Review: The 5-Year Engagement

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The opening of this film is where many other rom-coms would often be finishing things up: at the wonderfully awkward yet heartfelt proposal scene, with a few laughs here and there, but the prime focus being on the romance. This pretty much sets the tone for Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel’s newest collaboration, after proving themselves a formidable duo with the hilarious Forgetting Sarah Marshall and last year’s glorious Muppets revival.  You may have heard this film described as the movie that turns the whole concept of the romantic-comedy on it’s head. While it’s not exactly a game-changer, it’s an incredibly refreshing take on the genre, and in my opinion definitely the most ‘realistic’ of these type of films I’ve seen since 500 Days of Summer.   The 5 Year Engagement  focuses on the extremely rocky road that couple Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) take on their way … There’s more

Film Review: The Iron Lady – I want to see the extended edition

Wonderfully melodramatic, magnificently performed, tender and touching – I can’t wait for part 2. Except, there won’t be one. Phyllida Lloyd‘s The Iron Lady, with Meryl Streep in the roll of political giant Margaret Thatcher, is an unfinished film. It’s an openly emotional look at the personal life of the colossus, but it barely glances at her long and often (if not always) tumultuous political journey. We begin with an aged and frail Maggie buying milk in her local newsagent. We slowly discover that she has escaped from her care worker for the morning; we learn that she still sees and talks to her long dead husband, Denis (played by Brit stalwart, Jim Broadbent); we learn that she is often confused and dazed and is now looking back over her life. This is the story of Thatcher’s personal life, from being inspired by her father to her meeting the young … There’s more

The Comedy Interview: Neil Curran

Neil Curran is 1/7th of the Laughalot Improv Group that are currently causing a storm in Dublin. He is also chairman and founder of NoDrama amateur drama group. I caught up with him before Laughalot’s recent resident gig in the Duke Pub to chat about the beginnings of Laughalot and improv in Ireland in general. Tell me about the Laughalot Improv Group? How did it form? Well Laughalot is a subsidiary of NoDrama Theatre group. NoDrama is an amateur drama group which I formed because I realised there were limited opportunities in Ireland for these types of groups. I asked around and went on various websites including Boards.ie and someone on there suggested I start my own group so I did and NoDrama was born. It’s something I have a big passion for. Do you have an acting/comedy background? Yes, there is a lot of acting in my background with … There’s more

The East Pier at the Abbey Theatre

Jean and Kevin knew each other way back when. You can tell. You just know that they knew each other at some point – but not any more. It takes a while to figure it out, for them to actually get through the small talk and get to the real reason that they know each other. The East Pier opens on a large hall with a dreadful patterned carpet, piled up chairs, a dusty oul chandelier, an abandoned vaccuum cleaner and a general sense of neglect. Kevin (Don Wycherley) enters first, he is looking for someone, searching inside and out, nervous, twitchy and eventually he settles a little until Jean (Andrea Irvine) arrives. Once together – they have clearly arranged to meet here – they dance around each other. Talking around each other, how’ve you been? Kids? Married? How are your parents? Oh I met Billy Williams recently, remember him?

Summer Drama for Kids – 2 Week Drama Camps in Galway

Galway actor Sarah O’Toole will be running her popular kids’ drama programme this July. First camp starts week of July 5th and runs for 2 weeks meeting on Tuesdays Wednesdays and Thursdays. Venue is Anno Santo Hotel, Salthill, Galway. Second Camp starts week of July 19th and runs for 2 weeks meeting on Tuesdays Wednesdays and Thursdays. Venue TBC. Two different age groups – 10-12 year olds – classes take place from 11.00am to 2.00pm 12-14 year olds – classes take place from 3.00pm to 6.00pm Price: €120 per 2 week camp (18 hours quality tuition) For any enquiries or to book a place call 087 237 3531. As there are only 12 places available to ensure quality tuition, it is advised to book as soon as possible! Fee payable in advance or on first session. Tutor is an experienced teacher and theatre practitioner with a Masters in Theatre Directing.

STRIKE!

Way back in 1984 in a very different Dublin to the one we know today, something happened. A small incident that grew and grew until it was making world news. In July 1984 a supermarket worker in a shop on Henry Street refused to sell some bananas to a customer. No big deal you might think but the reason she refused was because the bananas were from South Africa where citizens were still under apartheid. The worker was suspended and 10 of her co-workers went on strike in sympathy with her, refusing to come back until the store stopped selling South African produce. A play has now been produced, aptly called simply STRIKE! and will be performed in the Samuel Beckett Theatre in Trinity College from 25-29 May next week. The play will use visuals and music of the time (woo 80s music!) to tell the story of these young … There’s more

Bookworms at the Abbey Theatre

Bookworms is a new play by playwright Bernard Farrell coming to the Abbey Theatre in June. It is centred around an all-female book club and their decision to allow men join them for a change-they invite their husbands to join them one evening. Their daily lives spill over into the opinions of the book, suspicions are roused and it sounds like all hell might just break loose! In particular Larry, an out-of-work builder, and Robert, a banker, are struggling. Farrell is an incredibly accomplished writer-he’s won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, The Sunday Tribune Comedy of the Year Award, the Best Irish Production Award in the 1996 Dublin Theatre Festival and, in 1998, Kevin’s Bed was nominated as best Irish Play in the Irish Times/ESB Theatre Awards. He is a member of Aosdána, was Writer-in-Association with the Abbey Theatre and from 1997 to 2004, served on the Board of … There’s more

