BWW Review: YOUR OWN MAN/MAD NOTIONS - Finding the Beat of Your Own Drum

A lamentable fact about the emigration surge in recent years is the brain drain, with Irish artists faced with better opportunity elsewhere. Thankfully, in between gigs in New York and Brussells, choreographer Luke Murphy keeps swinging back home.

Anyone who has seen him can testify: Murphy's svelte and humble demeanour can instantly give way to warrior-like choreography. Here he's a bit more stationary, speaking through a microphone about perceptions of his Irishness abroad. His feeling of being boxed in by dance failures (he was never in Riverdance), poor reviews and romantic regrets makes for quite literal moves as he dances within boxes of light, trying to burst free.

In turning inward, Murphy's work has unfortunately become heavy-handed. His shuffling among the crowd as they sip their complementary beers reads like a forced Punchdrunk-attempt (one of his regular collaborators) at immersive performance. The poor arrangement of the space has us nearly miss Hope Davis's photo installation, and the audience inevitably facing the tech desk, where the operators struggling to relieve the malfunctioning sound system are sorely brought to the fore.

For all these restrictions, David Fishel's gorgeous film footage of Murphy dancing self-possessed against Irish cliffs and stone ruins is liberating. It adds further proof that his self-examinations are best present in his explosive body.

Your Own Man/Mad Notions runs at Bewley's Cafe Theatre at Powerscourt as part of Tiger Dublin Fringe until 19 Sept. For more information and tickets, see the Fringe website.

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From This Author Chris McCormack

Chris McCormack is a theatre critic based in Dublin. He blogs on and writes for A Younger Theatre, Irish Theatre Magazine and the Arts (read more...)