Wednesday 24 January 2018

7 days + nights: 17th - 23rd of September


Sophie Gorman

As You Are Now So Once Were We, Project Arts Centre

Has Dublin changed unrecognisably since one James Joyce took a meandering stroll around it in Ulysses almost 90 years ago? Are there still fragments of that city and its ethos or are we living in a city of flux, of constant reinvention with little true regard for preserving its past? This is just the opening gambit of this new production by The Company, who won the Spirit of the Fringe Award last year with Who is Fergus Kilpatrick. Investigating what it means to live in Dublin today, they cite influences as diverse as Peggy Shaw, Trey Parker, Tim Etchells, Gob Squad and that certain Mr Joyce. The Company are also one of a growing number of Fringe groups who are attacking the media with renewed vigour and innovation this year, they've even got their own promo on YouTube -- One presumes/hopes this is ironic, yes?


Liffeytown, River Liffey

Hold your horses, are there houses in the Liffey? Monopoly-esque red and green houses bobbing away among the discarded shopping trolleys and rodents? Yes, our central waterway is making a statement and it's not about the breeding practices of rats. Considering the blanket of grey gloom that is currently suffocating this city, anything that alleviates it, provides a moment of fun and celebrates this rather remarkable river should certainly be championed. And that's exactly what artist Fergal McCarthy has done with this unusual installation. Besides the initial curiosity and diversion these pieces elicit, this uninhabited ghost estate also makes a timely statement about all the empty edifices that line the river banks and the impossible property bubble that so many of us bought into. What's more, it even glows at night!


Medea, Samuel Beckett Theatre, Dublin 2

Euripides's Medea at the Fringe in a new translation setting it as a contemporary domestic drama: intriguing. Selina Cartmell directing: exciting. Actor Olwen Fouere resuming her fertile collaboration with Cartmell: enticing. And Eileen Walsh joining them in the title role: unmissable. And that's not to mention the remainder of the cast, which includes Bryan Murray, Stuart Graham and Eleanor Methven. Cartmell has pulled off some audacious productions on the Fringe before and has clearly pulled out all the stops for her return to the Fringe this year. Her production of the Greek master's tale of one stunningly dysfunctional family looks set to be one of the stand-out shows.


Winter's Bone, selected release

Set in the Missouri backwoods and based on a country noir novel by Daniel Woodrell, Winter's Bone might not sound like a barrel of laughs and nor is it. But it is one of the best and most enthralling films I've seen this year. Jennifer Lawrence plays Ree Dolly, a 17-year-old girl with a lot on her plate. She looks after her younger siblings and ailing mother in a ramshackle house, subsisting on the charity of neighbours and the odd fricasseed squirrel. Things get worse when a marshal turns up and tells Ree that her drug-brewing dad has disappeared from custody having put up the family home as a bond. If Ree can't locate him, they'll all be kicked out. And so the young woman steels herself for a confrontation with the elders of her clan. It's moody, beautifully photographed stuff, and Lawrence delivers a remarkably assured performance.


Esther Teichmann, Severed Head, Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2

Three cheers for enterprise and pure old-fashioned bravery. It may not seem like the most ideal time to be opening a new gallery, so you have to salute the sheer faith of Severed Head. This plucky new gallery has just launched an exhibition by German-American artist Esther Teichmann. Drinking Air features Teichmann's recognisable large-scale photographic and film works of garmented bodies. Teichmann's primary themes remain ideas of loss, grief and a sense of inherited homesickness. She has been creating quite a stir with international solo exhibitions, so this is rather a coup for this fledging gallery. And the exhibition is open on Fridays and Saturdays all day, but you can get in any day by appointment -- call 086 0233636.


Ponydance, No Name Bar, Fade Street, Dublin 2

What's that? A group of people throwing shapes outside the Social Welfare Office on North Cumberland Street? Have they derailed? Are they rioting through the medium of dance? But are they now grooving on South King Street? This is ponydance and this is not agitprop. Instead, this is Anybody Waitin?, the latest unconventional show from this comedy dance theatre company -- yes, they do sidestep easy categorisation. This is all about the queue that we seem all to be stuck in. Waiting for the bus, waiting for a coffee, waiting for the right man/woman, waiting for any man/woman... And, as part of the Fringe, they have been popping up in venues all over the city and will continue to do so until their grand finale at Connolly Station on Sunday. Get in line.


Arthur's Day, Various Venues

Snow Patrol, Manic Street Preachers, Brandon Flowers and Paolo Nutini are among the headliners of the second annual celebration of Dublin's pre-eminent brew. The Olympia, Vicar Street and Academy host the big-name acts, but the real treat will be the smaller shows that these headline acts and others will be performing in bars across Dublin, as well as Cork and Galway. People are still talking about hearing Delilah by Mr Trousersnake himself, Tom Jones, in the Brazen Head last year. Not quite sure if it all makes up for that awful ad, though.

Irish Independent

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