitar piece) technique merged into Rapid clusters of notes with urgent fingerwork on lower strings. The ending on three plucked resonating notes was powerful.
Despite the mic-stand, he hardly spoke at all, which was a pity and the Torroba (1891 – 1982) Suite Castellana was lots o flashy technique, expressive and expansive did his speaking for him.
His closing choice, an original piano composition of Albeniz, the recognisable Spanish guitar Asturias from Suite Espagnola was dramatic and no doubt keeping the good Rioja until last.