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College Tribune | September 16 2008

Social Endeavour OF THE FORTNIGHT

THEATRE

The National Aquatic Centre. Water parks are not generally associated with Ireland as the weather really doesn’t permit it. However, the NAC in Blanchardstown is Europe’s largest indoor water park and pool centre so there’s no danger of being rained on. The Aqua Zone is the more fun orientated half of the NAC. It consists of a periodic wave pool, lazy river, pirate ship, bubble pool as well as three water

A Wilde night out Caitrina Cody had a front row seat at the dazzling display of wit and intrigue that was An Ideal Husband, at the Abbey Theatre slides, including two flumes. They may not be the most impressive slides you ever come across, but the ‘Master Blaster’ which lets the rider pick up speed on inflatable rings is definitely worth a go. However it is the ‘Flow Rider’ which is the most original ride in the NAC. It is in essence a U shaped surf machine, where the rider lying on a body board, drops in and is blasted uphill on jetted water- much harder than it sounds. It is also advisable that women sporting bikinis avoid this one unless you’re a fan of exhibitionism. Also, there are rarely long lines so you shouldn’t be waiting more than five minutes for each ride. However if your tastes are more matured, the impressive 50 metre competition and diving pools are available to day visitors and really are a must see. For students a day pass is twelve euro. Directions are available on their website but to access it by bus, you can take the 38A from Hawkins Street.

Cathy Buckmaster

The Abbey’s An Ideal Husband is an oldschool drama. Period costumes, lavish sets and flowery language – this is no jazzy, modern version with sound effects and strobe lights. No, this is good, old-fashioned, back-to-basics theatre. For a theatre-goer with traditional tastes, this play ticks all the boxes. It is a stately affair, the women dressed in sumptuous ball-gowns, the men in dinner jackets and cravats. As the characters converse, they are not so much talking as participating in a form of verbal fencing. Written by Oscar Wilde in 1895, An Ideal Husband is rich in Wildean satire and hilarious double-entendres. The action revolves around the fortunes of Sir Robert Chiltern, Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Lady Gertrude Chiltern, his wife. Sir Robert is the ‘Ideal Husband’ of the

play’s title and Lady Gertrude believes him to be the very epitome of honour and truth, in both his public and private affairs. Natalie Radmall-Quirke shines as the morally rigid Gertrude who proclaims harshly that, “One’s past is what one is. It is the only way by which people should be judged.” Needless to say, Gertrude is soon disillusioned in regard to her husband’s supposedly stainless character. The villain of the piece is Mrs Cheveley, superbly played by Derbhle Crotty, who schemes and plots to achieve her own ends by blackmailing the tortured Sir Robert into giving up his principles. The play is focused on issues of morality and social hypocrisy and behind the witty repartee is a meaningful message. Wilde pokes fun at the vacuous social interaction

of the British upper-class but it is through the dandified Lord Goring that a resolution to the crisis is ultimately found. Skillfully played by Mark O’Halloran, of Adam and Paul fame, Goring’s cynicism conceals a true understanding of forgiveness and love. “To give and not expect return? That is what lies at the heart of love.” The plot twists and turns and a certain suspension of disbelief is required at times but swept along by the intrigue, one becomes truly engaged with the play’s progress. The ornate stage sets are beautifully managed, and the overall feel of the play is smooth and polished. The aristocratic accents are flawless and the dry wit that made Wilde famous sparkles like champagne throughout the four act play. An Ideal Husband is showing at the Abbey Theatre until the 27th of September. Student discounts are available.

books

To die for On a darkening December evening in 1973, in a suburb of Pennsylvania, Susie Salmon emerges late from school and decides to take an ill-advised shortcut home through a deserted cornfield. She never makes it back to her house. The first time we meet Susie, the protagonist of The Lovely Bones, she is already in heaven. The individualised heaven portrayed is another highly significant aspect of the book. She tells the reader how she was confronted by a familiar neighbour, who proceeded to rape her and then dismember her corpse. We never meet Susie’s living self because the book focuses more on how her fam-

ily and friends deal with their huge anguish and how Susie herself, comes to terms with her own death. However we do learn about her personality and the world she came from through moments of retrospect. The Lovely Bones is spread over a long period of time where Susie narrates about the varying lives and difficulties such as depression and guilt that the people she knew must face. In the beginning, she narrates in the young and energetic voice of a teenager but she is forever maturing, portrayed through her changing tone. The novel is most definitely a coming of age story even though

the Lovely bones Alice sebold the protagonist is already dead. The author, Alice Sebold was herself the victim of rape and portrays Susie’s death unflinchingly. The reader is confronted with the many sordid details from the start including that of her severed elbow being found by a neighbour’s dog. However, it is not all darkness and although it may cause moments of upset, it is a story that is ultimately one of hope and compassion. The Lovely Bones has some excellent moments of suspense and will undoubtedly make a reader laugh more than once. Cathy Buckmaster

Red hot When You are Engulfed in Flames is a collection of humorous essays by the American writer David Sedaris. The opening chapter gives a telling glimpse of Sedaris’ eccentric character and a pretty good idea of what is to follow. The writer confesses that he only began to wash his second hand clothes when he discovered that he had caught crabs from a pair of used trousers. Apparel hygiene aside, Sedaris recounts a variety of bizarre events from his personal life, of which there are many. Some are interesting, some funny and some downright odd. Each chapter is unrelated, jumping in time and theme. One dilemma that he faces occurs when he acci-

dentally drops a lozenge from his mouth into the lap of a sleeping woman. There is also the time that Sedaris spent observing the work of a pathologist, an experience he recalls in the fantastically named chapter; “The Monster Mash”. He volunteers to help in the medical examiner’s office, where he is mesmerised by rib cages cut open with hedge clippers and chest cavities emptied with soup ladles. The way Sedaris tells his stories is often convoluted and deliberately obscure. He is neurotic to the point of abstraction, fretting about making conversation with a child next to him on a plane.

When You are Engulfed in Flames David Sedaris He is a self-confessed snob “she had this attitude, not that she was better than us but that she was as good as us – and that simply wasn’t true.” While not side-splittingly funny, the book has a few good laughs and Sedaris is a dab hand at one-liners. Overall, this book is an entertaining read, of the eye-wateringly high-brow variety (the writer did attend Princeton after all). However, new readers of Sedaris might be better to check out his hilarious Me Talk Pretty One Day first. Karina Bracken

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