- 02 May 19
RIOT made for a memorable, moving, and thoroughly enjoyable night.
RIOT kicked off its six show run at Vicar Street as part of the Dublin Dance Festival last night with a thrilling and surprising variety of acts.
Before the stage even came alive, the venue was filled with an exuberant energy, as disco balls hung from the ceiling and graphics of lips were pasted to the sides of the balcony, and the excitement bubbling from the audience was evident. What followed was a collision of color, sound and a diversity of talent, with acts ranging from an ‘80s inspired dance number to impressive acrobatics and emotionally potent spoken word.
An important part of what makes RIOT so consistently entertaining is the anticipation of what each consecutive segment holds for the audience, and how the performers upend expectations within each segment. For instance, watching a man in a g-string expose a bit too much of himself as he folds his body to fit through a small hoop exemplifies some of the hilarious and irreverent shock value that permeates through some of the acts. On the other end of the spectrum is Kate Brennan’s powerful delivery of Emmet Kirwan’s spoken-word poem Heartbreak, during which the mood in the room quickly shifted. The audience were even treated to an incredible acapella performance of Nessun Dorma by James Vincent McMorrow.
It’s impressive how well these tonal shifts work. Where other variety shows sometimes feel disjointed and can become tedious due to these shifts, RIOT succeeds because of the rapidly changing emotions it evokes, and not in spite of it. An effective balance is struck between the flashy, amusing performances and the more politically-pointed moments (which include a genuinely inspiring speech by drag queen host Panti Bliss on how the idea of destiny is debilitating bullshit and why Farrah Fawcett adding an extra ‘r’ to her name can be a lesson in self-actualisation).
By the end of the performance, each member of the cast – comprised of Panti Bliss, Lords of Strut, Kate Brennan, Up & Over It, Ronan Brady, Alma Kelliher, Adam Matthews, Nicky Kavanagh, Megan Riordan – impressed in their own unique way, in the process celebrating individuality, creativity and human potential, especially when it comes to bucking the status quo in favor of a brighter world.
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