(Mary Leland’s article appeared in the Irish Times, 6/21.)
The theatrical centrepiece of Cork’s Midsummer Festival Sacrifice at Easter is billed as a creative collaboration between Pat Kiernan, Mel Mercier and McCabe but whatever its provenance, this Corcadorca presentation reasserts the company’s supremacy in fusing location and inspiration with undeviating production values.
Blessed by a benign twilight and leading its audience along defensive walkways high over the city, this performance blends its lighting and soundscapes in, around and under the unscalable walls of the Elizabethan fort. A massive Friesian cow of thankfully mild temperament is also present. She may be a commentary on a series of episodes that, within a framing fairy-tale, are themselves an interrogation of modern Ireland and its contemporary intellectual pathos. As an allegory this takes mischief-making to an entertaining extreme, but McCabe is a master of the sly and the subtle, and his punches land like improvised explosives, underpinned by Mel Mercier’s layered and looming sound-score.