"inspired performance..." Katie O'Kelly in Joyced!
Assembly George Square
Donal O’Kelly has written a salute to James Joyce that is not a simple imitation of Ulysses but an exuberant celebration of language fully in the Joycean mode, and Katie O’Kelly delivers it with high energy and absolute clarity that leave you on a contact high.
On the convincing premise that much of what happened to Jimmy Joyce in the opening months of 1904 found its way into his conscious and unconscious preparation for writing Ulysses, playwright and actress walk us through his days in much the same way Joyce would follow Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom.
His strained relations with his father, his winning a bronze medal in a singing contest, his encounters with Alfred Hunter and other real-life people who would be transmuted into Ulysses characters, and his meeting and falling in love with his Molly Bloom, his future wife Nora, are all recounted in a rush of narrative that revels as much in the sheer joy of speaking the delicious words as in telling the story.
You don’t have to know Ulysses to follow this, though spotting the occasional signpost or verbal echo is part of the fun. You just have to love language as much as Joyce and the O’Kellys clearly do.
An extract from the 4 Star Threeweeks review for Joyced!
at Assembly 2, George’s Sq, until the 26th Aug @ 4.45pm daily (except Mondays) - Go!
“Katie O’Kelly gives a remarkable performance as dozens of characters, and the writing eloquently weaves rhythms and strands from Joyce’s books and biography into engaging, enlightening and dramatic theatre. The work is academically and artistically rigorous..it is adapted to performance brilliantly.”
Sorcha Fox, Katie O'Kelly, Donal O'Kelly and Paul Laverty at the opening of Joyced! in Edinburgh
Joyced! in Edinburgh
“Of all the books on all the shelves in all the world then surely Ulysses would be the very last you would choose to actually perform. With its often impenetrable text and its binge of words. Yet here is young Katie O’Kelly, choosing Ulysses and with an Olympic feat of memory, a crisp Dublin diction and more courage than common sense, declaiming its essence to the Edinburgh Fringe. She takes us on a flight across Dublin visiting more pubs than we should, meeting Joyce’s mates, or as she says herself, Jimmy’s mates, for she knows him rather better than anyone in the audience will ever know him. And then we fly and sail and chuff across Europe following Jimmy’s peripatetic Irish exile. She must be a nutter to have taken this on. Yet she pulls it off rather beautifully. It works, even for the likes of me who are only attempting to read Joyce for the third or fourth time. It is a deep performance and she is destined, I think, for greater things.
I left astonished at her talent but above all her courage.”
Joyced! in The Edinburgh Fringe
Assembly 2, George’s Square @ 4.45pm until the 26th Aug - Spread the word!
Our first four star Edinburgh review Thanks ‘Informed Edinburgh’!
‘Katie O’Kelly appears wearing black angel wings, and for the duration of the piece, scarcely drawing breath – she impersonates EVERY MEMBER of the James Joyce family, and a startling number of the characters from the modernist masterpiece that is “Ulysses”.
With no props other than a chair and her wings, and no costume changes at all, she becomes gossipy old women, Joyce’s drunken father, and Nora Joyce herself, all with the merest change of facial expression and a bewildering array of voices.’
‘The dialogue gives ‘an insight into Joyce’s linguistic pyrotechnics, and for those of us who have never got past page 130 in the book, a real sense of familiarity with the test of willpower and concentration that is Joyce’s most famous work.’
And a lovely review from whatsonstage!
‘Donal O’Kelly’s solo play, vigorously performed by his daughter Katie O’Kelly, is a regular little 45-minute tour de force’
‘O’Kelly’s text is a Joycean fruitcake of descriptive allusion and word play, operating as both a homage and a commentary and illustrating Joyce’s novel achievement in getting drunk on words; as Kenneth Tynan said much later of Brendan Behan, his language is out on a spree.’
‘Sorcha Fox’s production is great fun…Katie O’Kelly swirls the coloured cloak of her narrative in a stream of semi-consciousness, flying over the city on great black wings, a ravenous crow of a companion in a world where, for this one special day, everyone we meet has been well and truly Joyced. Even Joyce himself.’
Katie, JoJo and Joyce on George's Square!
Great interview with Katie O’Kelly about her current run in The Edinburgh Firnge at Assembly 2 on George’s Sq at 4.45 daily - spread the word!!
Katie O'Kelly on the front page of The Irish Post - Joyced has wings!!
Reviews to come!