Beowulf Opens In Style
In my time reviewing shows for Kilkenny Arts Festival, it’s always been the case that the opening of the theatre strand has caused me to write things like ‘That’s going to be a hard one to follow’.
Well, that’s certainly going to prove to be the case this time. Banana Bag and Bodice’s production Beowulf – A Thousand Years Of Baggage is really going to be a hard one to follow. The show kicked the Theatre and Dance strand off in ferocious style. I was quite excited about this production (probably my most anticipated of this years programme) so expectations were riding high. What I wasn’t expecting however was how reverent this production was to the source material.
The epic English poem (or long story poem in epic story poem form as it was so elongatingly described) was turned into a rowdy, raucuous and rollicking musical performance that recreated all the famous scenes of Beowulf with impeccable style and invention. It offered everything you’d want in terms of music and comedy and presented something thats been so often told in the freshest manner imaginable.
This was the first theatrical production from Kilkenny Arts Festival to take place in Set Theatre and despite being a beautiful venue, it does have its limitations when it comes to theatre. Props must be given to Banana Bag and Bodice for utilising the venue to maximum effect, making use of the floor, the upstairs stalls and the overhead balcony in a variety of inventive ways that thrust the audience into the thick of the action and made sure the upstairs audience stayed involved.
It was loud, messy and literally blasted off the stage with furious energy. It’s probably going to be one of the best night’s of entertainment that you’ll get all festival. For anyone who wants to grab a frosty beverage and feel like they’ve been transported into a Scandinavian mead hall, this is exactly the ticket for you.
All you need to do now is grab one of those tickets and learn everything you need to know about Beowulf.
And a little bit more.