International Gay Theatre Festival

Yes I know, I know, I already posted about the Absolut Gay Theatre Festival – but guess what? There are two Dublin gay theatre festivals on at the same time every year. No doubt there is a complicated and interesting back story to that one so if anyone would like to enlighten me, please do The International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival (IDGTF) is in it’s seventh year having first debuted in summer 2004 to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Oscar Wilde. The festival celebrates the contributions of gay people to theatre, past and present with performances and shows with broadly gay themes, relevance or by gay writers. Slightly less expensive than the other festival, tickets for IDGTF performances range in price from €8-€15 in venues such as The Teachers Club on Parnell Square, The Complex on Smithfield Square, James Joyce Centre and The Cobalt Café, both on … There’s more

ABSOLUT Gay Theatre Festival

It is that time of year again already and the ABSOLUT Gay Theatre Festival is upon us. The festival is taking place in Dublin from 3 to 16 May in various venues around the city – Break For The Border, The Boys School at Smock Alley, Studio Theatre at Smock Alley, The New Theatre, The Button Factory and The George. The festival will feature the UK’s top gay musical comedy duo act TOPPING & BUTCH in their current show ‘Filth!’ as one of the highlights. Another highlight – BARBARA & LIZA – Steve Brinberg apparently does a breath taking Barbara Streisand – so much so that he has been requested to perform on occasion by the woman herself. Accompanying Steve is Rick Skye doing Liza Minelli. If what I read is to be believed we can expect “outstanding musical performances, fine-writing, comedy, characterizations, prolific gossip and spine-tingling vocal mastery”. There … There’s more

The Picture of Dorian Gray – An Afternoon Tryst

The Picture of Dorian Gray Bewley’s Tea Rooms – 15th April – 1st May 2010 The tea-room was filled with the rich odour of brewing coffee, and when the light spring sun cast it’s gentle rays across the  spanning windows the dim roar of Grafton Street was no more than the bourdon note of a distant organ. No, you haven’t fallen into a decadent drawing room circa 1890 but an afternoon of delicious temptation with a production of Oscar Wilde’s masterpiece, The Picture of Dorian Gray. “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.” Wonderland Productions, in association with  Dublin One City One Book present afternoon tea with a Wilde twist in the James Joyce Tea Rooms in Bewley’s, Grafton Street.  Acted and narrated by Lord Henry (Simon Coury), Basil (Michael James Ford) and Dorian (Michael Winder) the play is intimate and thoroughly charming. … There’s more

Arsenic and Old Lace

Coolmine Dramatic Society put on a performance of Arsenic and Old Lace last week at the Draíocht Theatre in Blanchardstown. A movie originally made in 1944 and starring Cary Grant, Arsenic and Old Lace is set in Brooklyn, New York in 1941. It centres on the home of two sweet old ladies who live with two nephews. But it seems the sweet little ladies have gone a step too far in trying to be helpful-they have taken to killing off any lonely elderly gentlemen who call to their house looking to rent a room-for their own good! “One of the best madcap screwball black comedies ever, this classic Broadway hit introduces the sweet, elderly Brewster sisters, their nephew Teddy, who believes himself to be Teddy Roosevelt, and their drama critic nephew Mortimer (played by Cary Grant in the famous movie version), who is as surprised as anyone to learn that … There’s more

The Seafarer at the Abbey Theatre

Wednesday night, with thanks to David McCadden at the Abbey I was lucky enough to see The Seafarer in the Abbey Theatre. It’s Christmas Eve and Sharky has returned to Dublin to look after his irascible, ageing brother who’s recently gone blind. Old drinking buddies Ivan and Nicky are holed up at the house too, hoping to play some cards. With the arrival of a stranger from the distant past, the stakes are raised ever higher. In fact, Sharky may be playing for his very soul… In the midst of this raucous tale of drinking, craic and card playing, there is a tender story of a family, and of redemption. So, pull up a chair alongside Sharky, Nicky, Ivan and co and enjoy a great story, well told. The Seafarer takes place in the home of Richie on Christmas Eve. His brother Sharky, played by the talented Liam Carney, as … There’s more

Accidental Death of an Anarchist: review

Devious Theatre put on a run of Dario Fo’s ‘Accidental Death of an Anarchist’ this past weekend in Kilkenny’s new Set Theatre. It was my first time to be inside the Set Theatre so I was looking forward to seeing that as much as seeing the play. And I wasn’t disappointed with either one The stage was small and intimate, the set an office environment which was the office of Inspector Bertozzo (played by John Morton) on the second floor of the police headquarters in Milan, Italy and later transformed into the office of Inspector Pisani (Alan Butler) in the same building on the fourth floor.

Fantasy Teen US Drama

If you had to pick your own fantasy cast of a teen US drama, who would make the short list? Here’s what I’d go for: The hot, rich and troubled leading lady Serena van der Woodsen.  Unlike your average melodramatic teen heroine, Serena most of the time ends up in trouble while trying to do good so she’s not as annoying as the standard drama queen rich girl.  Apart from her bodily and wardrobe aesthetics, her hair is a product of the divine. I could watch it for hours. The hot, not so rich and/or troubled leading man This is a tough one. Dan Humphrey is too much of a prejudiced inverse snob, Lucas Scott was too much up his own arse and don’t even get me started on Ryan Atwood, so I’ve gone back in time to the downtown, boy next door, nice-guy Brandon Walsh. The Wing Man The … There’s more

Terminus: review

Last night I was very lucky to be able to attend the opening night of Terminus, written and directed by Mark O’Rowe, in the Peacock Theatre. Thank you to David McCadden of The Abbey Theatre for arranging the tickets Darren and Lottie were also able to attend so I look forward to their reviews, but for now here’s mine Terminus is a vivid, imaginative, fast-paced, heart-breaking, inspiring, award-winning piece of theatre. I know that’s a lot of adjectives but if you can’t keep up with those few you’d never be able to keep up with the, at times, break-neck speed of monologues in Terminus.