Ulysses

James Joyce, adapted for the Stage by Dermot Bolger

Tron

Paterson’s Land

From 09 August 2013 to 26 August 2013

Rating: ****

Review by Philip Fisher

Ulysses may be one of the most famous (and possibly least read) novels of the last century but it is not often adapted for other media and certainly not in full.

Therefore, Dermot Bolger and his director for Glasgow’s Tron, Andy Arnold are to be congratulated on even embarking on this venture, let alone doing a pretty good job of it.

They enable viewers to get a sense of the scope and language of the original in only two hours twenty minutes.

The ensemble company’s approach to Bloomsday in 1904 is determinedly impressionistic, scenes melting into each other and fantasies addressed as seriously as real life.

The first half and finale are boldly led by Muireann Kelly as Molly Bloom, the larger than life wife of quiet protagonist Leopold, played by Jean-Paul van Cauwelaert.

This version includes many of the themes that permeate what might be the most famous day in literary history. Sex and religion are in the vanguard, though gambling and memory also play significant roles.

All of the favourite characters are also there in a performance that really does bring Dublin 1904 into focus, leaving spectators with a great impression of what life then really must have been like, as least for one man.