Review: Cadaver Synod, Fringe 2019

Cadaver Synod tells the story of the posthumous trial of Pope Formosus, who reigned in Rome from 891 to 896 AD – and who was ignominiously dug up nine months after his death, to be put on trial for perjury by Stephen VI, his successor’s successor. The production (Robin Osman director, Reality Funds Theatre) begins right in the thick of things, opening on a conversation between Stephen and Ageltrude, Queen of Italy (played with a self-assured arrogance by Andrea Linhova, who is utterly convincing in the role) – where the idea for the synod is hit upon.

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Review: Drone, Fringe 2019

Drone is not an easy performance to summarise, let alone assign a numerical value to. It was a long time before my thoughts had settled enough to write this review. Drone is not a light show, to be seen casually or on a whim. Harry Josephine Giles delivers each line with the gravitas and articulacy of a born performer: even watching Giles do something as simple as drink a glass of water is utterly arresting. There is bravado in their delivery, and humour, and above all vulnerability, that draws the viewer in, inviting you to listen and watch with as much of yourself as they give of themself.

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Review: Rowan Hisayo Buchanan & Yelena Moskovich, EIBF 2019

I was pleased to see that one of the very first events on the Book Festival programme was an exploration of “queer desire”, through the lens of two books that, as it turns out, have more in common with each other than just the title of the event would suggest. The two authors, Yelena Moskovich and Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, have both released novels this year which deal with latent and burgeoning queer female desire, and both are told from the perspective of women often deemed “difficult” – mentally ill, rebellious, or criminal.

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Review: Carmen Maria Machado & Chris Power – Basic Connections, EIBF 2018

Chaired by author and translator Daniel Hahn, Saturday evening’s event was a discussion and readings from Carmen Maria Machado and Chris Power, each showcasing work from their debut short story collections. Power, whose work has appeared in The Stinging Fly, The Dublin Review and The White Review, uses place and movement in his collection Mothers to bring characters out of their comfort zone and find the beauty in everyday detail. Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties, on the other hand, is a collection mostly of speculative short stories, which plays with genre, folktale and archetype to explore questions of violence and bodily autonomy.

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