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‘Caomhán Keane’s Top 10 Theatre Productions of 2012,’
3rd January 2013

No. 2: FARM

WillFred Theatre pulled off a rather remarkable achievement in their follow up to Follow, their Spirit of the Fringe winning exploration of what it means to be deaf in the world today. The land and those that keep it has been tilled over by artists throughout the years, given rise to some delicious theatrical crop, if what’s been plucked is often shown to be rotten at its core. But rarely has it been excavated so compassionately, with such grace and theatrical warmth as this beautiful, moving and rare work. Through song and dance, drink and disclosure, we are given the lay of the land, the natural mechanics and man-made maladies that manifest on everything from the tiniest of allotments to the most sprawling estates. An anthropological study, structured as show and tell, the sparking imagination behind each segment not only tickles you pink but pierces your psyche so that while you laugh at how the plight of the queen bee is presented-as a barbershop quartet, you feel the pain of her situation. Shane O’Reilly’s solo dance was spectacular to look at but you couldn’t miss the raging sorrow beneath it. And both the brutality and brilliance of bovine birth was confided to us by one of our fellow heard members, in a blood soaked hospital gown with a warm mug of tea. FARM showed us the messy, harsh and essential work done on the land but it had the good grace to show us the very human struggle.