Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The House Keeper

Busy times for Rough Magic, what with Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite at the Gaiety in February, Arthur Riordan’s Improbable Frequency at the same venue in March, and now the world premiere of The House Keeper, a new play by Morna Regan which previews at Project from 19 April and opens on Tue 24. Light-hearted comedy is put on the back burner in this psychological thriller, a darkly humorous drama exploring the nature of possession, entitlement and inheritance. Directed by Lynne Parker and featuring Cathy Belton, Ingrid Craigie and Robert O’Mahoney, it follows the plight of a desperate young woman who, threatened with homelessness, breaks into the house of a wealthy woman, but before long realises that she has disturbed a hornet’s nest of unimagined proportions. Runs til 12 May.


Donal O’Kelly’s JOYCED! is back in town, playing at Bewleys (lunchtime) until Sat 28 April, in conjunction with One City One Book which this year is James Joyce’s Dubliners. A one-woman tour de force performed by Katie O’Kelly, this whirlwind journey through 1904 Joycean Dublin – later immortalised in Ulysses – depicts some of the most important people in Joyce’s life, his father John Stanislaus Joyce and his cronies, Oliver St. John Gogarty, the tenor John McCormack, Alfred Hunter (the man who would later become Bloom) and of course the one and only Nora Barnacle.

Turn Around @ Project

ABSOLUT Fringe and Project Arts Centre are teaming up for Turn Around, a season of previous Fringe favourites performed in repertory over a 3 week stretch with a diverse line up of theatre, dance, puppetry, spoken word and music-theatre dating from 2009-2011. So you get a second chance to see Ger Clancy’s Waterworn, puppets, projections and live music in a captivating story inspired by Hemmingway and Moby Dick; The Spinner, a delicate yet ruthless dance piece performed by DISH, an exciting group of emerging international dance artists; Threshold, originally When Irish Hearts are Praying a darkly comic, intense and gritty play in a newly revised production; Three Men Talking About Things They Kinda Know About by performance poets Colm Keegan, Kalle Ryan and Stephen James Smith, talking life, love and feelings – different histories, same shit; and Brian Fleming’s Gis a Shot of Your Bongos Mister, the world through a drummer's ears from inner city Dublin to the suburbs of Senegal. Runs at Project from 12- 28 April, and you can buy all 5 shows for just 50 quid, which seems like a bargain.

Pan Pan: A Doll House

Pan Pan follow the huge success of The Rehearsal: Playing the Dane and Beckett’s All That Fall with A Doll House, a new take on the Henrik Ibsen classic, and given that it’s Pan Pan you can expect the unexpected. Director Gavin Quinn says: ‘Pan Pan's new version of Ibsen's A Doll House, (the world's first great prose drama which at the time exploded like a bomb into contemporary life) will be the opening show of the ‘new’ Smock Alley Theatre. Smock Alley was originally a theatre in the 17th century and hosted the Irish Premiere of Hamlet. This version of A Doll House will examine the like- and unlike-ability of these famous Ibsen characters and how they can still connect to today's supposedly restless age.’ Design is by Aedín Cosgrove, costumes by Bruno Schwengl and the fine cast includes Áine Ní Mhuirí, Charlie Bonner, Daniel Reardon, Dermot Magennis, Judith Roddy and Pauline Hutton. Previews until Mon 9 and runs from 10 -28 April.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

More Hugh Lane

Some more great free music at the Hugh Lane Gallery, with an extra treat for the next 3 Saturdays (1.05pm) when the 3 Irish pianists selected to participate in the 2012 Dublin International Piano Competition (which runs from May 4-15) showcase their programmes. On Sat 31 you can hear Ben Shaffrey play Beethoven, Brahms and Liszt; on Sat 7 April Nadene Fiorentini plays Berg, Ravel, Granados and Chopin; and on Sat 14 Marie Carroll plays Ravel, Messiaen and Chopin. Meanwhile back in the Sundays @ Noon slot Duos for Harp and Cello sees NSO veterans Andreja Malir and Martin Johnson team up for works by Ravi Shankar, Jane O’Leary and Tedeschi, while on Sun 8 pianist Peter Tuite continues his joint survey of the Complete Haydn Piano Sonatas. A concert featuring contemporary composers Jennifer Walshe and Alessandro Bosetti on Sun 15 promises to be something quite different: ‘both local artists and composers that have been exploring the uncharted territory between music, speech and noise in a variety of forms ranging from experimental radio play, opera, instrumental music and performance, making use of an extremely broad palette of unconventional sounds. Alessandro Bosetti's approach is close to sound anthropology and incorporates social, behavioral and sociological aspects while in Jennifer Walshe's work a big role is played by text, narratives and mischievous humor.' And on Sun 22 Paul Hillier conducts the National Chamber Choir in An Irish Colloquy, including Tarik O’Regan’s The Spring, Arvo Pärt’s The Deer’s Cry, Nicholas Maw’s Five Irish Songs, excerpts from Piers Hellawell’s Isabella’s Banquet and works by Enda Bates, David Fennessy and Frank

