sun 05/04/2020

Ireland

Brendan Cleary, Great Eastern, Brighton review – last orders

St. Patrick’s Day, and socialising itself, has been all but cancelled. But turn the rickety door-handle of a bohemian pub near Brighton station, and a poignant scene is unfolding. The Irish poet Brendan Cleary’s reading has been officially called...

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Calm with Horses review - a stirring debut

Nick Rowland marks his breakout from TV drama with this very competent feature, an adaptation of Colin Barrett’s short story. Set in a bleak, rural Ireland, Cosmo Jarvis plays Arm, an ex-boxer with an estranged girlfriend, a non-verbal,...

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On Blueberry Hill, Trafalgar Studios review - superb acting, specious plot

Some wondrous acting is sacrificed on the altar of an increasingly wonky plot in On Blueberry Hill, the first play in 10 years from Sebastian Barry, the Irish playwright and novelist whose onetime Royal Court entry The Steward of Christendom...

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Album: The Boomtown Rats - Citizens of Boomtown

The new Boomtown Rats album – their first for 36 years! – is both preposterous and rather wonderful. This is as it should be. The Irish band surfed the so-called “New Wave” after punk rock to brief chart-topping stardom. They had some cracking...

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Imagining Ireland, Barbican review - raising women's voices

Recent politics surround the EU and nationhood, fantasies of Irish Sea bridges and trading borders more porous than limestone have revived the granular rub between Eire and Britain, and the Celtic Tiger cool of the Nineties is a history module these...

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Michael Keegan-Dolan, MÁM, Sadler's Wells review - folk goes radical

The Dingle Peninsula is a thumb of land that protrudes into the Atlantic as if trying to hitch a ride from Ireland to America. The choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan recently moved there, and its crags and vales and unspoilt coast have sucked him...

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Collapsible, Bush Theatre review - a high-wire solo engagement

There’s such remarkable symbiosis between material and performance in Irish dramatist Margaret Perry’s Collapsible that you wonder how the hour-long monologue will fare in any future incarnation. I don’t know how much Perry had the performer...

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On McQuillan's Hill, Finborough Theatre review - timely glance at Northern Irish myths and tensions

The news that the Continuity IRA created a bomb destined for England on Brexit Day has added to the timeliness of this revival of Joseph Crilly’s gut-punching comedy. Set in the aftermath of the Good Friday Agreement, it takes a merciless glance at...

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Eimear McBride: Strange Hotel review - keycards to the heart of a woman in flight

Hotels in fiction can serve as places of desolation or discovery; as escape hatches, or else punishment blocks. In her third novel, Eimear McBride channels this ambivalence but annexes it to another sub-genre - the narrative of life on the road,...

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Asking For It, Birmingham Repertory Theatre review - victim-blaming and abuse in small town Ireland

In a world where the contentious report of a young English woman gang raped by teenage boys in Cyprus last year continues to make headlines, Asking For It is more than relevant. Such scenarios are by no means new but are once again making news...

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Alice's Adventures Under Ground, Royal Opera review - a blast for children of all ages

"About as much fun as you can have with your clothes on," promised a member of the two Royal Opera casts teamworking their way through multiple roles and costume changes for what in effect is Alice's Adventures Under Ground and Through the Looking...

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How They Built the Titanic, Channel 5 review - the great liner revisited again, but why now?

The appalling fate of the allegedly unsinkable liner Titanic in 1912 has fuelled endless feature films and documentaries, not to mention a dismal drama series by Julian Fellowes (there was also a proposed Titanic II vessel which would have been...

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