Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dublin Fringe Festival

If it’s September it must be Fringe time, and sure enough the Absolut Dublin Fringe Festival is just around the corner, 16 days of madness – how about an escaped Zoo, men in Pajamas, 50 naked women and a dancing minotaur for starters – running from Sept 11-26. Theatre, dance, comedy, visual & performance art, and the Absolut Fringe Factory, home to a scintillating music programme including wildly entertaining American performers Taylor Mac and YouTube sensation Miranda Sings; an eclectic Irish Music weekend which featuring Fringe favourite Camille O’Sullivan, a Pocket Jazz festival and Four on the Fringe of Folk; and an Icelandic Weekend of Music featuring Amiina, Ólöf Arnalds and FM Belfast.
Galway’s Macnas are back in town for the opening weekend with a large scale and typically flamboyant outdoor spectacle. Comedy headliners the Pajama Men are in for the duration with their high energy Last Stand to Reason, a hurricane of off-the-wall physical and verbal comedy. On the theatre front, a new show from Siren Productions gives us a contemporary and visceral take on a timeless classic, a new translation by Scottish poet Robin Robertson of Euripides’ Medea, directed by Selina Cartmell. There’s 3 new shows from ambitious young collective Theatreclub, and Ponydance will be out and about with their new show Anybody Waitin’? The Company take on the mammoth task of looking at Joyce’s Ulysses as a template for Irish identity in As you are now so once were we.
The Show In A Bag project features some of Ireland’s best loved actors performing new works created especially for them by playwright Gavin Kostick. In the dance strand there’s Muirne Bloomer & Emma O’Kane’s The Ballet Ruse, Emma Martin’s Listowel Syndrome and double bills from the likes of Fidget Feet. In Berlin Love Tour, Playgroup bring you on a guided tour of Berlin – on the streets of Dublin, and Delicious O’Grady brings you a story of love, loss and potatoes in a one-man tragicomedy set in the time of the Famine.
International work includes the bizarre sounding JERK, a reconstruction of the horrific crimes and murders of young boys in 1970’s Texas using glove puppets. Nic Green’s Trilogy, a runaway hit at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, is a celebration/interrogation of the joys and complexities of being a woman today, the first part ending with a high energy naked dance performed by some 50 volunteers.
Check it all out@ www.fringefest.com

RTE National Symphony Orchestra

There’s some tasty concerts coming up from the RTE NSO when they start their new season at the NCH on Fri 10 Sept. The opening concert kicks off with Jump Up!, a welcoming Fanfare for new Principal Conductor Alan Buribayev, and features acclaimed pianist Simon Trpceski in Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 4. Fri 17 has a Latin American flavour, with accordionist James Crabb playing Piazzolla’s Concierto de Aconcagua, and there’s also Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras and Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. A new late night short concert slot (10pm) sees James Crabb and RTE NSO Principals in a Tangos Recital – a fiver in or free with the main concert ticket. On Fri 24 pianist Barry Douglas directs the NSO from the keyboard in Brahms Piano Concerto No 1 and conducts the Mussorgksy/Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition.
October kicks off with a concert of music inspired by dance, juxtaposing Ravel’s Shéhérazade and La Valse with John Adams’ Guide to Strange Places and The Chairman Dances. Fri 8 has Michael Tippett’s Fantasia and Beethoven’s Eroica, conducted by Kenneth Montgomery. Bach’s Mass in B Minor has pride of place on Fri 15 with the RTE Philharmonic Choir and soloists, and a late night concert features Finghin Collins and NSO Principal Winds in Mozart’s Piano and Wind Quintet. On Fri 22 John Finucane directs and is soloist in Mozart’s sublime Clarinet Concerto, also conducting Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier suite and Dance of the Seven Veils, and you can hear more Stauss – Don Quichotte – alongside Debussy and Ravel on Fri 29. www.rte.ie

Guna Nua

Guna Nua are heading out on the road with the world premiere of Chicane, which opens at the Civic Theatre in Tallaght on Sept 4 and tours to Draiocht in Blanchardstown, the Everyman in Cork, the Belltable in Limerick and the Mill Theatre in Dundrum. This is the first play by well known Irish actor Anthony Brophy, probably most familiar for his long-running portrayal of Eustache Chapuys in The Tudors. He’s gone for something of a thriller: ‘Packed with suspense, violence and deceit, Chicane treads a tightrope of revenge and redemption, a who-done-it with surprises lurking around every corner. Ultimately, however twisted, it is a story of love and loyalty.’ Heady stuff then. Paul Meade directs, and Barry Barnes, Jane McGrath and Emmet Kirwan make up the twisted trio. www.gunanua.com


Fritz Lang's epic and extraordinary silent movie Metropolis gets a rare screening with live orchestral accompaniment at the NCH on Sat 4 Sept. Lang’s sci-fi masterpiece has been seen in Dublin before – I remember a fascinating outdoor screening in Temple Bar back in the 90s – but this is the first time since its 1927 release that the full uncut movie will be shown. Against the director’s wishes, the original version was cut by a quarter, and the excised footage was presumed lost. Until, in one of those fairytale moments of movie history, several dusty reels were discovered in a small museum in Buenos Aires in 2008. It’s now been painstakingly restored and was premiered earlier this year at the Berlin International Film Festival, with a newly adapted score for Salon Orchestra based on the original 1927 score. There’s also an accompanying season at the IFI of Lang's other work alongside some science fiction classics that he influenced. www.nch.ie

