Monday 19 March 2018

Society: Festive theatre begins in Earnest

Gay Byrne and Kathleen Watkins at the Gate Theatre, Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron.
Gay Byrne and Kathleen Watkins at the Gate Theatre, Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron.
Alison Doody and Michael Colgan at the opening night of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest at the Gate Theatre. Photo: Arthur Carron
Senator Catherine Noone
Senator Averil Power and Lynn Kelly at the launch of the 3rd annual Oireachtas Christmas Charity Fashion Show. Photo: Kieran Hartnett.
Laura Jayne Halton, Brent Pope and Deirdre McCaughey at Emirates bash. Photo: Brian McEvoy.
Cathy O'Connor attends the annual Emirates do at East Side Tavern. Leeson Street,Dublin. Photo: Brian McEvoy.
Jenny Dixon at the Urban Decay launch in Dublin.
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

An evening filled with name dropping, handbags and a real life Bunbury?

No wonder Michael Colgan looked like all his Christmases had come at once at the opening of The Gate's Christmas show The Importance of Being Earnest.

Author and historian Turtle Bunbury's ancestor was the alleged inspiration behind playwright Oscar Wilde's "trivial comedy for serious people".

"I don't think I have too many echoes of Bunbury," Turtle said at the interval. Although he admitted he was guilty of 'bunburying' off to his family home of Lisnavagh House on occasion.

Former Bond girl Alison Doody was in high spirits as she dashed through the doors. Doody chatted about her new film Brother and playing the part of jail bird Nielson in flick Division 19.

"I could never do theatre," she said when asked if she'd consider treading the boards at The Gate. "The parts always seem to be too big or too small."

Gaybo and Kathleen Watkins enjoyed a snifter before heading into the show. Director Patrick Mason was full of chat about the dangers of staging Wilde.

"The audience tend to know the script and can start reciting lines alongside the actors which has the danger of being parody or pantomime."

Speaking of which, the Gaiety Theatre threw open the doors of Little Red Riding Hood this week. Newly engaged shock jock Adrian Kennedy arrived with his fiancée Linda Byrne.

"After 15 years it was time I made a decent woman out of her," he said. "Or perhaps she's making a decent man out of me. We're thinking of a Christmas wedding in 2017."

The Ryan clan - Morah, Lottie, Elliot, Rex and Babette made their annual pilgrimage.

"We're one down as Bonnie is sick," Babette said. "But this is one of our Christmas traditions."

Stylist and Amy Huberman's BFF Ingrid Hoey talked about festive prep. "I have 75pc of my shopping done and wrapped," she said. "I hate myself for saying that but it's true."

TV3's Anna Daly and Yvonne Connelly stocked up on sweets and glowing wands before they took their seats.

While Lisa Duffy insisted she felt no rivalry with the Limerick Panto in which her husband Keith takes on the role of suave King Anto. "There's no bad blood at all," she said. "I just love the drama."

Politicians switch canvas for catwalk

By Kirsty Blake Knox

Members of Dail Eireann aren't exactly known for their fashion know-how. I'm looking at you Mick Wallace and Ruth Coppinger.

But a gaggle of back benchers and senators will strut their stuff at the third Oireachtas Fashion Show in The Shelbourne next Tuesday.

Leo Varadkar, Averil Power, Eamon Coghlan and Jimmy Deenihan are all taking part. Senator Catherine Noone is making her third appearance in the sartorial showdown for charity.

"I'm practically a professional model at this stage," she laughed. "I've been practising my voguing and pouting in the mirror when I'm not thinking about canvassing."

Model Sarah Morrissey has been enlisted to teach the politicians how to perfect their walk. The Shelbourne's resident Style Butler Marietta Doran will be overseeing all the backstage antics. "It's a fantastic night for a great cause," Marietta said. "I'm sure all the TDs and senators will give the models a run for their money."

Emirates night just the ticket for Cathy

By Bairbre Power

'Those tickets for Dubai are mine," declared stylist-to-the-stars, Cathy O'Connor. And just like that, her name was drawn out of the hat by Enda Corneille, country manager for Emirates in Ireland.

The roof nearly lifted off the East Side Tavern on Leeson Street as a packed media throng watched Cathy collect her prize.

The party on Wednesday night marked lots of things, including Yawm al watani which is National day in the United Arab Emirates.

Emirates are four years in Ireland and it 30 years since the airline's foundation in Dubai.

Mr Corneille led the celebrations as the airline celebrated on the double this week, picking up two awards in Ireland for Best Business Class and Best Long Haul Airline plus they carried their one millionth customer on their Dublin to Dubai route.

