Tag Archives: Dublin

Tinsel Kids and Jet Engine Joy – ‘Kate Crackernuts’ at Smock Alley Review

In this thoroughly modern piece, gone are the fairy folk and enchantments of the original tale, here replaced by rave-culture Tinsel Kids, and drug pushing seductresses. A headless sheep narrates, and interferes with, the action while the eponymous heroine struggles to find a cure first for her sister’s malady (waking with the head of a sheep, but not that one), and then that of Paul, her seduced and pill-popping object of desire. A man-sized baby with a magic rattle, and a dead-crow-stroking crone (seated on a porcelain throne) figure also. If that sounds like a lot going on, you don’t know the half of it.

Dublin theatre group No Drama are back with this must-see frenetic joy. Director Kate Cosgrave has chosen the bold and often startling ‘Kate Crackernuts’ for their latest effort, a mesmeric take on the old Scottish folk tale by American writer Sheila Callaghan. Veering wildly from disarming lyricism to disorienting, and frequently hilarious, physical comedy, the play and players conspire to keep the audience in a state of joyful surrender. Which if you’ve ever seen a No Drama production before, will probably come as no surprise.


That’s the gut-punch of this production. Somehow, while digesting themes of seekers seeking; beauty fading; wounds as transformation; compulsion and addiction; and individualism and escapism, the sheer protean vibrancy onstage means we the audience are never lost in the proceedings, only reeling. Callaghan’s elliptical and poetic dialogue (“The raver boy who has lost his milky way”, “Youth is all you have, you better unfold it loudly” and “Ride her. Spread her. Throw her at the sun” are fairly representative lines) is always beautiful as it careens from carnality to comedy, and back by way of catharsis.


The assured central performances of Megan Carter as Kate, Siobhan Hickey as her sister Anne, Shane Robinson as drugged and wasting Paul, and, (as the embodiment of Paul’s dislocated voice) Ali Keohane, are never less than compelling and hit an extraordinary range of emotional beats. Daniel O’Brien as love-struck brother Ralph, Greg Freegrove as both Kate’s mother and Paul’s father, Darcy Donnellan Poole as the above crone, and Dave McGowan as the headless sheep, all ground the action in levity with their consummate comic chops. Sorcha Maguire as Miss Prima brings a sultry side to inter-generational rivalry and locks in the threatening aspect of the piece. “Tinsel Kids” Stephen Madden and Therese Doyle make a virtue of the mind-boggling number of scene changes by doubling up as both blissed-out rave fairies and nimble stage hands.


The producer Louise Dunne has conjured an appropriately febrile and dream-like atmosphere, and assistant director Ciaran Treanor has nailed the technical aspects and marshalling. But ultimately all credit must go to Cosgrave who has pulled something quite extraordinary into existence.


So folks, if I tell you that this singular spell of enchantment is an absolute must-not-miss, will you please, please, for the love of all that is scared and profane, just go and see it already?


Consider yourself told.

Ciarán Milton

Workshop – 04/06/2019

The theme of the month is ‘Techniques in Theatre’.

Throughout our June workshops we shall be recapping and incorporating all that we have covered over the past year and exploring new aspects of stage craft.

Tuesday the 4th kicks us off with understanding the physicality of a character and using this in performance, we shall examine emotional range and deliverance to build a scene and look at the arc of a scene; all supported with script work (beautiful lovey words to play with).

This weeks facilitator is the energetic, enthusiastic Ms Louise Dunne. 

Louise is the current chairperson of NoDramaTheatre, of which she has been an active member since 2014. Louise has studied acting at The Gaiety School of Acting and The Lir Academy and has been involved in 14 productions over the past 6 years. 

Louise has worked with the following Theatre Companies in varying capacities (at both professional and amateur level): No Drama Theatre, At Large Theatre, Monaincha Theatre Group, The Gorgeous Theatre and Pygmankenstein Theatre Group.

Louise directed the extravagant production of ‘An Experiment with an Air-Pump’ by Shelagh Stephenson in 2017 and ‘Unchained Melody’ by Adam Walsh at Smock Alley Theatre. She has also produced 3 shows for No Drama and brought a show to the All Together Now Festival in 2018.

Louise is also the Artistic Director of No Drama Theatre, adding Set Design, Set Assembly/Construction and Prop Building to her already extensive CV. 

However, her first love is and can only be acting and she has taken to the stage in 14 productions to date with both lead roles and supporting roles.