Six Strings for Two Heels

Get those hands clapping and those heels clicking for a vibrant splash of flamenco at the Helix on 3 & 4 Sept. Six Strings for Two Heels, which premiered in June at the annual Flamenco Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico, features virtuoso composer and guitarist Juan Antonio Suárez ‘Cano’ and award-winning dancer and choreographer Concha Jareño, two of Spain's most highly regarded artists. More info@ www.flamencoindalo.com

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Irish Composers Collective

The Irish Composers Collective are back in the NCH’s Kevin Barry Room on 31 Aug with a concert by renowned Balkan band Yurodny. On the programme are premieres of the latest works by DE McCarthy, Francis Heery, Matthew Whiteside, Amanda Feery, Dennis Wyers and Yurodny’s own Adrian Hart. www.irishcomposerscollective.org , www.nch.ie

The Lily Lally Show

Veteran actor Barbara Brennan reprises her much acclaimed role in Hugh Leonard’s touching and funny one-woman play The Lily Lally Show in a new lunchtime production for Bewley’s, directed by Mark O’Halloran. First staged at the Abbey in 1994, Brennan plays Mary Moone, Ireland's one-time Queen of Comedy, who finds herself auditioning for a mysterious unseen observer alone on the set of the Ballybeyond Railway Hotel. Recalling her extraordinary journey in showbiz, from lowly beginnings at The Five Lamps to her glorious comic partnership with Jack Looby, the ‘Napoleon of Variety’, she revisits her old routines, remembers the great characters of a lost era and reflects upon a life of bittersweet extremes. Previews 23 Aug, opens Wed 25 til Sat 11 Sept. www.bewleyscafetheatre.com

A Dream Play

The National Youth Theatre takes over the Peacock stage from Mon 23 Aug (previews) til Sat 28 for Caryl Churchill’s version of August Strindberg’s A Dream Play. Jimmy Fay directs the 16-strong cast in one of Strindberg’s most influential plays, written in 1901 in the midst of a mental breakdown, a surreal experiment which aimed to imitate the form of a dream. Caryl Churchill said of her 2005 version: ‘I’m not sure how I’d feel if someone treated one of my plays the way I’ve treated Strindberg’s. I’d like to think he’d be glad about this version. I’d like to make him smile. But maybe he’d say, Oh woe. Life is wretched.’ www.nayd.ie

Music in the Historic Quarter

The streets are alive with the sound of… the latest offering from the Contemporary Music Centre. Running from 21 Aug to 1 Sept, Music in the Historic Quarter is an outdoor music trail and a series of mostly free events around the older and more interesting parts of the city, including St Audoen’s Church, the Civic Offices Amphitheatre, Christ Church and St Patrick’s Cathedrals, The Back Loft, City Hall, The Coach House and Smock Alley Theatre. The music trail features works by Irish composers, among them Ian Wilson, Kevin Volans, Donnacha Dennehy and Judith Ring, playing at 5 outdoor locations – some of which require a compatible smartphone. The Rawstorne Singers are at Christ Church Cathedral for Choral Evensong most evenings, Daoiri Farrell and Friends are at St Audoen’s on 21 Aug, on 26 there’s Don Giovanni at the Civic Offices at lunchtime and Stuart Nicholson gives his Starwars and Rude Noises organ recital at St Patrick’s Cathedral. On 27 Anuna are at the The Back Loft and you can hear the Bell Ringers at Christ Church. Dublin Guitar Quartet are at City Hall lunchtime on 28, Music Network present Paudie O Connor on box & Aoife Ni Chaoimh on fiddle at the Coach House, Dublin Castle on 31, and ConTempo Quartet play Smock Alley on 1 Sept. More info and reservations@ www.cmc.ie

Friday, August 13, 2010


The Focus Theatre, possibly Dublin’s smallest theatre, is open again after a spot of refurbishment, bringing a much-loved and much-needed performance space back into circulation. Playing at the moment is Frank McGuinness’s one-woman play Baglady, directed by Caroline Fitzgerald and featuring Maria McDermottroe, which runs til Sat 21. Previewing from Tue 24 and opening on Mon 30, Joe Devlin directs the premiere of Elizabeth Moynihan’s play TIC, a Gothic tale of love and sexual politics set in Ireland in the 1890s and revolving around a woman with Tourette’s syndrome. And shows coming up include Dennis Kelly’s Orphans in October, the European premiere of Jason Wells’ Men of Tortuga in November, and Mary McEvoy in David Lordan’s Jo Bangles in December. www.focustheatre.ie

RTE Concert Orchestra

The RTE Concert Orchestra are having a pretty busy month at the NCH, with Fri evening and Tue lunchtime concerts. Fri 13 & Sat 14 sees the (once) gorgeous Anthony Andrews (remember him, the teddybear-clutching Sebastian of Brideshead Revisited?) taking on the role of Prof Henry Higgins in a concert version of My Fair Lady, with a starry cast that also includes the likes of Julian Ovenden of Foyle’s War/The Royal fame. Legendary French film composer Michel Legrand multitasks as conductor, pianist and singer in an evening of his classic movie music on Fri 20. Russell Watson, ‘the People’s Tenor’, reschedules his ash cloud cancellation on Sun 22; and the music of Bill Whelan is celebrated by an all-singing, dancing and playing cast including Julie Feeney, Zoe Conway and Declan Masterson on Fri 27. www.rte.ie