Thursday 22 February 2018

7 Days + Nights: 10th - 16th of September

Mountains to Sea DLR Book Festival, Dun Laoghaire

Sophie Gorman

Just how many literary festivals can one city maintain? An endless number it seems. The latest addition to our festival calendar is now in full flow and what a sparkling programme they have assembled for their debut.

Boasting a whopping four former Booker prize winners -- John Banville, Roddy Doyle, DBC Pierre and Anne Enright -- they also have an appreciation for the late JG Farrell, who posthumously won the Booker for The Siege of Krishnapur, which was published in 1973. Today's highlight is a live presentation of RTE Radio's Sunday Miscellany and tomorrow sees a veritable downfall of literary talent starting with a morning session with Anne Enright, Roddy Doyle, Claire Keegan and Kevin Barry. DBC Pierre and Andrew O'Hagan will be opening the afternoon proceedings, followed by Ross Raisin and Jonathan Coe. And this bumper day will be rounded off by John Banville, Matthew Kneale and Rachel Cooke.



Taylor Mac, Absolut Fringe Factory @ The Grand Social, Dublin 1

Deliriously delicious, patently profound, scintillatingly screwball, brilliantly bonkers ... It is impossible to categorise the uniquely glorious talent that is Taylor Mac. Considering I travelled to New York to see his last show, an unforgettable five-and-a-half hour extravaganza, it would be true to admit I am something of a fan. He is in our town for one night only to present his new show, The Ziggy Stardust Meets Tiny Tim Songbook. After being described on a multitude of occasions as a cross between Ziggy Stardust and Tiny Tim, Mac has decided to take this to its inevitable conclusion and create the magical monster that is his latest show. It sees him perform the entire Ziggy Stardust album in his own inimitable fashion, wedging in a good number of Tiny Tim songs along the way. If I had to pick one absolutely unmissable show in the Fringe, Taylor Mac would be it.



F*ck My Life, Project Arts Centre, Dublin 2

Cork's Midsummer Festival orchestrated quite the coup earlier this year when they engaged cutting-edge Belgian director Pol Heyvaert to devise a theatre piece with a group of Cork teenagers. Given that his previous hit production, Aalst, documented a case of infanticide, it's perhaps no surprise that a play with teenagers should have an expletive in the title, and deal with teen suicide. F*ck My Life, however, isn't necessarily as angst-ridden as it sounds -- the phrase is a throwaway one, often used in irony, and abbreviated to FML in text and online messaging. After the huge success of last year's Belgian teen play at the Dublin Theatre Festival, Once and For All..., Dublin audiences now have a chance to see the Irish answer.



Pajama Men, Absolut Fringe Factory @ The Grand Social, Dublin 1

Men, or even women, in pyjamas (or pajamas if you're American) outside of the bedroom might seem like an unusual concept overseas, but here in Dublin it is rather run of the mill. The good news is that there's a lot more to these titular Men than just their choice of attire. Double act Mark Chavez and Shenoah Allen were hoovering up five-star reviews and awards at their recent Edinburgh Fringe Fest appearance for their new show, which is actually more of a play than a sketch show. Last Stand to Reason sees our daring duo board a train to goodness knows where. And they will be joined on their utterly unhinged journey by a host of colourful characters, all brought to most vivid life by these two men in their nightwear. Anything is possible.



Joanna Newsom, Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin 2

We don't know what's more shocking: alt. harpist Joanna Newsom releasing a three-disk sprawl of a third album or the fact she's given up singing like Marge Simpson on helium. Where once all was pixie dust and fey warblings, Newsom has lately started to write what might reasonably be described as straight-forward pop songs. And rather interesting they are too. How far she has travelled from her debut, The Milk Eyed Mender, which resembled early Cocteau Twins as covered by Bjork's eccentric American cousin. What next? Axl Rose turning up for a gig on time?



Cyrus, General Release

In this likeably downbeat drama, writer/directors Jay and Mark Duplass push Jonah Hill and John C Reilly beyond the familiar territory of gross-out comedy into something more thoughtful and interesting. Reilly is John, a middle-aged freelance editor who lives alone and has still not got over the break up of his marriage seven years previously. Things look up when he meets an attractive woman called Molly at a party, and they begin seeing each other. But there's a catch -- namely Molly's 22-year-old son Cyrus, who comes across all sweetness and light but secretly resents John's intrusion into his life and will do practically anything to get rid of him. Marisa Tomei is very good as the sweet but coddling Molly, and Reilly and Hill manage to be both touching and funny.


Cactus: The Seduction, The New Theatre, Dublin 2

Yes, it is all Fringe fun and frolics this week and there's a nice link between those aforementioned Pajama Men and this new show by Jonno Katz: Mark Chavez actually directed Katz in this show. Interestingly enough, Katz is also a director of quite some regard, though his work is predominantly behind the camera as he has directed a number of Die Roten Punkte's music videos. His new show is the story of a daydreamer called Phil, who finds himself wandering though a desert in search of true love. Phil doesn't see mirages of pools of water, instead he hallucinates captivated audiences hanging on his every word. Expect a sprinkling of the surreal in this comedy.


Irish Independent

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