Tommy Tiernan, Vicar Street, Dublin 2
Enough already. We've been morally indignant about Tommy Tiernan for a more than sufficient period. It's time to let the dust settle and for everyone to remember that, apart from the most impossibly stupid throwaway comment that incurred the wrath of pretty much the whole world, this Navan man is first and foremost a cracking comedian. And he's in tip-top form with this new show that went down a stormer at the Edinburgh Fringe last year. Crooked Man promises to see Tiernan getting in tune with his deepest, darkest and most embarrassing thoughts, the perils of turning 40 and all the typically insane and eclectic subjects he is so good at exploring. Tiernan's taking up residency in Vicar Street for a string of nights this month, so take this opportunity to see someone who can be one of the very best in the business.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 8
Sex, Lies and the KKK, The Mill Theatre, Dundrum
True story -- the night Barack Obama was elected US President, Abie Philbin Bowman found himself interviewing the Ku Klux Klan live on air for his Galway radio show. His logic for this sideways look at such a major moment in American political history? "I hate the Nazis, but I'd love to have interviewed Hitler, as the Allied tanks rolled into Berlin." He gave them plenty of rope and they proceeded to lynch themselves, providing much rich fodder for the reliably taboo-smashing Dublin comedian. Direct from Los Angeles and Edinburgh, this new show, Sex, Lies & the KKK, asks "was Jesus mixed-race? Are we all bisexual? And is the Pope the ultimate Bond Villain?" It's all very well to ruffle feathers in faraway lands, but how will Abie fare when he asks the dangerous questions in front of his friends and neighbours? This promises to be a cracking show, as he's sure to roll out only his most successful gags.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 9
JLS, The O2, Dublin 1
For a while there it looked as if X Factor grads JLS had the boyband market to themselves. Of course, that was before a wrinkly but still loveable Take That came roaring back, making these fresh-faced newcomers seem callow and, well... boyish, by comparison. Still, they aren't ready to join 5ive, Blue and 911 in the dumper quite yet. With a loyal teenager fanbase and a convincingly slinky new album, Outta This World, Aston, Marvin, JB and Oritse clearly see themselves as in this for the long haul. Their confidence would seem well-placed: Outta performed strongly on its release in November, debuting at number two in the UK chart. In what may be an ominous sign of things to come, though, it was held off the top spot by -- them again -- Take That's Progress. Well, this authentic band of boys is in town for the first of two shows tonight.
MONDAY, JANUARY 10
The King's Speech, General Release
The kind of period drama the Brits do better than anyone else, Tom Hooper's The King's Speech examines the 1936 abdication crisis from the point of view of Edward VII's little brother, Bertie. Afflicted from childhood with a speech impediment, Bertie (Colin Firth) is chronically shy and has a dread of public engagements. But his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), is determined to help him, and engages the services of an Australian speech therapist called Logue (Geoffrey Rush). And as the two men embark on a long and arduous treatment, the new king, Edward VII, has become fascinated by an American divorcee. Handsomely made and hugely entertaining, The King's Speech is full of good performances and is a strong Oscar contender.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 11
The Head of Red O'Brien, Bewley's Café Theatre, Dublin 2
There's nothing like the love of a good woman and Red O'Brien has certainly not experienced the love of a good woman in recent times. In fact, when we meet Red in this 2001 play by Mark O'Halloran, he's in a hospital room after a near-fatal assault by his wife. The ambush, a frenzied knife attack in which O'Brien was stabbed in the head, deprived him of his cognitive processing skills. Slowly, however, he's starting to put back together the jigsaw of his mind. And now, on the eve of his hospital checkout, he gets the opportunity to evaluate his life, as his desires, regrets and hopes are intimately analysed. By turns moving and tragic, funny and warm, The Head of Red O'Brien is performed by John O'Dowd and this production is followed later this month by the world premiere of its companion piece, Mary Motorhead, where Red's wife gets the opportunity to tell her side of the story from her prison cell.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 12
Crossing the Shannon, Dublin Castle
Why have one John when you can have three? That's obviously the thinking of Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, acclaimed traditional vocalist with Danu. She has lined up flautist John Wynne, fiddler John McEvoy and guitarist/flautist/ bouzouki player John Blake for a major musical celebration of the west of Ireland. In times past, many fine musicians crossed the Shannon to board the emigrant boat, fuelling the vibrant Irish music scenes in London and Birmingham where Blake and McEvoy learned their craft. This tour is a musical homecoming for them, re-crossing the Shannon to explore the wild dance music, slow airs and haunting songs of the west that similarly inspired Nic Amhlaoibh and Wynne, as they grew up in Kerry and Roscommon respectively. They will be hitting the Irish highways and byways after this Dublin gig, with a tour taking in Wicklow, Cork, Galway, Mayo and Limerick.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 13
Fela! Irish Film Institute, Dublin 2
From the broadsheets to the tabloids, all the reviews were unanimous -- there had never been anything on Broadway quite like Fela!, no show had ever broken down the conventional barriers between stage and auditorium with such vivacious gusto. Fela! traces the rollercoaster life of Fela Anikulapo Kuti (1938-97) through the prism of The Shrine, the Lagos nightclub where Fela reigned not only as a performer of his incendiary Afrobeat songs (which make up most of the score) but also as the self-proclaimed president of his own autonomous republic. Fela! has transferred to London's National Theatre and the reception has been no less ecstatic for this show, which has been described as "as soaking an audience through to the skin with the musical style and sensibility practiced by its leading man". And now we will have the chance to experience it remotely, thanks to the Dublin Theatre Festival and the IFI, who will be broadcasting it live from the National Theatre at 7pm tonight.
Day & Night