More Musical

Next up is Alice in Funderland, brainchild of the ever-energetic thisispopbaby, which has just begun previews at the Abbey and opens on Wed 4 April. Directed by Wayne Jordan, the first musical to be produced at the Abbey in over 20 years is a big show fielding a 15-strong cast, with book and lyrics by Phillip McMahon, music by Raymond Scannell, and choreography by Liz Roche’. Inspired by both the Lewis Carroll classic and the cadence and rhythm of Irish city life, this combination of biting social and sexual satire, contemporary musical numbers, rich language, high design and a philosophy of hope and courage is a modern day fairy tale for a tender and bruised nation: ‘Unlucky in love, Corkonian Alice is all set for her sister’s wedding when a chance encounter with delivery boy Warren sends her spiralling through the Dublin night. In an epic pursuit for meaning on the strangest night of her life, Alice tumbles through the broken city, bombarded by grinning politicians, pyjama-clad bowsies, egg heads on the edge, twisted scissor sisters, and Delores – The Queen of Hartstown.’
And there's something really special at the Abbey on Mon 9 April when legendary artists Patti Smith and Sam Shepard get together for an intimate evening of readings and music.

Friday, March 16, 2012


So what’s in the air theatre-wise these days? Music, that’s what, with not one but two Irish musicals taking to the stage. Rough Magic revive their delightful show Improbable Frequency at the Gaiety until 24 Mar. An unlikely (improbable?) hit when first staged back in 2004, this delicious satire on our beloved neutrality from writer Arthur Riordan and composers Bell Helicopter is set in Dublin during the Second World War. Teaming with intrigue and subterfuge, and performed almost entirely in rhyming couplets, the terrific cast of six sing and dance their way through a storyline that brings together John Betjeman, Myles na gCopaleen, Schrodinger, the Hun-loving IRA and a couple of cruciverbalist spies.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sundays@ Noon

Lots of good stuff in the Hugh Lane’s Sundays@ Noon series. On Sun 10 a Words & Music session with clarinetist Paul Roe and actor/storyteller Nuala Hayes includes Tom Johnson’s Bedtime Stories as Gaeilge and the intriguing prospect of a new work by Stephen Gardner, Quiet, based on a verbal exchange in the Dail between John O'Donohoe and Michael Ring. Music for Mandolin and Guitar on Sun 18 features Italian duo Roberto Bascia & Giovanni Calo in a journey through the Italian musical tradition, with works by everyone from Vivaldi to Morricone. Ensemble Avalon on Sun 25 play piano trios by Haydn and Laoibhse Griffin and Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Cello.


Haven't been here for a while, so the easiest thing is just to jump right in. So in no particular order, ie whatever comes to hand first, here's some stuff worth checking out. The AML are keeping up the good work with a visit from the celebrated Czech string quartet the Prazak Quartet on Sun 25 March @3.15 in George's Hall Dublin Castle. It's the Prazak's 27th visit since 1982 and their programme this time around includes Mozart's Hunt Quartet, Janacek's 'Initmate Letters' and Schubert's fab 'Death and the Maiden'.
A fundraising Tsunami Anniversary Concert at the Peppercannister on Sun 11 @3.30 features rising Japanese soprano Mari Moriya, pianist Takeshi Moriuchi and counter-tenor Daichi Fujiki.
Pipeworks team up with the RTE NSO and the NCH for a free organ recital on Fri 16 March @6.15. As a precursor to the NSO’s 8pm programme (Wagner, Bruckner’s 7th Symphony, R Strauss’ Horn Concerto) David Adams plays Langlais’ apocolyptical ‘La cinquieme trompette’ and Reger’s monumental 2nd Sonata op 60.
Note Productions present leading young jazz pianist Michael Wollny in a solo recital at the NCH John Field Room on Wed 14 March. Classically trained, his influences range from Bach, Schubert and Messiaen to Bjork, Keith Jarrett and Ligeti. Sounds good.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sacred Symphonies

