By James Moore from the Bloomsday Survival Kit
The cast of the TRON Theatre’s production of James Joyce’s Ulysses did a tremendous job overall especially given the difficulty of the material and the seriously physical nature of this particular play. These actors were kept going from start to finish, almost all except Leopold Bloom (who’s in almost every scene anyway as the principal character) had to play multiple characters, sing, dance, and don many hats – a true test of memory, nerves and physical stamina.
The actors Mary Murray (Gerty) and Maeve FitzGerald (Martha) really shone in particular. Stephen Clyde was also terrific, and at one point there were even menacing echoes of a Jack the Ripper-like character in his portrayal of Blazes Boylan. I loved his duet with Molly Bloom played by Muireann Kelly. This was the musical number highlight of the show. The choreography by Alan Greig was just superb. I was put in mind of clockwork, the timings were so good and so intricate seeming. I adored the depictions of Bloom in messiah mode, the slow motion action sequences, the dancing.
The clever multiple uses of the ladder and the bed were a delight, which leads me to the stunning stage design by Charlotte Lane. The set was an Edwardian Victorian delight bursting at the seams with books, bric a brac and paraphernalia of all sorts. It reflected the denseness of the text and the ideas and objects referenced in Ulysses itself. It was not only multi-purpose in its useage but gave a solid setting for all the action to work against. Cliche as it may sound, the set was another character of the play, helped in no small part by the great lighting of Sergey Jakovsky.
Everyone involved in this rich and warm-hearted adaptation deserves commendation. The whole thing works so wonderfully well. There is so much in this play worth seeing, you will definitely be getting your money’s worth if you can manage to get a hold of a ticket. Dermot Bolger’s adaptation of Ulysses continues at the Project Arts Centre, Dublin, through 10 November 2012.