Monday 20 January 2020

Critics' guide to going out: 05/02/2010

Sophie Gorman

Kelly Clarkson, Olympia Theatre

Television talent shows have been responsible for inflicting a lot of horror on the world, most notably Simon Cowell's dress sense and a certain pair of Lucan twins. But every once in the proverbial blue moon, talent does win out and Kelly Brianne Clarkson (above right) is certainly proof of that. The winner of the first season of American Idol in 2002, Clarkson has since released four albums -- all of them chart-toppers. In addition to her world tours, she has also managed to find time to act in a number of films and sitcoms. She's on the global road this spring, arriving in Dublin tonight, with support provided by Parachute.


Dara O Briain, Vicar Street, Dublin 8

Unlike so many of his fellow funnymen, there's something distinctly loveable about Dara O Briain (below). His aim is clearly not to upset the applecart with controversy for the sake of controversy -- comedians take note -- and he's all the more successful for that. Despite being born in Bray, educated at UCD (where he studied maths and theoretical physics) and starting his career on RTE (as a children's TV presenter), O Briain is now a firmly established feature on the British comedy map, with a constant string of BBC presenting gigs under his belt. But he's putting his comedy where his mouth is this year, by returning to his stand-up roots with a string of gigs featuring new material.


Lalo Schifrin, National Concert Hall, Dublin 8

Though the name Lalo Schifrin mightn't automatically trip off your tongue, his legendary film scores will. Schifrin is the composing might behind such classic soundtracks as Bullitt, Mannix, The Cincinnati Kid, Enter the Dragon, Dirty Harry and, of course, the instantly identifiable Mission: Impossible. Schifrin was also responsible for arranging the tunes in Casablanca, The Third Man and many more. And he has notched up a shelf load of Grammy Awards and six Oscar nominations for his musical contributions. He will be joining our very own RTE Concert Orchestra as both pianist and conductor for this evening of his signature tunes.


The Low Anthem, Vicar Street, Dublin 8

This Providence, Rhode Island trio came to attention last year thanks to one of these word-of-mouth albums that seemed to come from nowhere to make quite an impact. A mainly acoustic, folk-oriented collection, Oh My God Charlie Darwin is as seductive as it is charming and much of that is down to the unusual instrumentation, with the band (right) employing music boxes, Tibetan singing bowls and filing cabinets -- of all things -- alongside more conventional sound sources. With the group working on a follow-up album, new material is likely to be in the offing.


Romeo & Juliet, Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire

Love doesn't get much more star-crossed than in Shakey's classic romance Romeo & Juliet. In a long hot summer, these teenage sweethearts pray for time alone -- away from the blistering passions of masculine honour and the vicious cycle of violence brought on by their families' ongoing feud. But how do you make this most familiar tale fresh and new? Bring in director Owen Horsley, he of acclaimed Cheek by Jowl theatre company fame, put the cast in modern dress and have video backdrops of familiar Dublin locations. This is Horsley's first production for UK theatre company Love & Madness and it will be in Dun Laoghaire until Friday. How better to get the passion flowing in the week leading up to Valentine's Day?


Love Lab, Science Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin 2

Speaking about matters of the heart, this vital organ will be laid bare in all its gory glory in the hottest exhibition to arrive in the Science Gallery. Being launched tonight by none other than serenading superstar Chris de Burgh, Love Lab promises to reveal what lies behind the butterflies you feel when you fall in love. Discover what rejection looks like in the brain by participating in Europe's first neuroscience study into speed dating; check out the Mutsugoto bed, which enables long-distance lovers to connect virtually; and take the T-shirt test to discover the role our sense of smell plays in our search for potential partners. For full immersion in the matters of the heart, sign up for their aphrodisiacal Valentine's Dinner -- in the dark.


Invictus, On General Release

Though curiously stilted and far from perfect, Clint Eastwood's Invictus does boast a memorable turn from Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela. Set in the mid-90s, as Mandela swept to power in a country still deeply divided along racial lines, the film follows the great man's attempts to turn the 95 Rugby World Cup into a galvanising and unifying national event. At that time, most blacks detested rugby because of its apartheid associations, but Mandela sent the Springboks out to the townships on goodwill trips, and began to draw the whole country around the team. Matt Damon plays Springbok captain Francois Pienaar, who worked with Mandela to make it happen, but it's Freeman who holds the film together and makes it worth watching.

Irish Independent

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