Renowned choir Resurgam are presenting a mini festival celebrating the 400th anniversary of the death of the great Venetian composer Giovanni Gabrieli. Sacred Synphonies explores different aspects and periods of his work in a ‘surround-sound’ format in the spectacular circular space of City Hall, and the choir will be joined by string players from the Irish Baroque Orchestra, the sackbuts and cornetts of the period wind ensemble QuintEssential, and Malcolm Proud on organ. The first concert on Sun 4 Feb focuses on Gabrieli’s early vocal style; Sun 11 includes music from the 1597 Symphoniae Sacrae, with 8 voices and 4 each of string and brass; while the whole shebang comes together on Sun 18 for large-scale works from the Symphoniae Sacrae liber secundus of 1615 and the 33 part Magnificat.

Sundays@ Noon

Where else would you be of a Sunday@ Noon but at the Hugh Lane Gallery for some fab free music. Sun 5 Feb sees violinist Maria Ryan team up with Una Hunt on piano for a fascinating programme of Mozart’s Violin Sonata K301, Arvo Part’s Fratres and Szymanovski’s Violin Sonata Op 9. On Sun 12 the Ensemble Blumina, a trio of oboe, piano and bassoon, play works by Jean Francaix, Andre Previn and Francis Poulenc. Sun 19 sees the start of a major new series, with pianists Fionnuala Moynihan and Peter Tuite performing the Complete Piano Sonatas of Haydn in a series of 12 recitals over the next 2 years. The first concert features Sonatas in E flat major, C minor, C major and E minor. On Sun 26 there's music by Vivaldi and Handel with soprano Deirdre Moynihan, Laoise O'Brien on recorders, Kate Hearne on cello and David Adams on harpsichord. Afterwards you can head up to the Unitarian Church on Stephens Green for another free concert (bucket collection for the organ restoration fund) featuring young baritone Benjamin Russell and pianist David O'Shea.

Friday, January 27, 2012

RTE Horizons

Missed the boat a bit on the RTE Horizons series – free contemporary music concerts at the NCH featuring the RTE NSO; there was some great stuff including Kevin Volans and Ronan Guilfoyle, but there’s still time to catch the final concert next Tue (1.05pm) when the focus is on Garrett Sholdice. World premieres of two new works composed especially for this concert by Sholdice (Fall and Disappear) and Benedict Schlepper-Connolly, arrangements by Sholdice of the Bach chorale Ach wie nichtig, ach wie flüchtig for string orchestra, brass ensemble and full orchestra, and Feldman’s Madame Press Died Last Week At Ninety. And you can hear the Composer in Conversation at 12.30pm

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Another New Year, another New Year’s Resolution: I will update my blog at least once a week; I will update my blog at least once a week… A bit late I know but life and other mysteries have a habit of intervening. In the meantime, some nice music happening around the place. The Irish Composers Collective presents new works for soprano and viola at the NCH’s John Field Room tonight (Thur 19 Jan), including a jazz-inspired waltz (Shades of Meaning), a musical plea for ‘Organ Donation’, settings of Dickinson and Yeats, and a piece of aural hallucination. At the same venue on 31 Jan pianist and ICC member David Bremner and soprano Elizabeth Hilliard perform Garett Sholdice's Three Lieder after Franz Schubert, also written especially for the duo, as well as Bremner's own The bright kids (logic ballad), Webern's Vier Lieder and Schubert's from Schwangesang.

Renowned clarinettist Michael Collins celebrates his 50th birthday in style with a lovely concert at St Patrick’s Church in Dalkey on Tue 24 Jan. Presented by the indefatigable John Ruddock of the AML, it features the magnificent Vogler Quartet playing Beethoven’s Quartet in A minor op 132 and, with Collins, the Brahms Clarinet Quintet.