Maloney’s Dream review: Rising chaos that children will love
A bilingual show for children aged eight and over brings to life the events of Easter week with clarity and humour
Maloney’s Dream/Brionglóid Maloney
Civic Theatre, Tallaght
Easter Monday 1916 is the most important day of Thaddeus Maloney’s life. After 10 years abroad, he is finally able to realise his dream of opening a hotel in his native Dublin. When he first arrives at the premises on Sackville Street it is almost derelict but highly promising. By the time of the grand opening on Easter Monday, however, it is fully booked and the finest place in town.
Maloney’s Dream brings to life the events of Easter week with clarity and humour, for audiences aged eight and over. As the Rising breaks out on the streets around the hotel, Thaddeus and his guests are forced to contend with all manner of disruptions, including the rebels raiding the kitchen and British soldiers stealing the bed linen for bandages. Director Marc Mac Lochlainn squeezes dozens of interesting facts about life for civilians into the 70-minute show, using a range of theatrical tools – music, puppetry, animation, shadow play – that do not lose our attention for a moment. The use of live instruments to create the sound of the city at war and in flames is particularly effective.
The ensemble cast – led by the ghostly Jonathan Gunning as Maloney – do a terrific job seguing from character to character and scene to scene. However, it is the young wooden boy they animate who brings a real emotional level to the street scenes, his tiny frame capturing the powerlessness of civilians caught in the crossfire of the rebellion.
Maloney’s Dream is pitched as a bilingual show, but the sophisticated theatrical language ensures that nothings is lost in translation. As an educational tool for schoolchildren learning about the 1916 Rising, it is a brilliant resource, which is supplemented by an excellent and stylish website. As a stand-alone theatre piece, however, it is outstanding.