Friday, September 27, 2013

Review: Wunderkammer

So before I go any further: Wunderkammer is astounding and you should see it as soon as you can. Get over to the Dublin Theatre Festival website or office and get booking. Tickets are limited and the show won't be around for long.

Wunderkammer is the opening show for this year's Dublin Theatre Festival, and deservedly so. The group behind Wunderkammer (Circa) featured in the Festival a few years ago and were pretty damn amazing back then: and if anything they're even more impressive now. Wunderkammer is nominally inspired by circus acts, but the seven performers do things you'll never see in a typical circus. The audience reaction is entertaining in itself: it's just one I-can't-believe-humans-can-do-that after another. Oh, and the music's not bad either.

An amazing show - strongly recommended.

Rating: exceptional, 5/5.

Wunderkammer runs until 29th September in the Gaiety Theatre. Tickets cost €25 to €35 (and are worth every cent!). The show runs for approximately 85 minutes, with no interval. Suggested for audiences 12+.

Exhibition by new art group in Malahide

There's a new group of artists in the Portmarnock / Malahide area, 4rtists. Their first exhibition is on in Malahide Library starting on 28th September and running for two weeks.

Quick description: "We paint local scenes, city scenes, and lots of quirky stuff in between. Godfrey is our watercolourist, Yvonne paints mostly in oils, Paula and Mary paint both in watercolour and acrylic. We hope to have at least 4 major exhibitions of our own throughout the year."

Their works can be viewed on,, and; and they can be emailed at

Monday, September 23, 2013

Stranger than Fiction competition

The winners of our Stranger than Fiction competition are:


Please get in touch by email with your contact details!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Culture Night Review

Previous years have seen me scuttling around the city doing as many as 11 events, and then having to sit out the rest of the weekend, so this year I opted for a more sensible approach.

First port of call was the Little Museum of Dublin, which opened to much fanfare a couple of years ago and I had still not managed to see.  It's so little that a queue had formed but luckily we were only in it for about 10 minutes.  Shortened down tours were being done and we joined one just as it began.  Each of the rooms has a visual feast of artefacts, pictures and furniture.  Our tour guide was excellent, pointing out the best bits, sharing anecdotes and encouraging a healthy dose of audience participation.  The tour took about half an hour and the queue was significantly longer on the way out.  I'll definitely be back for a longer visit soon.  I would like to know the history of that particular house, which didn't come up.

After a short break for food in Gourmet Burger Kitchen, we joined a tour of Powerscourt Townhouse centre.  It's a place that has long fascinated me: built for Viscount Powerscourt in the late 18th century for when he stayed in town, the notion that it all belonged to one family and it was their smaller house fires the imagination.  The tour promised to show the house as it was then.  Unfortunately, it was all very disappointing.  A large crowd had gathered on the steps and the tour guide had no microphone, so we couldn't hear most of what she said at the start, despite being relatively close.  We followed her downstairs through Pygmalion Bar, which was the kitchens.  The groups was so large that getting through the noisy bar was a bit of a mess and she'd already started talking again when we reached the main floor of the centre.  We tried listening again but really couldn't hear a thing.  I did mention it to some other staff members and they apologised, saying it wouldn't be so loud on the upper floors.  However, time on Culture Night is precious and I didn't want to waste time straining.  I do note from their website that tours can be booked, so I'm going to try and get a posse together.

A member of our party wanted to see the New Art Studio on Mary's Abbey, so we trundled across the city to see a veritable commune of artists and their studios.  I was amused at how messy they all were - not Francis Bacon level, but all could do with a scrub-up.  Some artists were offering wine but I was driving, so I had pass.  They had made temporary use of a space in the Capel Building across the road for an exhibition.

One reason I had my car was so that we could make our final stop of the evening.  Dunsink Observatory had long been on my list of places to visit and we headed out there, with some helpful from our smartphones.  The road up to it would not be out of place in a zombie film, which of course means it's a great location for seeing the stars, and the city.  We parked and joined an excellent talk (the highlight of the evening) on the history of Dunsink and its Grubb telescope.  William Rowan Hamilton was based there for his whole illustrious career and Erwin Schrodinger worked there during his time in Ireland.  After the talk, we had a wander around the main house and got to look through some telescopes set up to view a very nice Harvest moon.

