Sunday, April 28, 2013

Upcoming exhibition in White Lady Art opening on 3rd May

From White Lady Art:

"Third World"
Marca Mix and Kathrina "KIN" Rupit dual exhibition
Street Art on mixed media
Affordable and collectable art

This exhibition will be a showcase of new work from street artists Marca Mix (South Africa) and Kathrina "KIN" Rupit (Mexico). These two artists will explore what it means to be from a third world country - or in the case of Mexico, a former third world country - and the impact street art can have on the lives and culture of its people.
It will run for the first three weeks in May, with the usual craic at the opening with music from CAUSE and EFFECT, free booze and BYOB.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

'Bankers' in the New Theatre

You might recall that a few years ago a well-known media commentator suggested that Irish theatre failed to address the economic (and moral, political, etc.) crisis facing the country. I think it's fair to say that since then matters have changed and there've been many artistic and theatrical works produced about economic and political issues. One banker friend of mine has wondered if crisis-fatigue has set in: are people tired of hearing of gloom and doom? My guess is that many people do indeed want to move on; but on the other hand, some can't do so whether they want to or not.

In any case, the New Theatre in Temple Bar has a new production starting soon, Bankers by Brian McAvera:

"What happens if you have lost everything? If you have nothing more to lose?
What happens if you are a decent man, an ex-teacher, who has been destroyed by the banks? What would you do to change the system?

A well-known banker, a CEO, wakes up to find himself blindfolded and bound. His wife and his sixteen year old daughter are in the same position. Then the kidnapper enters: quiet, determined, organised. This is no spur-of-the-moment action. They are in a small disused theatre which he has soundproofed. And he has a plan...

And no, this man isn’t a psychopath, but he is motivated, terminally, and as such he is very, very dangerous… "

Previews start on April 29th 2013 and tickets cost €15/€12.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

GPO museum

The GPO Museum is open for free tomorrow.  See here for more.

I reviewed it a couple of years ago when it first opened - it's a fantastic little museum.  Can't believe it's nearly 3 years old!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

James Joyce's Dubliners - new audio production

Last year's book for One City, One Book was James Joyce's Dubliners, a collection of short stories set in Dublin in the early 20th century. Wonderland Productions created an enjoyable audio walking-tour based on the book. They've now adapted that as an audiobook featuring ten of the stories from Dubliners.

As a collection of short stories Dubliners is well suited to audio adaptation. Most of the pieces are about 10 to 20 minutes long, with the exceptions of Grace (2:56 minutes) and The Dead (46:16 minutes). I jumped straight to my favourite piece, the wonderful Counterparts. The other stories on the three CDs are The Sisters, An Encounter, Eveline, Two Gallants, The Boarding House, A Little Cloud, and A Painful Case.

The greatest strength of the production is the quality of Joyce's writing, but the voice acting is also good throughout and in some places excellent. Barry McGovern shows great versatility and skill; I particularly liked his Old Cotter and the old man in An Encounter. In addition to speech, music and other audio effects are used well. I've only one quibble: although it's standard practice for young boys' voices to be portrayed by adult female voice actors I don't think this worked perfectly in this case; in contexts such as animations the visuals immediately inform the audience that the character is a boy, but that doesn't apply here.

Conclusion: Wonderland Productions' audio adaptation of Dubliners provides an enjoyable new way to appeciate Joyce's collection of short stories. If you like the book - or are looking for a gift for a fan of Joyce - I'd recommend it.

The CDs sell for €19.99. The total playing time is 2 hours 55 minutes. Wonderland have also recorded a video clip of a scene from Counterparts for Storymap,

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Drum Belly

The latest offering from The Abbey opened on Wednesday to great acclaim, so Dave and I thought we'd better see it and report.  We did so last night and the following review is our combined opinion.  As a title, Drum Belly doesn't give much away and indeed it's more than half way through the 90 minute run (no interval) that you find out the origin of the name.  Richard Dormer was commissioned to write this for the Abbey.  The play opens on a minimalist set - a poured concrete floor, bare walls with props moved on and off by the actors.  It's Brooklyn, 1969, and the characters are all involved in organised crime.  Liam Carney's garrulous Harvey Marr talks to a silent Gerard Byrne's Walter Sorrow for at least 10 minutes.  The brash tone of his talk is set against the silence of Sorrow's careful work (I don't want to spoil the surprise).  In fact, the juxtaposition of silent characters with incredibly loud and talkative ones is used more than once to great effect throughout the show.  At this stage, I had no idea where the play was going.  The following scene, and I promise I'm not doing a blow by blow here, changed everything.  It included a dance number, a jukebox and a man named Mary.  This brings me to a point: there are no women in this play.  It's true that had there been a female role, it would have been quite token (like the Sopranos or other popular dramas about organised crime) but I still felt it strange to be watching a play entirely without women.

All of the characters are brilliantly drawn and solidly acted.  CiarĂ¡n O'Brien again shines like the rising star he is but I also loved Ryan McPartland's nuanced performance along with Gerard Byrne's entirely silent turn.  The set echoed the drama in a curious way: at the start, everything is clean cut and tidy but as the drama unfolded and became more complex, the stage became messier, literally strewn with the detritus of previous scenes.  The neatfreak in me was bothered by this litter but it worked within the context.   Also, they score points for having rain on the stage - I love this in live theatre.  I think the decision to run without an interval is the right one - the spell would be broken by a pause and difficult to regain.  The use of music throughout was excellent and had the audience toe-tapping along.

Ultimately, it's a solid but not stellar production...and I felt very much a man's play.  Dave liked it more than I did but we were both thoroughly entertained and we talked about it for ages afterwards. Incidentally, the bar has themed cocktails - a nice touch.  Drum Belly runs until 11th May and tickets start at €13.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Messiah on the Street

One of my favourite events each year in Dublin is Messiah on the Street, an outdoor performance of Handel's Messiah performed on Fishamble Street in Temple Bar. It's on at 1 pm on Saturday 13th (i.e. tomorrow) and further details are available here.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

First Thursdays - April 2013

It's First Thursday again. I enjoyed last month's tour, so I'll be joining the tour again this time. It starts at 6 pm at the Royal Hibernian Academy. I'll also be taking a look at a new exhibition in White Lady Art on Wellington Quay. The exhibition is called "Exile to Wonderland" and is a solo exhibition by Rosemary Fallon. It continues until 24th April.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Drum Belly

The Abbey Theatre's latest production begins previews on 5th April with the official opening next week on 10th April.

It's a new commission written by Richard Dormer and directed by Sean Holmes.  Set in Brooklyn in the summer of 1969, it explores the world of Irish gangs - all second generation Irish - and how they deal with their place in New York, their heritage and their day to day lives, set to a backdrop of a changing America.

Liam Carney in Drum Belly, courtesy of the Abbey Theatre

Look out for a review from Dave and myself later next week.  The play runs until 11th May.  Tickets are available from the Abbey box office as usual.  Prices range from €13 - €40.