Best of 2014: Theatre


Bears in Space (Collapsing Horse)
Collapsing Horse yet again, left their audiences beaming and giddy with this puppet-show, and anyone lucky enough to catch the riotous antics of Bears in Space surely felt a wave of gratitude toward the company for injecting a healthy dose of fun into their week. Irish theatre needs more unabashed silliness like this, and it’s no surprise that this show’s Dublin run was followed by enormous success at the Edinburgh Fringe. – HK

Twelfth Night (The Abbey)

Wayne Jordan’s triumphant return to The Abbey after Alice In Funderland was a vivid and contemporary portrait of one of Shakespeare’s best comedies, revealing the complexity of sexual relationships and proving that the Bard and boomboxes go hand in hand. – MM

Terminus (ThereisBear!)
This young theatre company gave Mark O’Rowe’s text a new lease of grimy life, turning the heavenly Boys School space at Smock Alley into the dingiest hole in Dublin city for a couple of hours each night. Stephen Murray in particular handled Terminus’ tongue-twisting verse with greasy ease, and the trio’s performance was an uncanny kind of entertainment. – HK

Hamlet (Schaubüne | DTF)
Berlin’s Schaubüne electrified this year’s Dublin Theatre Festival with their legendary production of Hamlet, reclaiming the Bord Gáis as a postmodern wonderland of aesthetic entrancement in a dirty yet playful Shakespearean tragedy. You’re welcome anytime, Berlin. – MM

Fused (Project Arts Centre)
Dan Bergin should be commended for making a show in a genre that feels completely new but made out of materials which are completely clichéd. The participatory nature of this delightfully retro throwback to 90s gaming made for much more than your average trip to the theatre. – HK

Tardigrade (Philip Connaughton | Dublin Fringe)
A rare and wonderfully “Fringe” show, Tardigrade was Irish dancer Philip Connaughton’s first production as a theatre-maker, displaying hypnotic choreography and an unforgettable design palette of both the irreverent and the scientific. Tardigrade took our senses and danced with every one of them. – MM

HARP (Ulysses Opera Theatre | Dublin Fringe)
As Olwen Fouéré’s haunting voice-over descended upon the banks of the Liffey, the throngs of audience members and casual onlookers knew they were in for something special. A breathtaking spectacle of music, dance, and visual art, HARP brought the whole city together for one celestial moment. – HK

High Heels In Low Places (THISISPOPBABY)

Panti’s latest show for the stage, although stand-up and comedic in form, was a rare theatrical experience of storytelling, humour, and intimacy. As “national fucking treasure” of the year, Panti, deconstructed 2014 with skill and sequins. – MM

The Seagull and Other Birds (Pan Pan | DTF)

This is the show that I could not stop talking about this year. Urging people to go, recounting scenes to friends who didn’t care, seeing it in my dreams at one point. Pan Pan knocked it out of the experimental water with this one, sprawling across contemporary entertainment while dipping into Chekhov’s text, taking the audience on a bizarre and bewildering ride into uncharted theatrical ground. – HK

The Waste Ground Party (The Abbey)
Shaun Dunne’s Abbey debut on the Peacock Stage presented an unapologetic view of contemporary Dublin by an already astute young playwright. Beautifully acted and poignantly written, The Waste Ground Party was a highlight of new writing in 2014. – MM

Our Few And Evil Days (The Abbey | DTF)

Titanic in its cast and production team from its conception, Mark O’Rowe’s latest play debuted at the Abbey left its audiences reeling over its stunning naturalism, impeccable ensemble cast, and its cathartic arc of family, darkness, and love. – MM

Honourable Mention…

A Girl Is A Half Formed Thing (Corn Exchange | DTF)
DOLLS (First Fortnight)

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