thu 24/10/2019

Ireland

Two Door Cinema Club, O2 Academy, Glasgow - lively but risk averse party songs for the weekend

The onstage arrival of Two Door Cinema Club was heralded by a tongue-in-cheek video countdown that reached zero and then flashed up an error message, before asking the crowd to “try again”. In truth, the band’s own performance was never likely to...

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Blood Wedding, Young Vic review - inventive, poetic if over-stretched revival of Lorca's rural tragedy

Earthiness, lyricism, fatalism, the undeniable force of passion, of ecstatic attraction, known as "duende": these are the familiar ingredients of Lorca's plays set in rural Spain. Blood Wedding, written in 1932, was the first, followed by Yerma two...

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Spotlight on The Troubles: A Secret History, BBC Four review - Ulster's bitter sectarian war revisited

“The Troubles” is a polite euphemism for the ferocious storm of sectarian violence and political chaos which convulsed Northern Ireland for 30 years, before being brought to a close by 1998’s Good Friday Agreement. Irish journalist Darragh MacIntyre...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Isabelle Aboulker, Swan Hennessy, Schubert

 Isabelle Aboulker: Mélodies/Songs en français and in English Julia Kogan (soprano), Isabelle Aboulker (piano) (First Hand Records)Never heard of Isabelle Aboulker? Now in her 80th year, she's worked as a choral director and a singing...

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The Virtues, Episode 4, Channel 4 review - a bitter redemption

Shane Meadows has said that he always wanted to make a film where people didn’t talk. It’s homage to the European cinema he loves, with its preference for atmosphere over action, ambiguity over resolution, but it is also a way to confront an...

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Showbands, BBC Four review - an Irish cultural phenomenon explained

Ask most people what a showband is and they’ll give you a blank look. But ask any Irish person (or those born in the Irish diaspora) who is north of 50 and they will probably look misty-eyed. For between the late 1950s and 1980s showbands were a...

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The Hole in the Ground review - parental horror stays on the surface

Mothers’ fears for and of their children are primal horror material: The Babadook and Under the Shadow set recent standards for exploring its emotional terror. Lee Cronin’s debut, The Hole in the Ground, has similarly profound subtexts in mind, and...

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Black 47 review - a gripping and unusual drama

Even for those with only a passing acquaintance with Irish history, the Famine – or the Great Hunger – looms large, when British indifference to the failed potato crop in large parts of Ireland resulted in the deaths or emigration of nearly a...

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Aristocrats, Donmar Warehouse review - fresh but uneven

Chekhovian is a rather over-used word when it comes to describing some of the late Brian Friel's best work, but you can see why it might apply to Aristocrats, his 1979 play which premiered at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin before becoming a...

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Roderic O’Conor and the Moderns, National Gallery of Ireland review - experiments in Pont-Aven

In the autumn of 1892 Émile Bernard wrote home to his mother that, following the summer decampment to Pont-Aven of artists visiting from Paris and further afield, there remained "some artists here, two of them talented and copying each other. One...

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Brian Friel, the private playwright of Ballybeg

Brian Friel, who died in 2015 at the age of 86, was a shy man who shunned interviews, keeping his powder dry for the work and shrouding his personal life in mystique. Not that he never opened his mouth at all. When Dancing at Lughnasa (1990) was...

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Postcards from the 48% review - wistful memorial to forgotten values

Writer and director David Nicholas Wilkinson felt moved to make his reflective, rather melancholy documentary on the 48% who voted to remain in the EU, he says, because nobody else was making one. When it came to funding the project, not a single...

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