Critics' guide to going out: 23/07/2010
Homeland, Monkstown Church, Co Dublin
Tis a rather special weekend in Dun Laoghaire and its environs. Not only is there a certain festival of world cultures taking over every spare inch, but it is also the 10th anniversary celebration of said festival, so you can expect everything to be bigger and better than before. A clear example of the high standards being set by this year's programme is tonight's main opening concert. Homeland features a quartet of some of the most interesting voices the world has to offer: Canadian Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq, Norwegian 'yoikers' Lowra Somby and Sara Marielle Gaup who make up Adjagas, and our very own sean nos singer Iarla O Lionaird. The bar will be set very high for this weekend of music from every corner of the globe, including a few corners you've probably never even knew existed. Best of all, most of the events won't cost you a shilling.
SATURDAY, JULY 24
The Human League and Heaven 17, Festival Big Top, Galway
It may be more than 30 years since The Human League (pictured right) formed, but they remain synth-pop superstars. The only constant band member since 1977 is vocalist and songwriter Philip Oakey, but in 1980 Oakey spotted teenagers Susan Ann Sulley and Joanne Catherall dancing at a disco and they've been vocalists in the band ever since. For this special retro night in Galway, they will trawl through a back catalogue that contains such gems as Fascination, Together in Electric Dreams and, of course, Don't You Want Me. They will be joined on the night by fellow electro old-schoolers Heaven 17. Prepare to get your groove on.
SUNDAY, JULY 25
Whose Line is it Anyway?, Iveagh Gardens, Dublin 2
The funniest festival in the most heavenly venue rounds off a weekend of chuckles tonight, but you've still plenty of time to catch some of the biggest acts, including this afternoon audience with such sharp wits as Never Mind the Buzzcocks' Phill Jupitus, the always slightly deranged Rufus Hound and original Whose Line? team member Josie Lawrence. The premise is simple: the audience throws up suggestions and the comedy troupe then have to improvise a full set based on these. It's a bit like revenge of the heckler, as you alone can determine the direction of the routines. So come armed with your most random and utterly unhinged ideas, and a loud booming voice.
MONDAY, JULY 26
The Rebound, General Release
Catherine Zeta-Jones tries her hand at yet another rom-com with The Rebound, a contrived and curiously flat effort from director Bart Freundlich, aka Mr Julianne Moore. Zeta-Jones is a suburban mom who flees to New York with her kids in tow after she discovers her husband has been playing around. Life in the Big Apple is a struggle for the newly single mother as she tries to juggle work and kids, but she finds comfort in a rebound relationship with a man 15 years her junior. Sad to say but The Rebound won't revive the rom-com career of Zeta-Jones. The script entirely lacks a decent laugh and her grim-faced performance lacks the likeability factor.
TUESDAY, JULY 27
Death of a Salesman, Gate Theatre, Dublin 1
Veteran salesman Willy Loman has always gotten along "riding on a smile and a shoeshine", but recently seems to have lost his golden touch. Haunted by missed opportunities and a troubled past, his life begins to unravel as he starts to lose faith in the two things he believes in: his family and his dreams. Directed by renowned David Esbjornson (Angels in America), this new production of Arthur Miller's classic tale of the everyman features an impressive cast, but everything hangs on the soul-crushing central performance by American acting star Harris Yulin (Scarface, Clear and Present Danger, Training Day) as Loman. Theatre of this incredibly high standard clutches you in its tight embrace. This is what appears in the dictionary under the word 'unmissable'.
Duckworth Lewis Method, Olympia, Dublin 2.
The idea of Neil Hannon growing mutton chops and recording a cricket-centric concept album is so stunningly obvious you wonder why the Divine Comedy singer didn't get around to it sooner. Actually, Duckworth Lewis Method is far from a one-man band -- the project's tea-with-the-vicar whimsy may be pure Hannon but its Beach Boys melodies and assured pop touch are as much the work of his collaborator, Pugwash's Thomas Walsh. Started as a lark, DLM is in danger of becoming a real phenomenon, with Hannon and Walsh showered in awards nominations and five-star reviews.
THURSDAY, JULY 29
The Colleen Bawn, Project Arts Centre, Dublin 2
One of Ireland's edgiest theatre companies, Bedrock Production, and the undeniably melodramatic Dion Boucicault might seem like a most peculiar marriage, but if anyone's going to find the buried treasure in this Boucicault stalwart it is director Jimmy Fay and his ever-innovative team. When Hardress Cregan's family falls on hard times, only his marriage to wealthy heiress Anne Chute can save it from ruin. But there's a snag -- Hardress is already secretly married to the beautiful and not so wealthy Eily O'Connor; and Anne is in love with someone else, Hardress's best friend Kyrle. Expect this touring production of the farce to be heavily peppered with darker themes of greed, class and, most important of all, sexual desire.