The Dublin Fringe Festival is just about coming to a close in the city. The 18 day long annual arts festival offers attendees a contemporary approach to the arts and a platform or stage, so to speak, to sample the best and quirkiest new Irish and International acts. One such act is FAIR BALLS T'YIS: A Football Opera.
There is a fundamental irony to this production: it is inspired by the antics of Dublin's illustrious and revered Hill 16, but it is developed and presented by Belgian company Hep Kip. It is performed by real GAA fans – essentially it is a true blue reenactment. The national icon for Dublin fans that is the terrace on the railway end of Croke Park, Hill 16, is recreated. It sets the stage for this football opera.
The play starts with a single fan and the volume of fans build up slowly to about forty individuals of all ages and walks of life representing Dublin fans in the theatrical make shift stand. The atmosphere is in constant fluctuation. It transitions from turbulent, happy, sad, anxious, with fans turning on each other as the score of the match is not favorable for the Dublin team.
The tribe of fans has a common objective, with the same victorious outcome in their united sights. Every spectrum of human emotion is expressed, and the impact of and camaraderie of sport is a predominant theme of the production.
There are some funny moments, in particular a girl of about seven-year-old child making the astute observation very loudly that the referee is a wanker.
The concept of FAIR BALLS T’YIS is endearing and very appropriate viewing, considering Dublin’s upcoming match this Sunday.
However, it is loud (very loud) and has so much going on, complete with boisterous banging drum and fans fighting and screaming at each other during halftime.
The production in the confines of The Samuel Beckett Theatre in Dublin’s Trinity College has the definite and distinct potential to induce a headache.