HBO’s must-see series is more evidence that philosophical pessimism grows in appeal during downbeat times

Siobhán McCarthy and Killian Donnelly as Irene and Jackie Day in “Donegal” by Frank McGuinness which is having its premiere  as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival. Photograph: Peter Rowen

Frank McGuinness’s sprawling new ‘play with songs’ does not always hit the high notes

 Dario Fo on the stage in a Milan theatre in 1997: “I was born politicised.”

The Italian actor, director and dramatist never shied away from confrontation – from the Vatican to Berlusconi

List for life: Jonny Donahoe in Every Brilliant Thing. Photograph: Richard Davenport

In Duncan Macmillan’s charming play, the audience helps compile a list of things that make life worth living

Eddie Kay in The Circus Animals’ Desertion by Brokentalkers which is running in the Samuel Beckett Theatre as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival. Photograph: Keith Dixon Photography

Brokentalkers’ surreal piece of dance theatre takes WB Yeats at his word

The Seagull gathers an excellent ensemble

In Corn Exchange’s witty and absorbing new version, set in contemporary Ireland, the feathers fly again

Guerilla by El Conde de Torrefiel at the Dublin Theatre Festival. Photograph: Titanne Bregentzer

Behind the outwardly peaceable or noisy crowd scenes in this dystopian fantasy, there are wars waiting to erupt

Helen and |, by Meadhbh McHugh, which illustrates the role of subjectivity in theatre. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

Consider Friel’s plays and you realise what happens on stage can be acutely subjective   

A haunting experience: Daniel Monaghan in ‘These Rooms’ by Anú and CoisCéim Dance Theatre, at  85/86 Upper Dorset Street,  as part of Dublin Theatre Festival. Photograph: Pat Redmond

Dublin Theatre Festival: Time stands still in Anu and CoisCéim’s thrillingly immersive co-production, where the unresolved trauma(...)

Asking for discipline in the dramaturgy may be beside the point: ideas and expressions have been pointedly herded together.

Dublin Theatre Festival: Ideas flock together in visual artist and shepherd Orla Barry new performance piece

Harry Jardine in A Midsummer Night’s Dream , at Bord Gais Energy Theatre  as part of Dublin Theatre Festival

Dublin Theatre Festival: Shakespeare’s comedy of transformation and desire meets the raucous energy of an outdoor music festival i(...)

Bristling sincerity: Oisín McKenna in Gays against the Free State!

The anarchic clatter of agit-prop has many things to say about the position of LGBT people in Irish society...

Druid ’s new production of Martin McDonagh’s 1996 play, where violence is best kept in the family, has Marie Mullen, originally th(...)

Meticulously composed cabaret: RIOT, at the Spiegeltent until September 25th

RIOT - Can a great night out also count as a political act?

Martin McDonagh: “Part of the rage was just being unemployed and poor. I’m not those things any more. But I do get just as angry when I see a bad play. Because I feel like it’s so easy not to do that.” Photograph: Eric Luke

After 20 years Druid Theatre Company is reviving ‘The Beauty Queen of Leenane’. Here its creator looks back

When in Rome: Aoife Leonard as Dido in Collapsing Horse’s production of Virgil’s Aeneid

The festival continues with an ebullient take on an epic and unsettling dance theatre

Fiona Bell and Owen Roe in The Father at the Gate Theatre

In this empathetic and slippery production, as his confusion grows, so does ours

’I’  could be anyone: Rebecca O’Mara as Lynn, Paul Hickey as Tony and Cathy Belton as Helen in Druid’s production of Meadhbh McHugh’s ‘Helen and I’. Photograph:  Ros Kavanagh

McHugh has a skilled hand for creating mood, sly dialogue and psychological excavation, but seems less concerned with the mechanic(...)

