Referencing any number of the Poe classics, LOOSYSMOKES - RAVEN EYED ( at the Smithwick's Brewhouse ) return to this years festival with the creepiest show in town. Some images could have sprung from the wild imagination of Angela Carter, others appear to be ' out takes ' from The Shining. Whatever the influences, there is no denying the brilliance of this hypnotic and fevered production. Part dance, astonishing ariel work and art installation, it is accompanied by a soundscape of such technical skill that the audience experiences the unsettling presence of all manner of things that go bump in the night ! Absolutely not to be missed - there are 2 performances most days at 8 and 10pm.
Body and Soul : Stephen Rea as Oscar Wilde reading De Profundis is a mouthwatering prospect. In tandem with the Irish Chamber Orchestra performing Neil Martin's specially composed score even more so. There is no questioning the integrity of Stephen's portrayal, and the quiet despair with which he reads this famous letter to his lover Bosie. Nor is the emotional heft of the music found wanting. But for me, I found they made uneasy bedfellows. We were looking at the hollowed out body of Oscar whilst his soul ebbed and flowed around him with melancholic and haunting strains. A lot of the music was underscored to a disorientating effect. Too often I sensed the music was telling me what to feel, when the words alone were filling me with emotions from the power of Wilde's writing. Having said that, this is an elegantly spare production that can be appreciated on many levels and a welcome addition to the festival programme.
A strong contrast to these two productions was provided by Compagnie Les Voisins with The Queen of Colours. This is a show at the Barn which kept a full house of small children and parents enthralled. As an acknowledged ' Luddite ' I was thrilled by the low tech presentaion. Who would have thought a simple screen, an overhead projector, a silhouette cutout figure and an array of vivid poster paints dextrously wielded by Mrs Court Painter would have worked such magic. Move over Pixar !