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 Post subject: Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2003 11:07 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Giselle
By Karen Fricker for The Guardian


Michael Keegan-Dolan's new work, co-produced by Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre and the Dublin Theatre festival, owes its title and its basic plotline to Théophile Gautier's classic romantic ballet. But everything else about the work is brazenly and triumphantly new: Philip Feeney's electronic score, the almost all male casting, the stripped-back precision of Sophie Charalambous and Adam Silverman's designs, the renovation of storytelling through a layering of spoken dialogue and movement. All these combine to create a work of narrative originality and technical achievement that challenges and extends the definitions of all the words with which it is necessary to describe it: "Irish", "dance" and "theatre."

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 Post subject: Re: Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 10:33 am 
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Giselle
By Debra Craine at the Barbican


START by forgetting everything you know about Giselle. Then sit back and let Michael Keegan-Dolan’s remarkable staging entice you into the nightmare world of Ballyfeeny, the fictional Irish town where unspeakable horrors stalk our poor heroine.

This Giselle is about as far as you can get from the iconic romantic sheen of the great 19th-century ballet. There is no lovely Adam music, no white tulle skirts, no soft whispers of dance. Instead we have an unsettling electronic score by Philip Feeney, men in brown suits and cowboy hats, and line dancing.

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There's only one way to see Giselle - from up a telegraph pole
By Jan Parry for The Observer

Retellings of old ballet stories are circling round London like planes in a holding pattern, waiting for their slot to land in a dance-friendly theatre. Fresh in from Ireland is Michael Keegan-Dolan's Giselle (continuing this week) with touring versions of La Sylphide, Matthew Bourne's Highland Fling and Swan Lake (or Australian Dance Theatre's version, Birdbrain) about to arrive.

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<small>[ 27 February 2005, 11:33 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 6:50 am 
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Check out CD's thread for Michael Keegan-Dolan aswell.


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 Post subject: Re: Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 6:56 am 
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Powerful reimaginings

by ISMENE BROWN
the Daily Telegraph

His cast is almost all male, so there is much sexually provocative cross-dressing and role-playing, and Giselle is not the flower of the community but the dogsbody.
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 Post subject: Re: Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 10:41 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Fabulous Beast's "Giselle"
David Dougill in The Sunday Times reels at Fabulous Beast


Is nothing sacred? Certainly not Giselle, that other Romantic masterpiece, in the hands of radical choreographers. The latest remake to reach our shores came as a startling UK debut at the Barbican by Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre, from Ireland, carrying with itplaudits from its creation at the Dublin Theatre Festival of 2003.

No Rhineland setting or pretty peasants here, but an oddball community in a fictitious Irish village, Ballyfeeney — a place of dark deeds and tortured histories. Giselle’s father, a character we have never encountered before, climbs a telegraph pole (the safest place, it seems).

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 Post subject: Re: Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 1:54 am 
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Traditional ballet gets the bird

by ZOE ANDERSON
the Independent

Giselle is played by a woman, Daphne Strothmann. The rest of the cast is male. The point of Keegan-Dolan's staging, at least for the first half, is its quick, slick pace.
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 Post subject: Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2005 8:21 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Giselle
By Katie Phillips for The Stage


While splinters of Theophile Gautier’s 1841 original romantic version do pop up, Michael Keegan-Dolan’s contemporary reworking of Giselle delves into the deep, dark depths of the ballet’s psyche. The original pretty Rhineland village is replaced by Ballyfeeny, a dark place inhabited by a community of bastard lunatics and a stamping ground for the sexually depraved and psychologically disturbed.

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Ballet in the bog

by JOHN O'MAHONY
the Guardian

On a bleak hill in the Irish midlands, Michael Keegan-Dolan, one of the most talented choreographers ever to emerge from Ireland, has spent the past six months building a house with his bare hands. The skeleton of the structure is a derelict two-room schoolhouse.
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Giselle

by JUDITH MACKRELL
the Guardian

Giselle, no longer a pretty peasant girl, is a chronic asthmatic, kept semi-prisoner by her incestuous brother, Hilarion. Her only happiness is found in the local linedance class, taught by Albrecht, a bisexual stranger from Bratislava. He seduces Giselle but breaks her heart when she discovers him being cheerfully buggered by the town butcher.
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The Story of the Bull
by KAREN FRECKER for the Guardian

This Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre/Dublin theatre festival/BITE:07 co-production finds Michael Keegan-Dolan reprising the themes of his 2003 hit Giselle on a more ambitious scale, but with little of that production's beauty. Contemporary rural Ireland is once again portrayed as a site of venality, inbreeding and violence, but the production's contempt for the society it describes is so overwhelming that it becomes an assault on the sensibilities.

published: October 7, 2005
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Last edited by Stuart Sweeney on Wed Jun 28, 2006 3:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 1:57 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
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Fabulous Beast Theatre “The Flowerbed”, The Pit, The Barbican, London, 20th June, 2006

In 2005, Fabulous Beast Theatre burst on the London dance scene with their deconstructed, contemporary dance version of “Giselle” and the national critics were out in force to see the opening night of “The Flowerbed”, an extensively revised version of a work from 2000.