To date she has appeared in:

“The Chalk Garden” by Enid Bagnold at The Sean O’Casey Theatre Nov 2014
“The Power of Darkness” by John McGahern, The Players Theatre, June 2015
“The Trial” by Franz Kafka at Smock Alley Theatre, July 2016
“The Book of Condolences” by Kieron Connelly, The Teachers Club, Dec, 2017
“What Could Be Worse” By Adam Walsh at The Complex, Aug 2017
“Mother Stokers Sickly Stories” By Lauren Shannon-Jones at No 13, North Great Georges St, Oct 2017
“And Then There were None” By Agatha Christie, Smock Alley Theatre, Jan 2018

Louise enjoys a challenge and throws herself headfirst at 100 miles per hour with 120% conviction into everything she does, see yis all on Tuesday!

Doors 6:45 | Workshop 7 pm | CBS Synge Street

€10 per workshop | €25 for the month | Free if it’s your first No Drama workshop

Workshop – 21/05/2019

We are excited to announce that this week’s workshop (21st May) will be facilitated by Noel Cahill.

This workshop will approach extremity in theatre, taking a look at the hows and whys of extreme acts, disturbing scenes and violence on the stage. The workshop will be of a physical, repetitive and enduring nature; make sure to wear comfortable clothing.

Noel Cahill has been involved in theatre since 2008.

He has primarily written, directed and acted – as well as other work in production,design and lighting. He directed No Drama’s main production “The Trial” – an adaptation of Steven Berkoff’s adaptation of Franz Kafka’s novel in Smock Alley’s Boys’ School in 2016.

Noel founded Gorgeous Theatre in 2017, with Ciaran Treanor. He wrote and directed his own creation “Alex And” in March 2018, as well as starring in Treanor’s “June” and “Somewhere Else” in June 2017 and August 2018 respectively – all garnering critical acclaim.

Noel enjoys physical theatre and is a big fan of Charlie Chaplin.

Doors 6:45 | Workshop 7 pm | CBS Synge Street

€10 per workshop | €25 for the month | Free if it’s your first No Drama workshop

Workshop – 02/04/2014

It’s Saturday so definitely time to be making your Tuesday evening plans!

This month we will be focusing on character work and we are delighted to welcome Shane Robinson as our first facilitator of the month.

Shane’s workshop will be “The psychology of performance and how we can use the technique of ownership to build a relationship with our characters.”

Shane is an award winning professional actor and director whose been attached to No Drama since 2008. He’s trained in the Gaiety School of Acting and the programme for screen acting in Bow St. He’s been on TV shows such as Jack Taylor and Vikings and has recently just finished filming the mockumentary series Boyz on Top produced by fail safe films.

In short, he’s a good lad and he can cry on cue!

Door 6:45 | Workshop 7 pm | CBS Synge Street

€10 per workshop | €25 for the month | Free if it’s your first No Drama workshop

Workshop – 12/03/2019

“Developing Character through Scene Work”

This week we will be going on a deep dive into constructing rounded characters through short script excerpts. Through the challenge of creating with limited materials we will really push our creativity to its limit!

Where: CBS, Synge St

Workshop begins at 7pm.
€10 per workshop/€25 for the month

If it’s your first workshop, you go free!


Tickets for the Trial On Sale

Tickets for No Drama’s latest play The Trial are now on sale at the Smock Alley website.

The reviews for ‘The Trial’ have already started coming in and the show hasn’t even been performed yet. Now that’s impressive.

So for the love of all that’s fair and right in the world, all will be posted.

“A heavy-handed fugue of a production that swamps the audience in a morass of pompous, stinking cliché and tortured, circuitous plot logic. The performances are as wayward as they are trite, emotional depth hereby confused with shrill melodrama and redundant, if not entirely ersatz, erotic dance routines. The sets have been seemingly designed by abandoned toddlers on a Benzedrine and skittles binge. It is a small mercy that the languorous performances are so occluded by the lush brocade and apt feathery provided by the costume designer. Kudos Frau Mangevest for the above, and a fie on the rest of the cast / production team for their louche jackanapery.”- 1 popcorn out of 5.

Ciaran Milton – Curves Journal Nightly

In the word’s of Kafka himself, “God gives the nuts, but he does not crack them.”

Wanted: One Body. Get your tickets now!

Its here at last, Wanted: One Body, the latest production from No Drama Theatre .

Poster for Wanted One Body
Poster for Wanted One Body

Amateur Drama Group, No Drama Theatre, by arrangement with Josef Weinberger Plays Ltd., will perform Charles Dyer’s Wanted – One Body! at the Teachers Club on Parnell Square between Wednesday 20th of January and Saturday the 23rd January.

Tickets are now on sale here.

see our Productions page for more information ( synopsis, cast and production info and photos)