Critics' guide to going out: 09/04/2010
Dublin: One City, One Book Festival
This month marks the fifth anniversary of the Dublin: One City, One Book project, which acts like an enormous book club by encouraging everyone in the city to read the same book when April comes around.
This time it's the turn of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, in which the young, rich and beautiful eponymous hero's decision to sell his soul in exchange for eternal youth and good looks leads him down a path of debauchery. From Tuesday until the end of the month (except Mondays), Wonderland Productions is staging special readings of the work combining afternoon tea at the James Joyce Tea Room at Bewley's on Grafton Street.
As well as promoting reading, the Dublin City Council initiative forms a major element of the city's submission to become a UNESCO City of Literature.
SATURDAY, APRIL 10
Laura Marling, The Academy, Dublin
In the UK, hyperventilating music hacks are hailing Laura Marling as the new Joni Mitchell. Eh, steady on chaps. That's not to say the 20-year-old isn't a special talent. Her new album, I Speak Because I Can, sees her abandoning some of the wall-flower folksiness of her first record, Alas I Cannot Sing. In its place, she has cultivated a taste for attitudinal song-writing and haunting melodies. Shoved rather unfairly into the public eye when Noah and the Whale's Charlie Fink penned an entire LP about their break-up, Marling has reacted to the publicity in the best possible way. She has written a record that blows Fink's juvenile whining out of the water.
SUNDAY, APRIL 11
Whip It!, General Release
Drew Barrymore's breezy directorial debut stars Ellen Page as a smalltown Texan teen who finds the perfect way to rebel against her rigid mother when she discovers the sport of roller derby. Since childhood, Bliss has been paraded in beauty pageants by her stern but loving mom Brooke (Marcia Gay Harden). But when Bliss sneaks off to a game of roller derby in Austin, she decides she wants to get involved. She turns out to have an unexpected talent for this invigorating contact sport, and she and her new friends even begin to challenge for the state roller derby championship. But when her mother finds out what she's been doing, the stage is set for an ugly confrontation. It's entertaining stuff, and Page and Harden, in particular, are excellent.
MONDAY, APRIL 12
Traces, Olympia, Dublin 2
If the world was coming to an end and you wanted to be remembered, what would you do to leave a lasting mark? This is the question posed by this highly adrenalin-charged show opening in the Olympia tonight. Doffing its cap to the acrobatic innovation of Cirque de Soleil, this show by 7 Doigts de la Main features a quintet of talented performers who go beyond jumping through hoops to make the impossible possible. They draw from Chinese circus disciplines, elements of parcour (free running), street performance and even skateboarding.
TUESDAY, APRIL 13
One Republic, The Academy, Dublin 1
It helps to have friends in the right places and musical mates don't come much better placed than Timbaland, as One Republic discovered. The California-by-way-of-Colorado-based band were the first act signed to Timbaland's label Mosley Music Group, which is distributed by mega-label Interscope. Then Timbaland did a remix of their single Apologize for his own album as a way to introduce the band before their debut CD, Dreaming Out Loud. So how did they top that? They were nominated for a Grammy, that's how. One Republic have a new album out now, Waking Up, and are visiting our island for two nights, with a Dublin date tonight and a Belfast one tomorrow.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 14
What's Left of the Flag, Theatre Upstairs @ The Plough
It opened with a fanfare only to temporarily disappear with a faint splutter, but the admirably innovative theatre is officially back in its intimate upstairs home at the Plough bar on Lower Abbey Street. And it's back with a decisive bang today, with an appetising double bill of lunchtime and teatime theatre. In quite a coup for a new theatre, the lunchtime show is the world premiere of Jimmy Murphy's latest play, What's Left of the Flag. The description is temptingly succinct: two Mossad agents with one mission -- to assassinate a Palestinian activist -- and one unaffordable luxury: a conscience. The evening show picks up with their season of revivals of local gems, with tonight seeing the opening of Conor McPherson's The Good Thief. Check them out on Facebook for details.
THURSDAY, APRIL 15
Stranger Than Fiction Festival, IFI
The truth in all its gory glory is put under the spotlight for the next four days in this year's expanded Stranger Than Fiction documentary festival at the IFI. Featuring 22 documentaries from home and abroad, it kicks off tonight with an exploration of that most curious Irish phenomena -- Pyjama Girls. Taking this recent development in Irish sartorial flair as her launch pad, director Maya Derrington captures the ups and downs of working-class teenage life, focusing on the area around the Blessington Street Basin. Other highlights include Space Tourists following a Russian would-be cosmonaut as she achieves her dreams of becoming the first female space tourist at a cost of a mere $20m, while The Sun Behind The Clouds examines the tensions between a new generation of Tibetan radicals and the moderate line of their leader, the Dalai Lama; and South of the Border shows Oliver Stone aiming to expose US media distortions of the politics of Central and South America.