Theatre review: Cork Midsummer Festival, Neon Western: Prologue, Marina Commercial Park

Meet at midnight near a warehouse on the outskirts of the city? It’s an arrangement that inevitably causes a frisson of excitement.

Then we’re led in through a dimly-lit corridor, camera-phones lighting up designs on the breezeblocks, and sirenesque performers leaning against the walls, chanting with an air of seductive menace. Interest levels rise that bit more. And when we eventually do get inside, the barman character offers free beer. Audience signed, sealed, and delivered!

‘Part rave, part theatre’ is how this collaboration between sound masters Eat My Noise and Conflicted Theatre company is billed, and even without the free drink, it would have won over attendees.

There is a narrative running through the cinematic scenes that occur in different parts of the warehouse, but this piece is more about atmosphere and feeling. It’s like we’re wandering between a David Lynch set and a music video. Water falls from the roof to give a rainfall effect, lights are cleverly reflected, silhouettes in windows invoke scenes of gross violence. All backed up by a brilliant soundscape of throbbing electronica and the impressive singing voices of the female leads.

Neon Western is still a work in progress, and there will be challenges ahead bringing together the elements of narrative, atmosphere and social ‘happening’ in an extended piece for next year. But they are off to a mighty fine start.


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