IDGTF 2019: REVIEW – Revolting Women – A Rebel Cabaret

Review by Frances Winston

Revolting Women – A Rebel Cabaret

Part of the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival

The Teachers Club, 36 Parnell Square West Dublin 1

Runs until May 11th at 7.30pm nightly Matinee Saturday 11th at 4pm

If ever a show did what it says on the tin, it’s this one.

It’s a celebration of 100 years of female rebellion, and the fight for equal rights, and a group of performers tell stories of protest and passion through music, dance, film and drama.

Starting with a song called Grace Gifford about the wife of Joseph Plunkett, from singer/songwriter BeRn, the scene is set for an uplifting evening of female empowerment. Alongside the music there are short dramas about Countess Markievicz, and the women of the Monto back in the day, inspired dance performances, and a couple of thought-provoking videos from producer Sonya Mulligan.

The stage is draped with gold curtains, a kitsch lamp and fairy lights, and is reminiscent of a turn of the century cabaret club. Each thread works as a standalone piece, and audience members will all no doubt have their favourites. The songs in particular are infuriatingly catchy, although they are not all upbeat.

Magdalene Laundry blues in particular is extremely poignant. A film clip called Funbags and Fannys drew many laughs, while Yvonne Kavanagh’s three-part tune, Struggling Woman, threaded throughout the work, has the audience clapping along before building to the finale, where all of the cast and creatives take to the stage for the last chorus.

This really is a celebration of the feisty women, who fought for equality, as well as a nod to those who still continue to push for change. Unsurprisingly, the audience was predominately female, although the men seemed to enjoy it also. I do wonder what a male reviewer would have made of it though.

My one bugbear was that some of the segues felt a bit clunky. However, this could simply be down to the restrictions of the venue. Despite this, it was refreshing to see a proper cabaret performed with such passion.

Despite the fact that it celebrates struggle, this is an extremely uplifting show, and a wonderful tribute to some remarkable women. You don’t have to be a feminist to appreciate this. It is a wonderful evening’s entertainment, featuring some very talented ladies that would even warm the cockles of Molly Malone herself.


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