thu 18/07/2024

Ireland

Album: Aoife Nessa Frances - Protector

There’s a song by Kevin Ayers called “The Lady Rachel”. It was on his 1969 debut solo LP Joy Of A Toy. Play it alongside “This Still Life”, the second track on the second album from Ireland’s Aoife Nessa Frances and the aesthetic kinship is clear....

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The Banshees of Inisherin review - stellar turns from Brendan Gleason and Colin Farrell

Previous works by screenwriter-director Martin McDonagh, which include In Bruges and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, might give you an inkling of the perverse and tantalising mindset that lies behind The Banshees of Inisherin… but then...

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Walking with Ghosts, Apollo Theatre review - a beguiling Gabriel Byrne opens up

Gabriel Byrne is not a typical film star. From his breakthrough as the lustful and doomed Uther Pendragon in Excalibur, via his iconic Prohibition-era gangster in the Coen brothers’ Miller’s Crossing and the wickedly twisty ...

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theartsdesk at the Kilkenny Arts Festival 2022 - a safe space to reflect on horrors

Essay-writing can be a great art, at least when executed by Hubert Butler of Kilkenny, on a par - whether you know his writing or not, and you should – with Bacon, Swift and Orwell. The same goes for speechifying. That level I witnessed, at the...

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Prom 17, Walshe, Tsallagova, Shenyang, NYC, BBCSSO, Volkov review - the sublime and the (enjoyably) ridiculous

The giraffe still baffles me. This model beast appeared stage right at the Royal Albert Hall during Jennifer Walshe’s The Site of an Investigation, only to be loudly wrapped by a pair of percussionists and then removed. A critique of mindless...

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Album: James Vincent McMorrow - The Less I Knew

An artist with a myriad of strings to his bow – gifted wordsmith, multi-instrumentalist, captivating storyteller – what enables James Vincent McMorrow’s singularly personal songs to take flight is the fact that he’s also a supreme melodist.The Less...

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Maria Stuarda, Irish National Opera review – two queens sing for the crown, with spectacular results

You don’t plan a production of a Donizetti opera without having top voices in mind. For what, after all, is his simplification of Schiller’s Mary Stuart but bel canto business as usual with a bit of high drama attached? Internationally celebrated...

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Orfeo ed Euridice, Blackwater Valley Opera Festival review - heavenly possibilities, devils at work in the details

"Elysian" is the best way to describe the dream gardens of Ireland's Lismore Castle in early June: lupins, alliums and peonies rampant in endless herbaceous borders, supernatural perspectives towards the main building on various levels. This year’s...

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The Quiet Girl review - finding a home away from home

The Quiet Girl is adapted faithfully from Claire Keegan’s wonderful short story, Foster, first published in the New Yorker magazine in 2010 and then expanded into a novella.Much of the dialogue in Colm Bairéad’s beautiful, mainly Irish-language film...

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Album: Fontaines DC – Skinty Fia

Incanting, declaiming, and growling, as if actual singing might prettify the Fontaines DC’s post-punk dirges, Grian Chatten has never sounded more aggrieved than he does on the Irish combo’s third album. Disarmingly, he also sounds younger on Skinty...

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Blu-ray: The Gentle Gunman

Ealing Studios’ output encompassed much more than comedy, though a viewing of 1952’s The Gentle Gunman suggests that political drama wasn't one of their strengths.Based on a play by Alexander McKendrick’s cousin Roger MacDougall, and directed by...

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Holding, ITV review - Graham Norton’s novel moves seamlessly to the small screen

The terrain Holding occupies is well travelled, but this new ITV four-part drama travels over it really well. The landmarks are familiar: a quiet rural community, a cop with an unhealthy lifestyle and a secret sorrow, a feud between rival lovers of...

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