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The following review appears in the current edition (July 8th 2011) of The Munster Express, penned by Liam Murphy who was in attendance at the Monday performance of Smitten. We would like to thank Liam and The Munster Express for taking the time out to travel to Kilkenny for each of Scratcher, Shifting and Smitten as part of our residency here at No. 76 and carrying words like these in the papers. The online world can only get you so far and we’re absolutely aware of and thankful for the support of traditional and broadcast media throughout the residency and the past five years of The Devious Theatre Company.

John Morton and Suzanne O'Brien in Smitten

The Review

The excellent Devious Theatre Company completed their residency with Kilkenny Arts Office with an updating of another John Morton play – Smitten – a Kilkenny love story, a play that wants to be a musical. As ever there is a newness, a freshness, an in-your faceness about Devious that does not have a Waterford equivalent – mores the pity. They seem to assemble excellent casts, time after time and convert spaces into site-specific performance places.

Smitten is a contemporary love story, as evocative as the movie Love Actually and as episodic. But by introducing a song and dance approach you got a trivialisation that is the staple of moon and June, Singing In The Rain type shows.

In Act I the stage changes to song and dance mixed with sketch type Fast Show routines diluted the contemporary mes- sage and even the bad guys and girls were beneath it all, good people – In The Future When All’s Well.

However, in Act II a more edgy darker story emerged but drunks were good drunks addicts didn’t OD and people agreed to begin again, give it another go, another lash as it were. Once again, the individual work of the ten person cast was impressive.

Director and writer John Morton played a pivotal role as easy-going tattoos Tommy but maybe this was a dance too far. Amy Dunne was a wonderful contradiction as the librarian who swore a lot. Ken McGuire was Dave the unemployed, remorseful drunk and he made the most of his appearances. David Thompson becomes characters and I loved his emigrating carpenter whose hands were always in bandages. He was the accident that kept on happening. Suzanne O’Brien was luminous as the ditsy Daffney Molloy was Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz but there was no Yellow Brick Road in Kilkenny. However, it was Annette O’Shea as Clare the nurse who went and came back that brought a quality to an amazing place. I felt the standing ovation was particularly for her and a theatre company who make new theatre, obviously.

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As we hit the sixth night of Smitten – the longest run of a production I’ve ever been involved in on stage (well, Shifting was a six night straight run but I had the pleasure of teching the show instead) – we’re issuing a final call for tickets. Here’s the lowdown.

We opened to a house of near 60 on Sunday night, and similar again on Monday night. Since Tuesday, we’ve been operating at capacity (of which is 70) though with some slight rearrangement of the seating across Wednesday and Thursday, we’ve been able to add a few more seats to the Arts Office, bringing us closer to 80.

The box office only has 70 tickets available per night. The online sales are capped at 10 per night (we’re still in the infancy of the online ticket management side of things). So, if you do your maths you’ll see that 70 + 10 = 80. We’ve suspended the online ticket sales for the show as we’ve hit the cap on Friday night (tonight) and Saturday night (the closing night). We’ve also hit the cap at the box office for tonight (Friday), so, here’s what we’re doing.

  • You call to the box office for a ticket for tonight / tomorrow night.
  • If we’re out of tickets, you’ll get added to a waiting list or advised of the returns queue.
  • Across the day we’re ringing everyone who has a reserved ticket but has not yet collected the ticket. Reserved tickets need to be collected 24 hours before the performance or they can be resold.
  • If someone tells us they can’t go, or they haven’t collected their ticket by 7:50, those tickets will be released to the returns queue on a first come, first served basis.
  • With doors opening at 7:30pm and seating from 7:40pm, if you wish to get in line for the returns for the show, we advise you to be there at 7:30pm.
  • Also, while we’ll be locking the doors by 8:05pm at the latest and latecomers will not be admitted until the interval, and only if they are valid ticket holders.

So to the near 300 people or so who have seen Smitten in Kilkenny already this week, we really hope that you’ve enjoyed the show. If you haven’t gotten your ticket yet and want in on the action, you’ll have to move quickly! Once the show finishes on Saturday, so too does our residency here at No. 76. For those of you who have tickets for tonight’s show, we’ll see you from 7:30pm and if you need any more persuading, check out this review from The Kilkenny Reporter.

The day has arrived. D-day. Or S-day, depending on how you look at it. In just under 8 hours time we’ll be kicking off Smitten, the latest and final installment of our In The Future When All’s Well theatrical residency here at No. 76.

The seats are in, the venue has been dressed, the lights are hung, the stage is set, there’s all kinds of cables running to all kinds of places but most importantly, Smitten is ready to go for Kilkenny audiences.

It’s already ten days since we performed Smitten at Solstice as part of the Cork Midsummer Festival and ten days on we’ve added a scene or two, a light or two, and installed the show quite comfortably back into what’s been our home for the past six months.

