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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: April 12, 2012 @ 11:39 pm

    If you only do one thing this weekend … play with A Doll House

    Laurence Mackin

    Theatre: Pan Pan has a reputation for ripping classics apart at the seams and stitching them back together with a fresh, internal logic, and A Doll House, the Henrik Ibsen classic now playing at the Smock Alley Theatre, is no exception. The production eschews the easy narrative parallels of dodgy bankers, unpaid debts and the like to focus on the human edge of the story, and the facets that made it such a shocking production when it barrelled its way into 19th-century life. The production is perhaps most famous for its iconic slamming-door scene, as Nora, the lead character, abandons her family and easy life of domesticity, and heads out into the unknown. Does Pan Pan keep the iconic scene or strip it out in favour of something even more controversial? You could watch this video interview with Pan Pan director Gavin Quinn for a few clues.

    An added bonus of the show is you get first dibs on the newly renovated Smock Alley, a small intimate space that lets you get within breathing distance of the actors. This is a terrific addition to the Dublin theatrical scene and a wonderful fresh lease of life for Ireland’s oldest theatre.

    Collect: A few weeks ago I found myself in a jazz club in Porto that had a shop selling all manner of odd books, comics and small bits of furniture and curios. It was a dangerous combination at 2am when that weird bit of woodwork suddenly became a must-have item. (Cheap cocktails may have played a part.) Whelan’s could give it a run for its money this Saturday when the bar and venue opens its doors during the day for its regular Record Fair. Have a pint, browse the CDs, cassettes (for the love of Jesus, why?), vinyl and who knows, cartridges on offer. Let the (tipsy) buyer beware.

    Music: check out the album launch of The Brutal Here and Now, by the excellent Spook of the 13th Lock tomorrow (Friday) in Whelan’s. This fine, slightly enigmatic band of cracking musicians are back on the road, and they keep the show rolling in the Bridge Brook Arms in Kilkenny on Saturday night.

    Jazz: A band with a difference, you say? Then head for the People’s Republic on Sunday for the Neil Cowley Trio, who will be ripping it up in the Triskel Arts centre. The band play dynamic off-kilter sets, somewhat in the vein of The Bad Plus, and Cowley has a reputation for entertaining as much with his banter as with his tunes. But this isn’t purely all show and no chops – in 2007, Cowley won the BBC Jazz Award for his album Displaced and as a teenager he was cutting his teeth on big-name tours with the likes of Zero 7, Gabrielle and Brand New Heavies. Oh, and he’s also the chap behind the keys on Rolling in the Deep by Adele. Mechanical royalties, you say? Don’t mind if I do.

    Here’s a sampler of what to expect.

    • JOD says:

      Love the fact that the album is all about how the Irish, shocked and traumatised into some sort of National Stockholm Syndrome, have time and again been manipulated tortured and robbed be it by Cromwell or by later Imperiums such as that which Roger Casement opposed having once been its servant or as in today: the biggest heist of all time ever perpetrated upon a once-sovereign once-independent nation and nary a shot fired. (Yet). Looking forward to getting my copy of the CD.


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