The programme notes tell us that a Fabulous Beast performance: “…can consist of tragedy, slapstick, opera, yoga, ballet, Footlight review and contemporary dance all moulded into a dynamic format which is as moving as it is gruesome as it is raucous,” and that accords with “The Flowerbed”, albeit that slapstick, the gruesome and the raucous dominate the mix.

Director, Michael Keegan-Dolan and his team of actor/dancers provide plenty of laughs, bizarre events and theatrical business to retain our attention. The basic story is a present day “Romeo and Juliet” throwing two newly neighbouring families into conflict, one lumpenproletariat, the other middle-class. The former drink, smoke and watch TV continuously, while the latter worship a neat lawn and aerobics. Although in the case of the lawn, worship is fetishistic rather than holy and the scene with Michael M. Dolan’s middle-class husband kissing and fondling his lawn-mower and exciting himself, more than somewhat, stretched out face down on the grass, is hilarious.

A bloke with a beard and hairy legs plays the working-class Mum. More subtly, and the penny dropped only when I looked at the programme, the middle-class “son” is played by a woman, Rachel Poirier, who toured with Rambert a few years ago.

The movement requires deceptive power and precision and this Tanztheater work brought to mind DV8 and Matthew Bourne’s “Play Without Words”, although “the Flowerbed” has a rawness that plays no part in Bourne’s palette.

The central problem is that the class stereotype jokes come over and over again and when half-way through there is a supermarket run, the contents of the two families’ trolleys are predictably beer and crisps on the one hand and cleaning materials on the other.

The relationship between the working-class daughter and the middle-class boy provides a change of mood from the battles over life-style and a disputed flowerbed, and a love scene perched on a swing provides a lasting and touching image. Nevertheless, the unlikelihood of the two dysfunctional families producing such sensible and sensitive children undermines the narrative, especially in the case of the daughter, who is more Eastbourne than EastEnders.

The ending is closer to “Hamlet” than “Romeo and Juliet”, with the two families wiped out in an apocalyptic fight, when neither can accept their children’s love affair, but we seem no further forward with few insights or questions to take away from the theatre. Thus, although entertaining, “The Flowerbed”, with its unconvincing characters, fails to resonate as Tanztheater can.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 3:46 am 
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The Flowerbed
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian

His cue for the families to embark on their final murderous frenzy is silly - a Capulet steals a bottle of "happy pills" and dies in a lurid, overdose. After that everyone falls like dominoes. The blood may be gruesome but the timing is too tidy,...

published: June 22, 2006
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 2:29 am 
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The Flowerbed
By John Percival for The Stage

Forget the publicity about Romeo and Juliet. The characters in Michael Keegan-Dolan’s The Flowerbed have an obvious inspiration but their situation is meaner and bleaker. And be warned - the priggish initial residents prove just as filthy-minded and self-obsessed as the rowdy squatters who move in next door. Father too literally loves his lawn (see the Nijinsky Faun quotation) and the supposed goody-two-shoes son smokes a spliff before screwing the girl next door on a garden swing.

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 Post subject: The Bull
PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 5:27 pm 
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Quote:
Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian
published: February 23, 2007

Why Maeve, the psychotic Fogarty matriarch, should covet the Cullens' bull, and why the latter should defy her, is itself a perversely twisted tale. But what was originally a saga of heroism and honour is now a ruthlessly comic anatomisation of greed, stupidity and corruption as the two families, their pets, their lovers, even the cast of an Irish dance show (The Celtic Bitch), are slaughtered in a deliriously accelerating torrent of tribal bloodlust.
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Quote:
The Bull
by DEBRA CRAINE for the Times
published: Februray 23, 2007

If you are expecting a dance show, though, forget it. Choreography is just one element in this robustly physical piece of theatre. The choreographed violence, hilarious and shocking, owes a big debt to Quentin Tarantino (the foul language too).
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