Empathy is like a tanning bed: This Beach, at the Project Arts Centre

The opening weekend of the Fringe festival bursts into life with disturbing future visions and exhilarating burlesque

Riot, with Dr Panti Bliss: already breaking box-office records

From Panti Bliss and Hot Brown Honey to The Vaudevillians, here’s what you might pick

Picture of health: Keeping Ireland Alive – The Irish Health Service in a Day

Television review: ‘Keeping Ireland Alive: The Irish Health Service in a Day, ‘Victoria’ and season two of ‘Narcos’

 Stacey Gregg won the 2015 Irish Times Theatre Award for Best New Play. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

Work, inspired by UK case, was written from perspective of a gender curious teenager

Paul Meade as Henry Higginsand Anna Sheils-McNamee as Eliza Doolittle. Photograph: Futoshi Sakauchi

Shaw’s classic is Frankenstein with better elocution and a bit more screaming

Arch: Grayson Perry’s This Pot Will Reduce Crime by 29% was a reductio ad absurdum of the embrace of culture with conditions attached. Photograph: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty

With the advent of state subsidy, it isn’t unreasonable that arts and culture might account for themselves – but how?

The Get Down: Netflix’s most expensive series yet

Baz Luhrmann breaks the bank with $10m an episode in Netflix’s hip-hop odyssey, while John Oliver has the last word

Members of the cast of the Abbey Theatre in Frank McGuinness play. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

An excellent cast serve Frank McGuinness’s play well, but the direction is never allowed an open attack on at its battlelines

Martyn Irvine in Road to Rio

TV review: ‘Road to Rio’, ‘Great American Railroad Journeys’, ‘How to Win the US Presidency’

A Spanish-born Eurosceptic and Brexit champion, Michael Portillo is not  looking for the true history and legacy of the locomotive America but a more elusive ideal of England, one that has gone firmly off the rails.

Michael Portillo is chasing his Brit-centric idea of the US, while Cal Saville’s plan for taking the Oval Office is all slogan and(...)

Adam Abbou in Billy Elliott the Musical

Never mind the political quality in this West End production, feel the mega musical width

Willie White, Director of the Dublin Theatre Festival, pictured in the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

“It’s all about forward momentum,” says artistic director Willie White

Stephen Colbert: “I know I’m not supposed to be up here, but neither is Donald Trump.” Photograph: Getty

Even Stephen Colbert struggled to land a comedy blow at this week's Republican Party convention

A superb cast play by their own rules in this entertaining school-days adventure

Olwen Fouéré and Raymond Scannell. Photograph: Andrew Downes/Xposure

This adaptation of José Saramago’s novel treats death as merely a narcissistic threat to the individual

No over 22s allowed: festival goers listen to Adultrock at the Red Bull Woodlands arena at Longitude. Photograph: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Festival day three characterised more by guitar music than fresh beats and rhymes

Eelco Smits in Song from Far Away. Photograph: Jan Versweyveld

Ivo van Hove directs Eelco Smits as a lost soul in this moving one-man show by Simon Stephens

Waiting for Godot: directed with vigour and heart by Garry Hynes

Druid Theatre’s production of the Beckett classic is exceptional and miraculous

Hugh O’Conor in Arlington [a love story], a new play by Enda Walsh.  Photograph:   Patrick Redmond

Enda Walsh’s despairing and dystopian work is a play woven from grief

Ivo van Hove. Photograph: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Ahead of a visit to Galway, the Belgian director reveals his vision for theatre, his admiration for Ronan and why he insists that (...)

Want to know what can happen when different cultures encounter one another? Try an immersion course in the French arts world. Seve(...)

Anita Reeves as Mrs O’Kelly and Jamine Russell as Moya in The Shaughraun in 2004. Photograph:  Kip Carroll

Friends pay tribute to the actress, best known for her extensive theatre work and film roles including The Butcher Boy and Adam a(...)

