Critics' guide to going out: 19/02/2010
Victor and Gord, Project Arts Centre
If you'd had an ear to the ground of Dublin's theatre scene in the last while, you couldn't have avoided hearing mutterings about these odd-sounding folk, Victor and Gord. They first surfaced at one of the Project Brand New evenings a year ago, reappeared at the Queer Notions festival and then at Dublin's Fringe, and now they're back at the Project Arts Centre. But who the hell are they? Apparently, they're real-life folk: director Una McKevitt cast her sister and her sister's friend in a documentary-style play about their friendship, and it's touched some kind of nerve. See victorandgord.blogspot.com for more or call (01) 881 9613 for tickets. It runs until February 27 in the smaller Cube space at Project, and is quite likely to sell out. www.projectartscentre.ie
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20
Lady Gaga, The O2, Dublin
Stefani Germanotta has gone from obscurity to become arguably the world's biggest star in just 18 months. It has been an extraordinary rise for the 24-year-old New Yorker who has become almost as celebrated for her singular dress sense as for her chart-friendly dance-pop. This tour -- The Monster Ball -- is ostensibly to support The Fame Monster album, which was released at the end of last year. Featuring reworked versions of tracks from her debut, The Fame, plus eight bonus songs, it wasn't just the commercial cash-in that many thought, but a fascinating album in its own right and one that allowed Gaga to push the proverbial boat out. Expect huge theatrics from her live shows tonight and tomorrow, with pyrotechnics and costume changes aplenty.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY, 21
Telling Images of China, Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Castle
Okay, okay, so our own tiger may have fled the land, but this is no time for anti-feline thoughts, this is the Year of the Tiger after all. And what better time to welcome a treasure trove of ancient Chinese art from the world-renowned Shanghai Museum. Many of the masterpieces in this rather spectacular exhibition have never been seen outside China before and our very own Chester Beatty Library has been selected as the only location in Europe to host it. The theme of the exhibition is storytelling and each painting tells a story from folklore. There's the Laughing Budda, the Drunken Immortal, as well as China's Valentine's Day equivalent -- the Weaver Girl -- and the Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove -- seven cultured individuals who turned their backs on the corrupt politics of their time and opposed social injustice. If only they were more than myths.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22
Crazy Heart, Cinemas nationwide
Some of you will have heard advance rumblings about this film because of the awards buzz that Jeff Bridges' lead performance has generated. He's in contention for this year's Best Actor Oscar, and if there's any justice in the world, he'll win it, because he's quite brilliant as down and out country singer Bad Blake. Bad used to be a big shot, but now he's a half-forgotten singer reduced to playing gigs in obscure dive bars in New Mexico and Texas. He drinks whiskey like it's going out of fashion and seems hell bent on self-destruction until a meeting with a young female journalist provides faint hope of redemption. With original songs from T-Bone Burnett, Crazy Heart has the grimy ring of country and western authenticity, as does Bridges' totally committed performance. With Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY, 23
Rough, Axis Arts Centre, Ballymun
So theatre is a safe, middle-class thing, and young people think it's boring? THEATREclub beg to disagree. Actually, they're a little more insistent: they're taking conventional notions of theatre and its audience and shoving them back in our faces, with a few expletives thrown in. This young collective has been agitating to shake up the Dublin theatre scene of late, and now they're taking their Fringe-award winning play, Rough, to the Axis in Ballymun. "We're setting up camp and staying there until we get them in the theatre," they say. Rough, by Grace Dyas, is about young life in Dublin, or as they put it, "a story about taxis, downing double vodka and waking up in someone else's suburbs". That's definitely worth a trip to the burbs.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 24
Stage & Screen Season, National Library of Ireland, Dublin 2
The art of writing for stage and screen will be dissected by an impressive array of top writers in this new season of interviews at the National Library. First up to explain how the words make it first onto page and then into celluloid is writer/director John Carney. Having originally made his mark over a decade ago with the film November Afternoon, Carney then wrote and directed the disturbing Park, before delving even deeper into psychological drama with On the Edge, centred on a performance by then rising star Cillian Murphy. Carney really came to Irish audience's attention with the television series Bachelors Walk, but he hit the international big time with his Oscar-winning Once and is about to release his latest film, Zonad. And Carney will be followed onto the library stage by such luminary authors as Mark O'Halloran (Adam & Paul and Garage) and Paul Mercier (Studs).
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25
Kells Comedy Festival, The Headfort Arms Hotel, Co Meath
Comedy high jinx is the name of the game as the Kells Comedy Festival sets out to tickle your ribs. For its second annual outing, they've managed to assemble quite the impressive line up of Irish funnymen -- yes, there is a discernible absence of any laughing ladies on the bill, but let's not hold that against them. Opening tonight with a performance by those armchair sportsmen, Apres Match, it runs all weekend and also features a comedy showdown and a triple headliner event entitled Stars from the Savage Eye, which features the three leading men from the TV show of the same name, Patrick McDonnell, John Colleary and the eponymous David McSavage, pictured above. For ticket details, call 0818 222800.