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The Insider

THE acclaimed Cirque du Soleil will come to the O2 Dublin for the first time ever.

The internationally renowned show has been seen by more than 10 million people since it first premiered in 1994 in Montreal and features a cast of 55 performers and musicians from 17 countries showcasing an array of acrobatic feats. Running from April 25 to 29, tickets cost €49.20 and are on sale tomorrow morning from Ticketmaster.

•Remember Anthony Kelly Blake from Total Xposure? Well the runner-up on the reality show to find Lorraine Keane's replacement will tread the boards at the Exchange Space in Temple Bar running from next Thursday to Saturday. He'll join Vincent Browning with a performance of Vaclav Havel's Audience and Harold Pinter's New World Order. Directed by Brian Murray, the plays will be staged at 7pm and 8.45pm.

•Acclaimed actor Stephen Rea will be indulging his inner culture vulture by reading James Joyce's short story The Dead on Easter Monday.

The Interview With A Vampire actor has signed up for RTE Radio 1's Book On One programme and will feature the story in its entirety over the course of 10 programmes in the nightly slot.

Joyce's tome is the chosen book for the One City, One Book project, which runs throughout April and is aimed at encouraging members of the public to read the same book.

•THE red carpet will be rolled out at the Abbey Theatre this evening for the opening night of quirky new musical Alice In Funderland, directed by Wayne Jordan. Bringing together some rising Irish talent, the venue will present a modern day fairytale for a bruised nation. A satirical look at the Lewis Carroll classic, the guestlist for tonight's premiere reads like a 'who's who' of the theatre world. Expected to attend this evening are Moya Doherty, Rosaleen Linehan, Pat Moylan, Orlaith McBride, Lynne Parker, Marion O'Dwyer and John McGrane. Originally created by Phillip McMahon and Jennifer Jennings, it tackles the themes of love and change with a unique twist.

•The knives will be out at the G Hotel in Galway as celebrities go head to head as they recreate their own version of RTE show The Restaurant. Four personalities will don their aprons on April 19 as they devise a gourmet menu for the event, which is being held in aid of Console. Following the same format as the TV show, the Irish celebrities will take on the challenge of coming up with a tasty trio of dishes as they're judged by a panel of leading food critics. The names of the participants are being kept under wraps.