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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: October 8, 2010 @ 12:31 pm

    If you only do one thing this weekend, and the latest from the DTF

    Laurence Mackin

    See: The reviews are coming at you thick and fast now, with plenty to chew through in today’s Arts pages from the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival. Five-star reviews are still thin on the ground, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t thrills a-plenty on offer. Peter Crawley took in Celebration, Harold Pinter’s final play, and was bowled over by performances from Nick Dunning (“marvellously aggressive”) and Ingrid Craigie and Barbara Brennan, who “wage battles in words that are just as brutal” as Dunning’s performance. Wayne Jordan’s staging is “elegant, funny and intriguing”, and blink and you’ll miss the intrigue and vicious comedy of Pinter’s script. One well worth catching before its run ends on Sunday, then.

    Crawley also made it to Internal, the second instalment of Ontroerend Goed’s “intimate trilogy”. Members of the audience are led into “a private booth, where we are offered a drink, a conversation and that most dangerous thing of all, a chance to get comfortable”. Crawley writes that: “No two participants for this devilish, delicious encounter will have the same experience.” Pop along for your own personal slice of theatre, then.

    Ian Kilroy was similarly effusive in his praise for Acts Without Words II, an “outdoor interpretation of Beckett’s minimalist mime and meditation on the human condition”. This is theatre stripped to its bare, uncomfortable bones, based on two homeless characters. “There can be no unnecessary theatrical flourishes when reality, and drama, are stripped so close to the marrow,” writes Kilroy. “Beckett himself would no doubt have approved.”

    How many Chilean actors does it take to change a lightbulb?

    Finally, Helen Meany was dispatched to Diciembre, a Chilean production set in a near-future vision of a war-torn Santiago, written and directed by Guillermo Calderón. Black humour gives way to even darker diversions, in a controlled production whose tension is broken by the arrival of a drunken aunt. If the full significance of the play might prove elusive for European audiences, Meany says they will certainly recognise the “universal and undeniably powerful themes”.

    You can read all these reviews in full, and plenty more theatrical carry on, here.

    Listen: Last weekend, with the maelstrom of the Theatre Festival at our backs, and Offset plucking at our sleeves, we made something of a passing clerical error and though that we were going to have to try and squeeze in the Hard Working Class Heroes (HWCH) festival as well. Oh the embarrassment. So, here’s what we reckon is worth catching at this most rock’n’roll of festivals. And yes, this time we have got our dates right.

    Last year’s HWCH was an absolute blast and had us wondering why we can’t do this every weekend: one ticket gets you into a slew of venues around town, and unlike every other festival, there’s no mud under your feet, you don’t have to sleep in a tent, and the bar is warm and cosy. Our own version of SXSW? You better believe it. You’re spoiled for choice with this roster of acts, but may we recommend Sweet Jane, The Cast of Cheers, Holy Roman Army and young upstarts Kid Karate? And for the love of jeebus, if you play in a band or want to work in the music business, check out the industry panel discussions being organised by our very own Jim Carroll at On the Record. An illuminating time is guaranteed.

    See: There’s a neat double-hander up at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Imma) at the moment. One exhibition celebrates 50 years of the work of the Graphic Studio in Dublin. The work of John Kindness is a particularly good example of what has made the studio so popular over the years. Also in Kilmainham is a collection of post-second World War American art, which was recently donated to the museum by art historian Barbara Novak and artist Brian O’Doherty. These should go some way towards whetting your artistic appetite for Imma’s imminent The Moderns exhibition.

    And for something to watch on your small screens, here is the first part of the hilarious and intriguing Helmut by June, where the iconic photographer Helmut Newton discusses a life spent taking astounding pictures of beautiful women with his wife behind the camera. It’s a tough job but someone had to do it, eh?

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