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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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Monday 19th November

Abaca is a fibre that comes from the stem of the banana leaf. It hydrates well when beaten and produces a string crisp paper.
I experimented with beating times for the pulp, then methods of sheet forming and drying; I then compared the results. The longer the pulp was beaten the finer and more translucent the paper. If the pieces were restrained when drying then sheet was more translucent, and created a crispier sound. If left to dry on the frame the paper responded like the skin of a drum. I then experimented with pouring the pulp and letting the pieces dry freely in hope that the fibres would shrink when drying created effect.

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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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