So that was it for my 2013 Culture Night.  Well done to all involved.  More of this.  Why can't it be more often?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Review - Animus

Animus is a Fringe Festival play combining video, dance, live music and dialogue. A very Fringe-y concept, I'll sure you'll agree, and fortunately the diverse elements all fit together to create an enjoyable performance.

Animus is a story of revenge; and as there's rarely benefit in a review spelling out the details of the plot I'll just say that it starts a little slowly but picks up as it goes on. Just make sure you pay some attention to the live music - it's excellent but could easily go unnoticed in the background.

Rating: good - ***

The final two performance are on Friday 20th September and Saturday 21st September, both at 8:45 pm in the Lir Academy. Duration: 75 minutes without an interval. Tickets cost €14 / €12.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"Dublin’s first pop-up Instagram gallery"

Well here's something a bit different: "The Instagallery is Dublin’s first pop-up Instagram gallery and it showcases photos taken and shared by Irish bloggers and the vibrant Irish Instagram community. This will be an event that will promote creativity and sharing amongst the city’s many photographers, both novice and expert. So pop down and join us for an evening of fun and digital delights, such as our interactive photo-wall. This installation will be a living, breathing, moving photo collage, featuring a constantly updating collection of Instagram images."

Their launch party is on Thursday 19th at 7pm in The Fumbally Exchange, No.5 Dame Lane, Dublin 2. Could be a bit of fun.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Stranger than Fiction

The Irish Film Institute's Stranger than Fiction documentary film festival returns to Dublin from 26th - 29th September.  The festival will feature an array of films, both short and regular length from both home and abroad.  The full program of events can be found here.

I quite fancy seeing Muscle Shoals about southern US music and Aisling Gheal about sean-nós singers in rural Ireland.  Hmm, sensing a theme here!
As you would expect, they're also running a number of masterclasses, talks and panel discussions with some of the featured filmmakers.  Tickets for each film cost €9 and IFI membership is required but if you're a regular IFI attendee, the €25 annual charge is a steal.  Don't worry if you only want to see one or two movies - they'll add a "one off membership" to your ticket at a cost of €1.

The IFI has very kindly offered Dublinculture some tickets to give away to Salma.  We've got two pairs of tickets for the showing on Friday 27th September at 1830.

About the film
Throughout her extraordinary career, director Kim Longinotto has given a voice to strong female characters and Salma is no different. In the documentary, respected Tamil poet Salma returns to her village where as a child, she was locked up by her parents and given up to an arranged marriage.

To win,just re-tweet the link to this blog post and we'll announce the winners on Monday 23rd September.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Review - 'Pondling'

One of the wonderful things about Dublin's Fringe Festival is the sheer number and variety of the shows - sometimes it's fun just to pick something on short notice with no advance knowledge of what it's about. Trust in Róise Goan and her team: they wouldn't include a production if it weren't good enough. So I popped down to my local theatre, the beautiful Smock Alley, to see the opening performance of Pondling, a one-woman show by Gúna Nua.

It's lovely. Genevieve Hulme-Beaman hits the mark right from the start in her role as a young farmgirl with a crush, making good use of the atmospheric venue with a simple and effective set. Pondling is a delightful and entertaining comedy.

Rating: good - 3/5

Duration: 50 minutes. Tickets cost €13 / €11. Continues in Smock Alley Theatre until Friday 13th September 2013.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Irish Craft Beer Festival @ the RDS 5-8 September

The Irish Craft Beer Festival starts today!  They open their doors at 1700 tonight and open at noon for the next 3 days, until late.  It's their third outing and I think they have the edge on the St Patrick's Day beer fest, largely because they are indoors.

They promise over 100 Irish craft beers as well as food and live music.  They're also running a couple of masterclasses on starting brewing and matching beers with food.  There's even an app.  One tiny criticism, I can't find where it is in the RDS, which is a large place.  I asked them on twitter and they said it's "Hall 4, Anglesea rd entrance".  This is the same bit it was in last time: also known as the Industries Hall.

Entry costs a mere €10 and includes a nice souvenir glass (to add to my collection of beer festival glasses).  Tickets can be bought online or on the door.  Pints are a fiver and half pints, for those who want to try lots are €2.50.

What are you waiting for?*

*apart from it not being 1700 yet.