Monday 22 April 2019

A question of culture: Niall Henry, Artistic Director

Niall Henry
Niall Henry

Declan Cashin

Niall Henry recalls a memorable concert by Those Nervous Animals and explains how he can't handle the cringe factor of reality TV.

BEST STAGE PRODUCTION?

The Great Hunger by Tom McIntyre, directed by Patrick Mason - with Tom Hickey and Vincent O'Neill amongst others - in the late 80s at The Peacock, Dublin. I had never seen theatre like it and started me thinking of all the different theatrical possibilities there were.

FAVOURITE WRITER?

Depends very much on stress levels. If I'm busy it's Jo Nesbo, David Mitchell or Henning Mankell. I can forget about whatever is preoccupying me quickly enough with these. If I've time on my hands, it's William Dalrymple and his travel/history books.

LAST BOOK YOU LOVED?

Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indridason. It was the last book in a detective series set in Iceland. Through the series, the main character, Erlendur, is obsessed by missing persons. In this last book in the series we finally find out the cause of the obsession. It's incredibly atmospheric.

FAVOURITE FILM?

Time of the Wolf by Michael Haneke, for the creation of a completely believable and frightening future, and the performance by Isabelle Huppert.

LAST FILM YOU ENJOYED?

We watched To Kill A Mockingbird the other night. I am always very moved by the scene when Scout and her brother are coming back through the forest from the Harvest Ball. They are attacked, and Boo Radley comes to the rescue. Harper Lee's evocation of childhood memory seems so real and plausible.

LAST FILM YOU HATED?

The recent instalment of the Planet of the Apes franchise. I don't know why I can handle Charlton Heston speaking to talking monkeys in the original, and not a film about how the monkeys learned to speak in the first place!

BEST CONCERT?

Those Nervous Animals in Hennigan's in Sligo at Christmas about 30 years ago. Barry Brennan, Padraig Meehan, Eddie Lee and the rest were/are a great live act. Terry Browne (the landlord) ran a really great pub, full of the strangest characters. The combination of the atmosphere in that pub with the band was unforgettable.

CULTURAL BLINDSPOT?

Reality TV. I just can't handle the cringe factor.

Niall directs The Playboy of the Western World at the Factory Performance Space, Sligo, Oct 22 to Nov 1, by Blue Raincoat Theatre Company. See www.blueraincoat.com

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