Critic's guide to going out: 6/08/2010
The Smile Off Your Face, Rothe House, Kilkenny
The next nine days will be all about Kilkenny and the festival that's taking over its every corner. So how better to start the immersion than being bundled into a wheelchair, blindfolded and bound? Now this may not be exactly what you picture when you think of an entertaining night out at the theatre, but that's exactly what's in store when you buy a ticket to this darkly unique show. Taking challenging theatre to whole new levels, Belgium's Ontroerend Goed theatre company create productions that will stimulate and affect you in ways you never knew theatre could. In this show, you are the single audience member and passivity is not an option, as you should be prepared for the unexpected, to put it mildly. Buckle up, this is interactive theatre at its finest.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 7
Indie'Go World Music & Arts Festival, Ballydarton House, Fenagh, Carlow
The latest to get in on the festival act, Carlow's Ballydarton House boasts a busy line-up of indie music, alternative arts and eccentric entertainment over the weekend. The musical line-up is headlined by country/acid house band Alabama 3, reggae veterans Aswad and Congolese dance star Awilo Longomba, while there's a range of other performers on hand to entertain, from storyteller Eddie Lenihan to comic acrobats the Lords Of Strut and aerial artists Sorcaluba. Hakuna Matata is another street-circus act worth catching, while Higgledy Piggledy mix circus tricks with slapstick, clowning and puppetry.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 8
Knight and Day, General Release
It has become customary for American critics to rabidly attack every film that Tom Cruise appears in, but as it turns out Knight and Day is nothing like as bad as reports from across the Atlantic have suggested. In fact, Cruise and Cameron Diaz make a surprisingly good screen couple, and both are on top form in this entertaining if rather contrived thriller. Diaz is an ordinary gal on the way to her sister's wedding in Boston when she bumps into a charming stranger who turns out to be a rogue FBI agent with the whole world on his tail. Cruise is very funny as the manically calm Roy Miller and, although the film sags a bit in the middle and is over-reliant on CGI car chases, Knight and Day is by no means the worst blockbuster we've seen so far this summer.
MONDAY, AUGUST 9
The Plough and The Stars, Abbey Theatre, Dublin 1
Nothing quite beats a theatrical tussle and the original Abbey production of this political Sean O'Casey drama certainly provoked its own excitement. O'Casey's depiction of sex and religion even offended some of the actors, who refused to speak their lines, and apparently the audience rose up in anger on the fourth night of the run, building into a full-scale riot that caused WB Yeats to famously declare: "You have disgraced yourself again, is this to be the recurring celebration of the arrival of Irish genius?"
Thankfully, the genius has since been appreciated and O'Casey's play has lived on to fight another day. This latest Abbey outing, directed by Wayne Jordan, is the most successful production for many years, with new life breathed into these enduring lines. Classic production of a classic show.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 10
Inspiration, Sebastian Guinness Gallery, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away, so goes the motivational speaker. And a glorious photograph that cuts right to the core of its subject can have the power to leave you a tad breathless. This very engaging exhibition, Inspiration, has been curated by photographer Perry Ogden and the title marks a tribute to both the inspiration that Ogden received from these photographers and also to the periods of his life in which he encountered them. Photographers include David Bailey, August Sander, Gilles Peress, Donovan Wylie, Alen MacWeeney, Mary Ellen Mark, Steve Pyke, Andrew Bush and the photographer who captured most of Irish life, John Hinde. And the best news of all is that the exhibition has now been extended until August 28.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 11
Kris Kristofferson, Olympia, Dublin
Is he a musician who acts? An actor who plays a mean acoustic guitar? With Kris Kristofferson, the usual distinctions seem hardly to matter. Whether baring his soul on blue-jean dirges such as Help Me Make It Through the Night, or portraying in-house mechanic to a mohawked vampire in the Blade movies, the towering Texan is a man of endless talent and inexhaustible charm. He has also got a few stories to tell. In the 70s, he ran with Johnny Cash, Dennis Hopper and Willie Nelson and, by his own admission, held his own as a party animal. More recently he has followed Cash's example by hooking with an esteemed producer (in this case Don Was) for a series of bare-boned records that stripped away the pomp and revealed the brittle songwriter within. To his dismay, he is credited as inspiring the sozzled country singer played by Jeff Bridges to Oscar winning effect in Crazy Heart.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 12
Halves, Set Theatre, Kilkenny
Things have been reasonably quiet on the Halves-front as of late, though expect that all to change with the upcoming release of their debut album. It features a mixture of organic samples, strings, brass and choir as well as an impressive selection of guest vocalists, including Amy Millan (Stars/Broken Social Scene), Katie Kim and Phil Boughton (Subplots) and they've spent time recording in Montreal with Efrim Menuck, he of Godspeed You! Black Emperor fame. This special Kilkenny gig sees them joined by The Ambience Affair, aka Jamie Clarke and Marc Gallagher. The other support acts will be Ryan Taylor Doyle, lead singer of Bell Jar, and electronica double act Teffia Ki.