Critics' guide to going out: 29/01/2010
Friday, January 29
Jack L, Town Hall Theatre
If ever there was an Irish singer with the power to make grown men swoon, it is Mr Jack Lukeman (above). From his Black Romantics beginnings to his enduring solo career, this crooning legend has been compared to everyone from David Bowie, Nick Cave and Tom Waits to Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. His velvet baritone has made cabaret torch songs cool again and given new life to old standards. He's on the road with a new album The Story So Far, a concert retrospective. But this is a performer who absolutely has to be seen live to be fully appreciated. www.tht.ie
SATURDAY, JANUARY 30
Talib Kweli, Tripod, Dublin
It has been 12 years since the Brooklyn rapper (right) first came to prominence thanks to his collaboration with Mos Def. The pair released one of the key hip hop albums of the 90s, Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star. Since then, Kweli has refined his brand of socially conscious hip hop even if his forthcoming album, Prisoner of Consciousness, seems to poke fun at his reputation. Still, Kweli has a lot more to say than the average rapper and his sense of erudition shines through. His most recent solo album, 2007's Ear Drum, is a case in point -- it's the anti-Fiddy.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 31
Crash Test Cabaret, Odessa Club
Cutbacks and scandals and floods, oh my! January is officially the crankiest month of the year and 2010 is shaping up to be the biggest grinch of them all. So Crash Test Cabaret is turning back the clock to better, happier times with this potpourri of entertainment entitled Santa's Second Coming. Pull a cracker, bite into a mince pie and thank granny for the protection offered by those hand-knitted Rudolph boxer shorts, as this troupe of rising stars present new acts and a selection of old favourites. Swing by with your unwanted Christmas gifts and swap the night away at the festive tombola. Secretly yearn to be the next Cheryl Cole? Then bring a CD backing track and get your popstar on for the open-mic spot, or sit back and rate others. Christmas crackers or total turkeys? Yule be the judge -- boom, boom. Doors open at 8pm.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 1
After all the pre-Oscar hype, Precious finally arrives in Irish cinemas and we're happy to say it was worth the wait. Based on a novel by African-American writer Sapphire, and set in 80s Harlem, the film stars newcomer Gabourney Sidibe as Claireece 'Precious' Jones, a morbidly obese 16-year-old girl who's suspended from school when it's discovered she's pregnant -- again. But when teachers and social workers begin investigating her home life, they find a veritable horror show. The father of her children is her own father, who has been raping her while her mother stood by. Believe it or not it gets worse, but, ultimately, Precious is an uplifting rather than a depressing film, thanks to the superb ensemble acting and the indomitable dignity of Precious herself. With Mo'Nique and Mariah Carey.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2
Blasphemy, Oonagh Young Gallery, James Joyce Street, Dublin 1
Punishable by fines of up to €25,000, our newest law states that blasphemy is committed when someone 'publishes or utters matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion'. But, aside from setting a rather worrying international precedent, this still doesn't really clear up what exactly constitutes blasphemy. A group exhibition in this new gallery just behind Talbot Street forces us to confront this question. David Gobold has assembled a cluster of crucifixes, interwoven with leaflets and official documents with religious imagery. Paul Murnaghan presents Map of The Empire, asking the question if you could compose the opening line of a universal hymn, what would it be? And the ever mischievous Nevan Lehart does his best to sabotage our preconceptions about the second coming. www.oonaghyoung.com
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 3
The Party, Bewley's Café Theatre
There are few theatre deals quite so satisfying as Bewley's. This lunching escape to a theatrical world provides food both for the soul and the stomach, as you get a hearty bowl of soup thrown into the bargain. And this week sees the Irish premiere of a hidden Chekhov short story.
Adapted by Sophie Motley and Catriona Ni Mhurchu, who also direct and perform the piece respectively, this centres on a birthday party.
Our hostess Olya is becoming weary of her guests, of her increasingly flirtatious husband and weary for a secret reason that won't stay secret much longer. Combining the intimacy of Olya's story with Chekhov's enduring preoccupations with the strictures of social conventions and the stifling powers of familial traditions, this promises a most intense lunchtime. The show continues until the 20th. See www.bewleyscafetheatre.com for more information.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 4
Haunted, Gaiety Theatre
Irish audiences have the chance to see twice Oscar-nominated Brenda Blethyn (Secrets & Lies, Little Voice) in a play written especially for her by her friend, the Irish literary icon Edna O'Brien.
Mr Berry (Niall Buggy, right with Blethyn) appears to be a widower and he attempts to fill his days tending to his garden in the pleasant town of Blackheath on the outskirts of London and indulging his love of Shakespeare.
Then he meets Hazel (Beth Cooke), who runs a local market stall selling lace in between giving elocution lessons.
They arrange for her to give him verse-speaking instruction in exchange for items from his late wife's wardrobe. But, extraordinarily, his wife (Blethyn, left, pictured with Niall Buggy) seems to be still alive.
This enchanting memory play reveals that the couple are childless, a situation to which Mrs Berry's job as a supervisor in a doll factory lends poignant significance.