On the show itself, it’s well worth noting that it does contain strong language and sexual references throughout. We’re advising a minimum age of 16, with parental discretion advised. Doors will open at 7:30pm, seating can be filled from 7:40pm and the show will commence at 8:00pm. Due to the nature of the show and venues, latecomers will not be admitted until a suitable break in the performance (interval). There will be one interval of 10 minutes maximum for folk to stretch legs, grab a breath of fresh air with smoking permitted outside the building only.

Tonight marks the first of a seven night run for the show, building on Scratcher (five nights) and Shifting (six nights) in order to facilitate demand for the work produced over the course of the residency. Our thanks to everyone who’s made the opening night possible, especially Mary and Niamh here at No. 76, Maeve Butler (Cillin Hill, seating), Vincent Dempsey and all at Barnstorm Theatre (Rostrum for tiered seating) and of course, you. Without you, we wouldn’t be doing the work we do.

A limited amount of tickets priced just €8 are available for tonight’s show, booking on 086 1048191 or in person at the Arts Office until 6pm and pre-show from 7:30pm. We hope you’ll be entertained!

Smitten performs June 26 – July 2 here at No. 76 John Street. Buy your tickets online, reserve via mobile on 086 1048191 or 056 7794138 (office hours). The box office is open 10am – 6pm daily with tickets for the week priced just €12. For more, visit DeviousTheatre.com.

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to be Smitten! With the show opening this coming Sunday night, we bring you a look at the cast in action and some of the activities going on behind the scenes as the set gets installed here at the Arts Office.

Tickets are available for each night next week by phoning the arts office on 056-7794138 or you can call us on the office mobile on 086-1048191. For those of you who would like to pick up your tickets in advance, stop by our online ticket sales where you can print your own 🙂

More coming this week for you!

WE’RE OFF to Cork. We’ve been working away in the Arts Office every day for the past two weeks in the preparation for Smitten. More photo shoots, video shoots (video coming soon), more props, more costumes, more acting – or less acting to be specific. We’ve made a few chops and changes, dropped a scene or two, packed our bags and now we’re ready to hit the road.

Are we excited?

Yes.

Are we ready?

Yes.

Are the good people of Cork ready? Here’s hoping.

The Arts Office will be closed to the general public in our absence so if you’re looking for tickets for Smitten in Kilkenny, the best we can advise you to do is the get your tickets online here or phone 056-7794138 and leave your details for a reservation. We’ll contact you as soon as we’re back in Kilkenny.

Solstice, where we’re heading, marks our second adventure outside of Kilkenny for the year. When we started out five years ago we had touring the top of our agenda, and it’s been there every year since. I think one of the goals we had for the residency was to develop some work that could travel and maybe put ourselves in a position to tour at the end of the residency but as things panned out, by the time we finish up at No 76 next month we’ll have not one, but two festival appearances under our belts, with two different shows.

So, hopefully the good people of Cork will enjoy what they see as much as we’ll have enjoyed putting it all together. Of course, if you like what you see in Cork this Thursday evening at 6pm in the Old Fás building on Sullivan’s Quay (like the plug?) then you’ll love what opens at No 76 on June 26th. Call it the all-singing-all-dancing-all-technicolour extended version, a treat for the home audience.

We’ll go break legs, not hearts. Wish us look, we’ll see you on the other side and we’ll be back in the office on Monday to get our Kilkenny groove on. Just to finish on a light note, here’s a few things you might not know about Cork. We’re all about learning and informing, or didn’t you know that?

  • County Cork is the largest County in Ireland, and Cork City is Ireland’s third largest city after Dublin and Belfast. The area of Cork City is 3,731 hectares. County Cork covers an area of 7,459 square kilometres or 2,880 square miles, which is 11% of the Irish State.
  • There are many tourist attractions in Cork and one of the most popular is Blarney Castle, here you will get an opportunity to ‘Kiss The Blarney Stone’ – when you kiss the Blarney Stone it is said you will get the ‘Gift of The Gab’ meaning you will speak in a persuasive and interesting way! Don’t forget too, there’s also Solstice.
  • Cork Harbour is said to be the second largest harbour in the world, after Sydney Harbour in Australia. The motto on the coat of arms of Cork City is ‘Statio Bene Fide Carinis’ which means ‘A Safe Harbour for Ships’. Only thing is, when Devious Theatre arrive in Cork, you know someone’s gonna see us and utter the phrase “We’re gonna need a bigger boat”. At least they have the harbour for it anyway, what?

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Art at No. 76

The aim and focus of the Art Residency at No. 76 is to enable the successful applicant to research and develop their practice. Other aims of the residency are to: give insights into how and why artists create their work, build relationships and further promote the Arts, provide an awareness and further appreciation of the Arts, cultivate and develop new audiences. The Kilkenny Arts Office is part of ArtLinks.ie

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