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7 Days + Nights: Critics guide to going out

Friday, February 4: Mary Motorhead, Bewley's Café Theatre, Dublin 2

Mary's husband insisted on reciting the script of The Hunt for Red October to her face several times a day, the entire script. Mary finally reached the end of her well-worn tether and did what many will understand, she stabbed him in the head with a carving knife. He is now in intensive care and she is now in prison, providing enough distance from him to reflect on their turbulent relationship and how she got into this situation. A sequel to The Head of Red O'Brien, this honest portrait of a wife pushed to the edge is receiving a long overdue premiere since it was written more than a decade ago by Mark O'Halloran. Starring Cora Fenton and directed by Rae Visser, this one-woman show is yet another tasty slice of lunchtime theatre, served up with a bowl of soup and a large sprinkling of humour.



Feeder, The Academy, Dublin 1

Okay, so it has been rather a long time since you could call Feeder cutting-edge, cool, chart-topping popsters, hip or ground-breaking (hmm, maybe it's stretching things to suggest this Welsh band were ever ground-breaking), but they are still very much on the music scene. They've been on the road for the guts of 20 years, but are still remarkably fresh-faced, particularly the ever winsome Grant Lee. They don't appear to have had many albums out since 2001's Echo Park, but sure that was quite the sterling effort, so why would they try to out-do it? Expect a trip down memory lane, with possibly the odd new track thrown in to spice things up.



Ruby and the Duke, Cork Opera House

Until the recent telly screening of the documentary about her extraordinary life, you could have been forgiven for thinking Ruby Murray simply referred to a curry. But now we know that Ruby Murray was Ireland's answer to Judy Garland. A child performer who achieved overnight fame, she maintained her place in the spotlight with a string of hits. In one year alone she had five singles in the Top 20 all at the same time, a record that has never been surpassed. Bringing that documentary from screen to stage in a most personal journey is the ever bold Duke Special. And he will be joined on the night by Mary Coughlan (singer not politician) and Fight Like Apes' Mary Kate Geraghty. Duke will be putting his own stamp on Ruby's classic songs and throwing in a batch of his own favourites.



The Fighter, General Release

Based on the true story of Massachusetts welterweight 'Irish' Micky Ward, David O Russell's The Fighter doesn't exactly revolutionise the boxing genre, but it's a well-made and very entertaining film. Mark Wahlberg is Ward, a once-promising fighter whose career has been blighted by his well-meaning but interfering and grandly dysfunctional family. His brother Dicky (Christian Bale), a crack-addicted former boxer, and his terrifying mother Alice (Melissa Leo) are not happy when he takes up with a girl called Charlene (Amy Adams), but she provides the stability he needs to help him get his career -- and life -- together. Bale and Leo sail pretty close to the wind in two attention-grabbing performances, but it's the underrated Wahlberg who anchors this film and makes it believable.


Connected, Project Arts Centre, Dublin 2

Ever wonder if it might just be worth pulling the plug on the whole digital age? Now that you're never more than a Facebook friend away from anyone in the world, are friendships getting stronger or simply more remote? Well this new "comedy caper through the meaning of friendship, in analogue and digital" might just have the answer. In between stressing over Excel spreadsheets and stalking girls on Facebook, office drones Simon and Daz will lure the audience into a game of online make-believe that spills into the real world. Writer/Actor duo Will Irvine and Karl Quinn originally devised Connected as part of 'Show in a Bag' for last year's Fringe Festival. Directed by Iseult Golden, it has been described as being "for anyone who doesn't know their arse from their iPhone".




Romuald Hazoumè, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin 8

Our beloved IMMA is blowing out 20 candles on its birthday cake this year and they've lined up an impressive programme to mark the anniversary in style. Later in the year, we have works by the illustrious likes of Frieda Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Philip Taafe, Barrie Cooke and Gerard Byrne to look forward to. And the celebration kicks off today with a fascinating exhibition by one of Africa's most significant artists, Benin's Romuald Hazoumè. One of the centrepieces of the show is an installation featuring a group of four huge musical instruments constructed from cut-up petrol canisters. These plastic canisters are Hazoumè's signature in his frequently witty work. Slavery is also one of his powerful themes, interpreted in ways to bring the past to the present. Happy birthday IMMA, it's going to be a cracking party.



Joan As Policewoman, Button Factory, Dublin 2

Joan Wasser was a stoic wreck on 2008's To Survive, recorded in the aftermath of her mother's drawn-out death from cancer. With new LP The Deep Field, she returns an artist reborn. Here she is poised, sultry and imperious. A 40th birthday is often the point at which musicians slip into auto-pilot. Wasser, you sense, is merely warming up.



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