Reviewer: Ciara L Murphy
The critically acclaimed Brokentalkers theatre company bring their new production This Beach to the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival. This challenging performance is the company’s response to the current migrant crisis facing Europe as a result of conflict in the Middle East. Essentially a satirical challenge to the all too prevalent canon of ‘white-saviourism’ that is often pervasive in work responding to this crisis, Brokentalkers shine a critical light back on the artistic community’s often agressive and problematic dramatisations of human tragedy.
A family are on a beach – their beach. It has been in the family for generations, claimed by ancestors at the expense of the indigenous population through siege. As the family celebrate a wedding a visitor washes up on the beach – an unwelcome intrusion. It is here that the production amps up its irony, becoming a little over obvious at times in this reviewer’s opinon.
This Beach is an intelligent and highly stylised performance, merging Brokentalker’s usual straight talking theatrical style with a more structured narrative than in Blue Boy or Have I No Mouth. The set is artfully and simply designed and aptly addresses the oppressiveness of the group’s self-imposed isolation. The emsemble deliver a strong and self-reflexive performance with strong moments of humour thruoghout.
The show is an ideal candidate for the Dublin festival season, but this reviewer feels that the show’s format may be a tad inaccessible to those who do not fall into the category of the ‘well informed festival going audience.’ However for this reviewer the show is ultimately a success, and a well timed critique of the artistic communities failings in relation to its colonisation of the stories of others. Indeed, it is refreshing to see the Irish artistic community question and challenge itself and its responsibility when responding to events that remain far removed from most of our own lived experiences.
This show will play on your mind long after the (plastic) curtain falls, and is a definite highlight of this year’s festival season. Timely and contemporary This Beach pushes at the boundaries of the Irish performance canon and ensures Brokentalkers remain one of the most challenging contemporary performance companies in Ireland.
Runs until 17 September. | Image: Gabriela Neeb.