Monday, August 31, 2009

Music 21

New music promoters Music 21 have an interesting series of concerts coming up at the NCH. This evening (Mon 31 Aug) @8pm pianist Mary Dullea plays music by George Crumb, Szymanski, Conlon Nancarrow et al, and the Irish premiere of Dai Fujikura’s mormoro for Piano, Video and Electronics, with visuals by Julia Bardsley. On Tue 1 Sept the Callino Quartet are joined by pianist Hugh Tinney for piano quintets by Schnittke and Thomas Adès, along with works by Sofia Gubaidulina and Benjamin Britten. The series continues with three Fri lunchtime concerts: on Fri 4 flautist Susan Doyle and pianist Izumi Kimura play works by Japanese composers Kazuo Fukushima, Toru Takemitsu, Akira Miyoshi, Somei Satoh and the world premiere of Benjamin Dwyer’s Four Japanese Prints. On Fri 11 London-based Irish composer Deirdre Gribbin is profiled in a concert given by the Fidelio Trio, and the Callino Quartet are back on Fri 18 for Benjamin Dwyer’s Guitar Quintet, featuring the composer on guitar.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival

Q When is a bank not a disaster area? A When it’s engaging in a spot of much-needed arts sponsorship. Roll on the 2009 Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival which runs from 24 Sept-11 Oct and fields a strong Irish and international programme, plus seasons of physical and documentary theatre. International productions include The Manganiyar Seduction, a colourful and inspiring show direct from the deserts of India and featuring over 40 Indian musicians and singers spanning three generations. Cheek by Jowl’s Declan Donnellan is back with his elegant and poetic take on Chekhov’s Three Sisters, and the amazing Robert Lepage follows up his far side of the moon with The Blue Dragon. A big hit it the UK last year, art, class and politics collide in Lee Hall’s The Pitmen Painters, the true story of a group of miners who take painting classes and become an unlikely success (National Theatre UK). Cet Enfant, from rising star of French Theatre Joël Pommerat, explores the emotional ties that bind parents and their children together. An enormous model of Auschwitz is the setting for Hotel Modern’s acclaimed production of Kamp, a fusion of animation, puppetry, visual arts and music featuring thousands of miniature puppets representing the prisoners and their executioners, while the actors move in and out of the scene with handheld cameras.

Sebastian Barry and Conor McPherson (the two extremes of new Irish writing?) lead the fray in terms of home-grown shows, with Barry’s Tales of Ballycumber at the Abbey featuring Stephen Rea and Derbhle Crotty, and the Gate premiering McPherson’s adaptation of The Birds, with Sinéad Cusack and Ciarán Hinds. Freefall is a new show from The Corn Exchange, PanPan present the Irish premiere of Gina Moxley’s Hansel & Gretel-esque The Crumb Trail, and Druid stage Enda Walsh’s The New Electric Ballroom. The ReViewed section offers a second chance to see successful Irish productions including Buck Jones and The Body Snatchers, Nomad Theatre’s adaptation of Pat McCabe’s The Dead School and Featherhead Productions’ Slat.

International physical theatre comes courtesy of DV8’s To Be Straight With You, an unflinching exploration of tolerance, intolerance, religion and sexuality; and The Age I’m In from Australia’s Force Majeure, with a cast aged from 14-80. Documentary theatre includes Stefan Kaegi’s Radio Muezzin, featuring four of Cairo’s Muezzins and exploring the changing culture of the men who lead the Muslim call to prayer; and multi award-winning Flemish show Once And For All We’re Gonna Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up And Listen, featuring a cast of 13 teenagers poised on the brink of adulthood. There’s also late night theatre in Project, a Family Season at the Ark and a lively programme of special events.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hearts and Bones

The legendary Moving Hearts are back on the road again, bringing their infectious brand of musical dynamism to venues in Wexford, Cork, Limerick and Dublin (NCH Sat 13 Sept). Recently reformed, the line-up reads like a veritable who’s who of the music world, with Donal Lunny on bouzouki, Davy Spillane on uilleann pipes, Eoghan O’Neill on bass, Keith Donald on saxophone, Noel Eccles on percussion, Liam Bradley on drums, Anto Drennan on guitar and Graham Henderson on keyboards. Joining the band as special guests are accordionist Máirtín O'Connor and, adding a vocal dimension to all this instrumental wizardry, sean nos singer Iarla Ó Lionáird.

