Critics' guide to going out: 12/02/2010
Stephen K Amos, Vicar Street, Dublin 8
Have your best heckles at the ready as there's a comedian coming to town tonight who will be most capable of sending them spinning back to you laden with wit. Stephen K Amos may not be the most familiar name on the comedy block, but he's certainly a familiar face thanks to his appearances on shows such as Have I Got News For You, Mock The Week and Loose Women, a personal Day & Night favourite. And it was actually on the latter show that Amos made his greatest revelation that Prince Harry, showing elements of his grandfather's tact, told him he 'didn't sound like a black chap' after Amos appeared at a concert to celebrate Prince Charles' 60th birthday. Amos is a comedian without message, theme, pathos or pain to deliver, just good, old-fashioned banter and he's at his best when the audience talks back. You have been warned. www.vicarstreet.ie
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 13
Off Plan, Project Arts Centre
"There is no such thing as free will. There is only the weight of history." So proclaims Agamemnon in Aeschylus' ferociously tragic trilogy The Oresteia. But our own story can change at a torrential pace, as one Mr Lee demonstrated this week. We've certainly been busy turning our own history on its head, as we invaded our green fields with garish mansions, covered our bogs with tarmac driveways and put CCTV on every corner to ensure every action is made public. Well, the always-innovative RAW theatre company is putting our myopic developing practices and sheer avarice centrestage with Off Plan, their production of Simon Doyle's new adaptation of Oresteia (below left). Directed by Rachel West, this highly anticipated play explores the enduring themes of power and morality, but also asks questions of identity both on the home front and international stage. Word on the street has it is going to be a hot ticket. w.projectartscentre.ie
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14
Midlake, Vicar Street, Dublin 8
The hirsute Texan quintet have been garnering a slew of glowing reviews for their third album, The Courage of Others, which was released earlier this month. With songs heavily influenced by English folk and a timeworn Americana inspired by a love of nature, their music is especially potent in a live setting. The Tim Smith-led band enjoyed a breakthrough of sorts in 2006 with their second album, The Trials of Van Occupanther, which saw them embrace a sound best described as Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young-meets-Fleetwood Mac, and the marked change in direction on the latest album shows a band unwilling to stand still. www.vicarstreet.ie
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 15
Michael Holbrook Penniman Jr, or Mika to you and me, is quite the colourful explosion. And there will be never a dull moment when this musical whirlwind (right) touches down in the Olympia this Monday. He's sure to be belting out most of his new album, The Boy Who Knew Too Much. But Mika's an expert in crowd-pleasing, so you can also expect a greatest-hits trawl though such poptastic tunes as Grace Kelly, Big Girl (You are Beautiful) and Love Today from his debut album, Life in Cartoon Motion. www.ticketmaster.ie
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16
A Single Man, General Release
While not quite as impressive a debut as Julian Schnabel's The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, fashion designer Tom Ford's A Single Man is a pretty classy first film. And Colin Firth delivers the performance of his life as a suicidal college professor in 60s Los Angeles. George Falconer is homosexual and is so devastated by the recent death of his partner, Jim (Matthew Goode), that he has decided to end it all. In A Single Man, we watch him wend his mournful way through what he believes will be his last day, and naturally enough the world seems suffused with beauty just as he's about to leave it. Julianne Moore co-stars as George's boozy best friend, and Nicholas Hoult plays a besotted student. But the film belongs to Firth -- and to Ford, who has created a visually sumptuous movie.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17
Stretching Larry, Theatre @ The Plough, Middle Abbey Street, 1pm
Larry is having a bad day and it's not his first. Feck it, Larry has had enough. He has found a tall tree, he has got a strong rope and he's busy shaping a noose. But in this land of a thousand welcomes, is any escape quite so straightforward? Not for Larry when a picnicking couple casually come upon his great departure and offer to give him a helping hand.
Opening today, this world premiere of Bryan Delaney's latest play is directed by Karl Shiels and stars Anthony Morris, Frank O'Sullivan and Catherine Eaton. What's more, the drama is all served up with a hearty bowl of soup in Dublin's hottest new lunchtime theatre venue. And if you're having any problems locating it, it's the upstairs spot directly across from that other major theatre building on Abbey Street.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18
Batty Ryan Will Change Your Life, Draiocht, Blanchardstown
Batty Ryan (Joe Rooney -- Father Ted, Killinaskully) was born in the small village of Mucklish. He grew up on his parent's dairy farm, which he ran with his brother Bunty until they fell out over whose turn it was to milk the cows the evening Mucklish Football Seniors won the Gaughan Cup. Apparently, things turned sour after that and they have never spoken since, despite Batty's efforts to bring in a Buddhist intermediary. Soon after, Batty married and became a father to three children, started managing a band and ended up divorced and penniless.
He tried every job alphabetically until he reached the letter 'l' and discovered his vocation as a life coach.
Now Batty is willing to share his wisdom with you, as he presents his unique Seven Steps to Success in Life & Business seminar. Prepare yourself for plenty of audience participation. www.draiocht.ie