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7 days and nights: 29th October - 4th November

See Hear, Project Arts Centre, Dublin 2

The aliens haven't landed but they've sent ahead an envoy that will be visiting Temple Bar's Project Arts Centre tonight for a decidedly different show. Alien Envoy is actually the latest outing for singer, songwriter, musician and filmmaker Nick Kelly, he of The Fat Lady Sings. To mark the arrival of Alien Envoy's debut album, Nine Lives, Kelly has put together See Hear, a most intriguing evening featuring a live performance, a film screening and a chance for the audience to have its say. Before the music, there will be a screening of three award-winning short films written and directed by Nick, including Why The Irish Dance That Way, which was selected in 2008 by New York's Museum of Modern Art.



Nighthawks, Project Arts Centre, Dublin 2

It's all going on at the Project this weekend. Hot on the heels of the Alien invasion comes this rather special show hosted by the reliably eclectic Nighthawks crew. Nighthawks have been hosting monthly cabaret nights in the glorious Georgian Cobalt Café on North Great Georges Street for the past two years. The line-up is always diverse, the standards reliably high. Now they have put together a very special gathering to celebrate the release of their second Oxfam EP. Performers at the one-off Oxfam Ireland show this Saturday include Thomas Walsh and Tosh Flood (Pugwash), Fiach and Enda Reilly, comedy from Trevor Browne, Totally Wired and Damian Clark. There will be performance poetry from Colm Keegan and Stephen James Smith, and there'll even be a short comic play called Should've Gone To Lourdes. What's more, ticket price includes a free copy of the EP.



Psycho, National Concert Hall, Dublin 2

How better to get your Halloween goosebumps going than an afternoon in the company of knife-slasher Norman Bates? Fifty years after its original release, Alfred Hitchcock's classic is as spine-tingling as ever. And it will be given a fresh injection of life this Sunday at 3pm and also at 8pm as Bernard Herrmann's unforgettable all-string score is performed live by the RTE Concert Orchestra. Imagine the impact of the iconic shower scene up on the big screen with the screeching violin music live underneath. In fact, the world nearly never got to hear those shrieking strings, a theme not only instantly associated with Psycho but endlessly referenced in popular culture. Apparently Herrmann had to beg Hitchcock to listen to the cue he'd written for the shower as the director had originally wanted no music at all there. Thank goodness even Hitchcock can change his mind.



Temper Trap, Tripod, Dublin 2

We've had the Australian Doors and the Australian Pink Floyd. Now say hello to the Australian U2, aka Melbourne four-piece Temper Trap. An outfit whose entire songbook sounds as if it was inspired by the opening two minutes of Where The Streets Have No Name, they couldn't have picked a better moment to turn up at our collective doorstep. With the actual U2 sliding into late-career senescence, TT's impossible-to-escape radio smash Sweet Disposition has served as a useful reminder that epic arena rock doesn't have to be po-faced and preachy (though clearly it is okay if it reminds you vaguely of The Unforgettable Fire). On their last visit to the capital, Dougie Mandagi and chums played second fiddle to pop valkyrie Florence and the Machine. Performing their first proper headline shows, expect them to seize the hour and send Dublin into a collective swoon.



The Circus of Horrors, University Concert Hall, Limerick

Given the week of ghouls and goblins that's in it, why not immerse yourself in blood-drenched macabre fantasy with The Circus of Horrors? Following the success of The Asylum and The Day of The Dead shows, The Circus of Horrors is back rockin' and shockin' with a new show to celebrate its 15th year, performed by a mighty cast of some of the wildest and weirdest contemporary circus artistes and musicians this side of the flaming abyss. The new phantasmagoria, The Four Chapters from Hell, opens in a French asylum as the inmates are liberated and become the performers in the show. After killing their leader, they do their best to revive him in Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations. And that's just for starters. Throw in Victorian London freak shows, voodoo warriors and knife throwers and it sounds like you've got yourself one macabre circus.



STRIKE!, Samuel Beckett Theatre, Trinity College, Dublin 2

Once upon a time, in an era of severe recession in a land far, far away, a group of young people were so moved by the political situation in a far-off country that they were prepared to walk out of their jobs in a supermarket in protest. The anti-apartheid strikers at Dunnes Stores thought their protest against South African fruit being sold would last two weeks; it lasted three years, and became a seminal moment in both the international anti-apartheid movement, and in Irish politics of protest. Now seems a good time for a play about the strike. It was a statement of dissent from the then consensus. Dissent is something we need to hear again. STRIKE! is at the Sam Beckett until November 6, and then at the Axis, Ballymun.

www.tcd.ie/drama and www.axis-ballymun.ie.


The Kids are All Right, General Release

An alternative family unit endures depressingly familiar problems in Lisa Cholodenko's witty and insightful drama. Annette Bening and Julianne Moore are Nic and Jules, a married lesbian couple who've each given birth to a child by the same anonymous donor. Everything is going swimmingly until the now teenage kids Laser and Joni decide they'd like to meet their father. Dad turns out to be Paul (Mark Ruffalo), a commitment-phobe who welcomes the kids with open arms, but also takes a shine to Jules. Cholodenko examines the issues all of this raises with wit and imagination, and the performances are invariably excellent.

Irish Independent