Enda told me that the cargo headed to the sun in Dubai includes Christmas trees to decorate the world famous Atlantis the Palm Hotel plus Irish crisps, tea, potatoes and other Irish 'goodies' for the Irish diaspora in the UAE. Pulling on my racing hat on, I was very interested to hear how, at the end of the month, a very special consignment of Irish thoroughbreds will be boarding an Emirates flight to spend winter in sunny Dubai. The horses will get First Class treatment all the way.

And speaking of fast horses, the following night, I headed out to the Leopardstown race course for a gala party to welcome in the four day Christmas Festival.

There's the Racing Post Day on December 26 followed by Paddy Power Day, The Lexus Chase (Ladies Day), as well as Ryanair Day on New Year's Day.

However, it is Ladies Day that I'm most interested in because, I have the honour, and pleasure, of judging the 'Most Stylish Lady' and when you hear that the prize is a €5,000 stay at the Monart Destination Spa, you know the winter racing style stakes will be keenly contested.

Thursday night saw a host of sports personalities including Rachel Wyse, Willie Mullins, Ruby Walsh, Noel Meade and Bryan Cooper. Pat Keogh, CEO of Leopardstown was a genial host and the evening also saw Leopardstown unveil The Champions, previously known as Fillies Bar. The second phase of works will be unveiled at this year's Christmas festival.

Irish women bring a smile to Gwen's face

By Bairbre Power

It used to be always about perfume under the tree but now the 'p' word has changed to palettes.

Fresh from her success in coming third in Strictly Against Breast Cancer, Roisin Tierney Crowe of L'Oréal Luxury Products hosted a swish party at the Spencer Hotel penthouse for the reveal of the limited-edition Gwen Stefani eyeshadow palette for Urban Decay. The next day, #UDxGWEN was trending on twitter in Ireland

At the party, I caught up with Fair City actress, Jenny Dixon and singer/model Michelle McGrath, fresh from panto rehearsals and heading home to dinner with her beau, Cathal Pendred and their impossibly cute rescue dog, Ringo.

Statuesque Pamela Flood didn't look at all like someone heading into the Coombe hospital later in the week to have her third child.

The former RTE star and her hubbie, Ronan Ryan, have Harrison (4) and daughter, Elsie (2). Pamela said "when people heard I was having baby number three, they asked 'do you not have telly in your house'."

A Christmas tale of two Pauls

By Bairbre Power

Not a man who likes shopping, Ryan Tubridy had a pop on the airwaves this week, complaining about the fragility of the Dunnes Stores shopping bags. He was, it seems, in buying throws (and I betya they were the ones from Paul Costelloe's Living collection which are incredibly luxe.) Anyhoo the paper bags came a cropper and Ryan was not a happy camper.

I missed Paul Costelloe when he was over last week to promote his Richmond jewellery range but I heard him on Ray D'Arcy's show, complaining about celebrities arriving onto the designing scene. He threw Victoria Beckham into the mix but really, he should get over that one. Mrs B has proved her mettle over the last few years.

Indeed her collection continues to be a major attraction at Brown Thomas.

Paul will be back into town next Thursday when Dunnes Stores rolls out its stable of designer stars for a customer evening at its new-look St Stephen's Green store. Among them will be the Queen of copper pots, Helen James and groom-to-be, Paul Galvin, who is three weeks away from saying 'I Do'. To say Paul is excited about the nuptials in Co Mayo is an understatement and his intended, Louise Duffy of Today FM will make the most beautiful bride.

Jennifer's excited about the arrival of 'Baby No 2'

By Kirsty Blake Knox

Straight shooting RTE broadcaster Jen Zamparelli (née Maguire) has another bun in the oven.

But before you start cooing in excitement I should clarify - the 2fm host is not referring to a bouncing babe but her new RTE2 show Bridget and Eamon. What a kook!

"It's my second baby. I think the biggest achievement is that I didn't kill Bernard (O'Shea) while filming it," she said at the 2fm ISPCC Christmas Appeal.

"I've spent more time with Bernard than my husband in the last three months.

"I wanted to kill him but somehow I managed not to batter the head off him - which is impressive."

Jen and her husband Lau will celebrate their first Christmas with their baby daughter Florence.

"We're having 10 people over so no stress," she said. "I don't think she totally gets who Santa is but we'll pretend." In the New Year, Jen plans on packing her bags and jet setting to Abu Dabi with her family. "It'll be nice to have a bit of heat after all the rain," she said.

No kidding.

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