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By Darragh Byrne

From the April 27th edition of The Kilkenny Reporter.

Devious follow the success of Scratcher with the very different but equally as striking Shifting. The second part of their ‘In The Future When All’s Well’ trilogy in their Arts Office residency, this is about teenagers adrift in our modern abyss and kissing each other to make up the gaps in between.

The structure of the play is of an 18th birthday party where a bunch of expectant and slightly drunken girls wait for the lads to arrive and most importantly a cool band who are on their way down from Dublin.

In the second act all the secrets and lies come forward as the party goers are even more inebriated and there is the violent arrival of a third party with a hurley. To pass the time there is banter, casseroles and shifting: lots of shifting.

Written for the first time by a new writer who isn’t established, Devious have taken a gamble on a young playwright not yet out of his teenage years. John Kennedy has repaid this gamble with a fine piece of writing which is very tense and funny but equally not afraid to handle dark matters. Showing a huge maturity of approach while keeping an ear for his age group’s turn of phrase, this never feels forced or gauche.

John Morton, Ken McGuire and Angela Barrett must all take a bow for helping this young cast onto a larger stage. All veterans of youth theatre, this massive leap to a professional environment is made seamless by the quality of the blocking and their superb performances.

Peter O’Connor is the confused heart of the play, annoyed that his friends have left him behind. Alan Doyle is incredible as the boy trying to grow up to quickly at all costs and John Kennedy himself delivers a lovely turn as someone caught between romance and his hormones.

The girls too are uniformly excellent – Alex Christle is the American birthday girl who is struggling with her past, Aoibhín Murphy the Spar worker who will do anything to escape Kilkenny while Ruth Phelan who manages the tricky thing of making a drunk party girl flesh.

Special mention must however go to two character parts who stole the show – Connie Walsh was brilliant as the Sylvia Plath wannabe, while Colin O’Brien was a revelation as the Darina Allen obsessed chav.

Now this party is over it is sad that there isn’t a place for these superb actors to hone their craft, as for the next generation of young thespians locally there is only pantomime and musicals. Devious have proven two things with this play – that there is a hunger as well as a need for this kind of theatre that reflects teenager’s lives without condescending to them. John Hughes himself – that great chronicler of teen life, would have walked out of this play punching the air to the tune of ‘Don’t You Forget About Me!’

You can find this review, and more, at DeviousTheatre.com.

What just happened? One minute we’re getting ready to open Shifting. Next thing you know we’re in rehearsal for Smitten.

That’s how we roll.

Shifting has been laid to rest, the Arts Office transformed back to some sense of near normality but we’re already rocking and rolling our way into production number three as the entire cast (bar one) of Smitten meet later this evening at No. 76 to read through John Morton’s much revised and developed / redeveloped / rebooted script. We’ve a ton of photos and more besides to bring you as well as a bit of a retrospective but for the moment we’re getting things set here to get back into the swing of things for Smitten.

Be warned – you may start to see photos of us dancing and prancing around No. 76 and if you’re calling in in person, please don’t be scared. Or just call in and watch or join in the craic. Lord knows it’s going to be a ball. More on Smitten for you in a few days when we announce the official dates, details and tickets.

The following review appeared in The Kilkenny People on Wednesday April 27th 2011.



By Tess Felder

Published in Wednesday 27 April 2011 edition of The Kilkenny People

Devious Theatre Company: The Next Generation arrived with a bang last week.

Presenting Shifting, with a new cast including new writer John Kennedy, their sharp, highly comedic performances met with standing ovations on opening night and throughout the week.

Directed by John Morton, it’s the company’s second of three plays to be staged in the Arts Office as part of their six-month residency. The play tells the story of the lovely teenage Amy (Alex Christle), whose 18th birthday party is a celebrated success, until it all goes horribly wrong.

A sort of Dazed and Confused for the current Kilkenny generation, it’s full of teenage crushes, laughter and a few tears, and even a Matthew McConaughey-older-brother-interloper type in the form of a braided-hair, rough Englishman David Thompson. (A Devious play just wouldn’t be the same without him, would it?) Being written and performed in Kilkenny, there were also added laughs for local references such as being kicked out of certain venues for being underage.

With a cast of 13, there were plenty of diverse and well-shaped characters to love, or to love to hate – the latter honour going to an outstanding and hilariously unpredictable Colin O’Brien as party-crasher Mark.

The playwright himself was on the mark as Jamie, the birthday girl’s boyfriend with one thing on his mind: her virginity; and Peter O’Connor as his best friend Jim captured the confusion of a teenager not sure which girl to ‘shift’, not sure what to do with his life, and whether to grow up or to stick around playing Guitar Hero for another year. And your heart had to go out to Connie Walsh’s Eimear, the lovably sweet, socially awkward, Sylvia Plath-devoted poet whose heart was destined to be broken as the night wore on.

There are so many clichés about young people being the hope of the future etc, etc, etc. In this case, it’s deviously true.

The dust has settled on the opening night of Shifting, the hoover is coming out of the storage closet, the windows are open and it’s a bright sunny Tuesday morning. We’re shifting. Or at least, we’re off and running with Shifting.

Last night’s performance was the mark of six weeks of hard work on week nights and weekends by a cast where all but one or two have worked with us previously. Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong and you were in the house last night but from standing behind the tech desk you could see that the audience and actors loved every aspect of the show, with the standing ovation and cheers well deserved.

And if you were one of the lucky ones to get a ticket for last night’s sold-out performance, then thank you very much for helping to mark a special night for both the cast and the company. Shifting marks the first time that not one of the founder members or core members of the company has take to the stage and truth be told, takes us founding members back almost ten years to when we started doing more adult style theatre.

The fine folk you will meet on stage over the course of the week are part of “the new class”, if you will, at The Devious Theatre Company and we welcome them with open arms and hope that our work with them continues long past Shifting.

On the ticket front, when I joked about tickets for Shifting being something like hens teeth earlier in the week, I wasn’t messing. Last night was a capacity show, with tonight, tomorrow, Friday and Saturday already fully booked out. We are able to take names for a waiting list for tickets during the week. You can also try posting on our Facebook page to see if anyone is up to swapping tickets for a particular night, or you can come along early in the night to see if any tickets on reserve go uncollected. Uncollected tickets will be released to buy around 7:50 or so, with seats opened to waiting patrons from the 7:40 mark.

That said, there are about a half dozen tickets for Thursday but we’ve already shifted some of them to the early visitors to the ticket desk this morning so if you’re after a ticket, don’t delay.

If you were at the show last night, we’d love to hear what you thought. Leave a comment below, drop us a line on Facebook or email us to tell us what you think. We’re gonna get this placed cleaned up for the second performance tonight and sure we might see you there!

We’re happy to announce that physical tickets (as in the super awesome printed tickets disguised cleverly as party invites) for Shifting are now on sale and are available to reserve or collect in person at 76 John Street.

Reservations can be made by phone to 056-7794138 for every performance date except Monday April 18th. For the opening night of the show we’re inviting youth groups, younger theatre goers and students to avail of a special €5 ticket (please don’t be offended if we ask for ID). These special tickets are only available to buy in person. They won’t be online and cannot be reserved over the phone. You can pick them up here at the Arts Office, or on the door on the Monday night of the show.

If you can’t get to town and would rather order tickets online, you can do so here and have your tickets emailed to you immediately on purchase. Tickets purchased online include a €1 booking charge.

As the old ads on the telly say, “Don’t delay, book today!” But seriously, given the unprecedented demand for tickets for Scratcher in February, you would be well advised to book without delay.

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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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