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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: April 5, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

    If you only do one thing this weekend … give Funderland a whirl

    Laurence Mackin

    Musical: It is the most eagerly anticipated show of the year, the first musical produced in the Abbey for more than 20 years, a production of ambition, techno-colour, cutting wit, with a standout cast and a chorusful of complex musical numbers, running on the pure, glittery fumes of Thisispopbaby, perhaps the most creative theatrical company in the business. And just because everyone says Alice in Funderland is superb, that doesn’t mean it isn’t. This is sublime nonsense played with total commitment in a show that it is impossible to be un-entertained by. Just go. And bring your mother. I think I’ve used up this week’s quota of double-negatives already.

    Where is it, love? Funderland, ye? Sound.

    Theatre: Game of Thrones is some of the best television currently on our screens, thanks, in no small part, to Jack Gleeson, who plays Joffrey Baratheon, a character with absolutely no redeeming characteristics whatsoever. Sadistic, whiny and with a sneer you would never get tired of punching, Baratheon is there purely to be hated. But keep your ire for the small screen, as Jack Gleeson is currently playing a very different character in Monster/Clock at Smock Alley Theatre. This musical comedy (there’s a few of them knocking about) tells the story of Toby, a castigated monster and apprentice watchmaker driven out of his beloved workshop and into the wild steampunk world. Una Mullally reckons the production is “wise beyond its years. Brisk, smart and immersive, Monster/Clock could travel as far as the adventures that lie within it.” She reviews it in tomorrow’s arts pages.

    Punch. Me.

    Puppets: Okay, one more show and then we’re done. Avenue Q is one of the funniest and most obscene puppet shows there is. It’s hilariously clever (and again, there are songs involved) and taps up its precursor Sesame Street for inspiration with all the respect it deserves, while Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx take on sexuality, racism and pointless university education with style and bite. It’s at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre until Saturday.

    Film: This weekend is as good as any to get your foreign film on, with a particularly rich offering in our smaller cinemas. The IFI has both Headhunters and Le Havre on screens. The latter comes from Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki, and takes the drab French port town as its setting, but you can reasonably expect this to be as charming as a Frenchman playing the piano.

    If you like your films more on the thriller side, check out Headhunters, a Norwegian production, based on a Jo Nesbo novel that follows the story of Roger, who works in recruitment and has a nice sideline in art theft. Don’t we all, sir, don’t we all. Check tomorrow’s Ticket for full reviews of these films from people who, unlike me, actually know what they are talking about.

    Both these films are at the Light House in Dublin’s Smithfield, which is also still showing Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, which I’ve mentioned before and is as sublime a film experience as you are likely to have this year.

    Tiny festival: A micro music festival in a tiny space? Sign us up. This weekend you can go Beyond the Bookshelf to a new independent music mini festival in Temple Bar’s New Theatre, which is hiding at the back of Connolly’s bookshop. On the roster tonight is Duke Special, with the Restless Consumers and Niall Thomas. On Friday, Si Schroeder and mates will be wrecking the gaff, before musical stalwarts The Pale show it who is boss on Saturday. €12 a night. What more could you want. Click here for more info.

    Now that’s your lot so sling your hook. The sun is probably shining outside.

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