Town Hall 2016 highlights

SONY DSCA scene from Decadent's production of The Dead School.

SONY DSCA scene from Decadent's production of The Dead School.

AS 2015 exits stage left, 2016 awaits it cue and the year ahead in the Town Hall has much for theatre-goers to look forward to. First out of the blocks, on January 15th and 16th, is local company No Ropes with The Open Couple, Dario Fo and France Rama’s sharp marital comedy, which enjoyed a sell-out run earlier this year.

On January 21, Bottom Dog visit with Myles Breen’s feted solo show, Language Unbecoming a Lady, a beguiling account of growing up gay in Ireland set to the music of Judy Garland, Billie Holiday and more. Mike Murfi and One Duck Company arrive on January 26twith the world premiere of their black comedy, The Poor Little Boy With No Arms which describes strange goings-on in the rural idyll of Skibberceannigh. Murfi will also return in March with a revival of his terrific show, The Man in the Woman’s Shoes.

There are a trio of trilogies to look forward to in the Town Hall programme; Brian Fleming will regale audiences with Gis A Shot of Your Bongos Mister, Have Yis No Homes to Go To and A Sacrilegious Lesbian and Homosexual Parade combining music and storytelling in uproarious accounts of adventures in Africa and New York.

Little John Nee will present Talking Derry Boat (February 5th/6th ), his account of the creation of his international hit show The Derry Boat, The Church of Chill (March 3rd-5th ) and Ribbons (April 28th -30th ), a tantalising preview of his new collaboration with the wonderful Laura Sheeran. Later in the year Pat Kinevane will reprise his acclaimed trilogy of shows with Fishamble, Silent, Forgotten and Underneath.

On February 3, Co-Motion Theatre Company present Joe O’Byrne’s adaptation of Synge’s The Aran Islands. Synge wrote four books about his trips to the islands and his experiences there informed his greatest plays. Synge’s descriptions of the islands’ stories, funerals, evictions, and exposure to the elements, is an essential part of what makes up Irish culture and here receives an imaginative transference to stage performed by Brendan Conroy.

Later in the month, from February 16 to 20, Gerry Conneely is in the Town Hall studio with his rendition of Patrick McGill’s classic WW1 memoir, The Great Push which vividly evokes his experiences of taking part in the Battle of Loos in 1915.

February also sees one of the highlights of the Spring season, Decadent Theatre Co’s presentation of The Dead School by Patrick McCabe. First seen at last year’s Galway International Arts Festival, under the banner of GYT and Galway Community Theatre, where it was one the stand-out shows, this superb staging re-unites the cast for Decadent, again directed by Andrew Flynn, and will run at the Town Hall from February 18 to 27.

Audiences will also be thrilled to hear that Decadent will be reviving their hugely acclaimed Irish premiere staging of Martin McDonagh’s jet-black comedy-drama The Pillowman which returns to the Town Hall in June. One more welcome revival comes from Galway’s Fregoli Theatre Company in May and their staging of Jarlath Tivnan’s terrific debut play, The Pleasure Ground.

Returning to March, Branar present the world premiere of Maloney’s Dream / Brionglóid Maloney. Set against the backdrop of the Easter Rising, this bi-lingual show for children is jam-packed with live music, physical theatre and puppetry. It runs from April 6th to 9th. Of course, 1916 features prominently in Ireland’s cultural event calendar next year and another Town Hall highlight in this vein is the May visit by the Abbey Theatre with O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars, directed by Olivier Award-winner Sean Holmes who promises to bring a new perspective to this iconic classic. Two other 1916 shows are the schools show, Ali White’s Me, Mollser, also from the Abbey which focuses on The Plough’s youngest character Mollser, and plays three daytime performances on January 26th. Madame de Markievicz on Trial, by Anne Mathews, explores a 1916 incident where Constance Markievicz was implicated in the fatal shooting of a policeman; it’s here for one night only on March 26th.

Diarmuid de Faoite gives his much-praised Padraic O’Conaire show another outing on March 1st, and Cavan’s Livin’ Dred Theatre Company roll up on March 4 and 5 with Kings of the Kilburn High Road. Finally, May sees the return of the Galway Theatre Festival, highlights of which include WillFred Theatre Company and Broken Talkers.

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