Absolutely Fringe

A new name, a new director, and the Absolut Fringe is set to rock the city again from Sat 5-Sun 20 Sept, unleashing 16 days and nights of multi-disciplinary mayhem and featuring a healthy mix of Irish and international performers. The most visible face of the Fringe is the Spiegeltent, back for one last hoorah at George’s Dock, and hosting the popular La Clique as well as some very interesting music including Julliard graduate and Philip Glass protégé Nico Muhy, whose credits include collaborations with Antony and the Johnsons, Bjork and Sigur Ros and most recently the film score for The Reader; and Synth Eastwood Has You Surrounded with their daring mix of music, art and technology. But you can also catch a show in a supermarket or in a hospital, new work from Loose Canon, the Performance Corporation and Volta Theatre (who brought you the hilarious Gerry and the Peace Process), a bilingual play by Manchán Magan and international shows including the world premiere of Gerardo Naumann’s A Useful Play Edit Kaldor’s Point Blank and Ranters Theatre’s Holiday. Watch this space…

Talking the Talk

It doesn’t have quite the cachet of a masked ball, but it sounds like an intriguing event nonetheless. Culture and the City – the Debate is an initiative of Temple Bar Cultural Trust and Exchange Dublin, calling on citizens, funders, public representatives, artists and other interested parties to ponder the question Is This City Fit For Purpose?, exploring among other things issues such as control and regulation of space. People are being invited to leave their associations behind and speak as individuals, with the requirement for everyone to wear white upper face masks providing a degree of anonymity (and a theatrical frisson) in a city where everyone tends to know everyone else. It’s all happening on Wed 19 Aug @6.30pm in Meeting House Square, which will don a tented roof for the occasion. Masks available on entry.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Festival of World Cultures

Although this year’s Festival of World Cultures is only a two-day event, there’s a brilliant line-up for that precious last weekend in August, when Dun Laoghaire becomes the centre of the universe. Highlights include Malian superstar Oumou Sangare, songwriter, social commentator and soul diva, who headlines the free outdoor concert on Sun 30; the mystical Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan; French chanteuse and social campaigner Jane Birkin (forever associated with the heavy breathing of ‘Je t’aime’) singing from her new album ‘Enfants d’hiver’; spiritual mystic and Sufi devotional singer, Sain Zahoor; Nick Page’s Dub Colossus, a sultry blend of traditional Ethiopian music with ethiojazz and club reggae featuring some of Ethiopia’s finest musicians; the intensively percussive Les Tambours de Brazza; and the amazing Warsaw Village Band, making their second visit to the Festival. Lots of these concerts are free, and as if that wasn’t enough, there’s a rake of food fairs, art exhibitions, workshops and cultural demonstrations, the always lively Festival Club, and a Bollywood Disco as part of this year’s Mela.

Silver Lining

As somebody famous once said, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, so let’s not talk about the weather any more. There’s plenty of silver linings about and la load of stuff to look forward to, so read on.


Things are hotting up at Bewleys where singer Susannah De Wrixon has teamed up with pianist Conor Linehan for a lunchtime cabaret show that rejoices in the many facets of the female psyche, with music from the likes of Benjamin Britten to Noel Coward, Stephen Sondheim, Randy Newman and Suzanne Vega. Nighttime shows in Aug include Honor Heffernan, a 130th Birthday tribute to the Ukulele courtesy of the Sick & Indigent Song Club, and world/jazz music from Francesco Turrisi.


The folks at Dublin Electronic Arts Festival aren’t taking any chances with the weather when they set up their DEAF Fundraiser in Meeting House Square on Fri 21 Aug (6pm). Not only will there be a full bar but the whole shebang will take place under a temporary roof, so you can leave your brollies at home. A spicy line-up includes The Jimmy Cake, Dark Room Notes, Boxcutter, Spilly Walker, Channel One, Thread Pulls, Sarsparilla and Patrick Kelleher & his Cold Dead Hands, all playing for free, and with tickets at only a tenner that’s a mere €1.25 per band. The festival proper runs from Thur 22 to Sat 31 Oct.

The Poor Mouth

There’s something weird and wonderful happening right now at the New Theatre, where Musiclee are reviving their award-winning adaptation of Flann O’Brien’s The Poor Mouth, first staged at the long gone An Beal Bocht pub back in 1989. If you think things are bad right now, spare a thought for the recession-ridden inhabitants of Corkadoragha, a miserable hole on the western seaboard long long ago. A mad comedy in two surreal acts, it features Paul Lee (who wrote the adaptation) as the Ould Grey Fella and Ciaran Kenny as Bonapart O Loonassa. Also at the New Theatre, from 24 Aug a celebration of New Writing includes Epilogue by Jane McCarthy and Shafted by Arnold Thomas Fanning.

Opera in the Open

Treat yourself to a blast of free Opera at the Civic Offices Amphitheatre at lunchtime each Thursday until Sept 3. Presented by Dublin City Council Arts Office, these specially adapted performances include Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel and Mozart’s Idomeneo.