Hugh O’Conor. Photograph:  Andrew H Walker/Getty Images

The actor talks about observing and to being observed, child acting and his role in Enda Walsh’s new play

The frustration is almost tantric in this new production of Tennessee Williams' play

The cast of The Wake by Tom Murphy, directed by Annabelle Comyn.

This reprisal of Tom Murphy’s meticulous play is the Abbey’s best show in years

Tara Egan Langley and Caoimhe O’Malley in The Constant Wife

The comedy is not a challenge to the status quo, but instead has a sociopathic indifference towards anything: love, betrayal or e(...)

“This [the Irish] is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever” – Freud never said it. Never wrote it. Almost certainly didn’t even think it

How information cascades from memes into memories, crushing fact checkers

Sonia Hughes in On Corporation Street. Photograph: Graeme Cooper

The theatre company’s latest show explores the legacy of the Manchester bombing

Michael Colgan: he has forged indelible associations between the Gate and the works of Beckett, Friel and Pinter and  boosted the careers of Conor McPherson, Selina Cartmell and Wayne Jordan. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Colgan has had towering successes but he leaves as subsidies and attendance dwindle

Tommy Wallace, Gerard McCabe, Jo Donnelly, Kerri Quinn, Michael Condron, Gavin Peden, James Doran and Roisin Gallagher in Smiley at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast until July 2nd

A five-a-side team get caught up in a dodgy heist in Gary Mitchell’s undemanding football-cum-caper comedy

Barbara Brennan (Ellen) and Conall Keating (Will) in Town is Dead by Phillip McMahon and Raymond Scannell. Photograph:  Ros Kavanagh

Phillip McMahon's new collaborative work is `a play within music' that looks to celebrate the unsung heroes among us all

On trial: the poet Maung Saungkha is in court this week in Myanmar for a verse he posted online about having a tattoo of the president on his penis. He has spent six months in prison so far

Artists are in a unique position to make their voices heard – although, like the poet Maung Saungkha and the comedian Jan Böhmerma(...)

The staging of this Abbey production is adventurous, but the production as a whole errs on the side of the traditional

Gwen Taylor as Daisy Werthan and Ernest Perry jnr as Hoke Colburn

There are few bumps in the road during this warm but slight journey

Amilia Stewart as Cass in Inhabitance

Glass Doll’s new show asks what effect does reality TV have on real life

Disco Pigs: Eileen Walsh and Cillian Murphy re-enact their birth in Enda Walsh’s play. Photograph: Martin Healy

Twenty years later, Cillian Murphy, Eileen Walsh, Enda Walsh and Pat Kiernan talk about Corcadorca and the hit play that changed e(...)

Sophie Robinson, Mark Huberman, Fiona Bell and Denis Conway in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf at the Gate Theatre. Photo by Pat Redmond.

Audiences are likely to be lacerated in the crossfire of this explosive revival

Shakespeare, like sex, apparently sells: William Shakespeare in the Chandos portrait, from circa 1600-1610

Is the Bard, who died 400 years ago this weekend, on April 23rd, 1616, really the greatest playwright to have lived – or have we b(...)

To be, or not to be?: Hamlet’s soliloquy in the first folio of William Shakespeare’s plays, from 1623. Photograph: John D McHugh/AFP/Getty

Dogs of war, wild-goose chases, salad days: William Shakespeare, who died 400 years ago this weekend, on April 23rd, 1616, coined (...)

Andrew Connolly (Paddy) and Hilda Fay (Tina) in Tina’s Idea of Fun. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

This production seems unsure whether to treat Sean P Summers’s new play as political allegory or carnival

Pan Pan’s Cascando, by Samuel BEckett. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

Pan Pan’s new production of Cascando is a journey through the labyrinth of the mind - and a fascinating lens through which to see (...)

Sean McLoughlin plays a superbly wired Craig Connolly, the Commandant General of the Irish Republic

Anu’s latest performance traces a legacy of violence against civilians, from Moore Street barricades to modern-day terrorism. Wil(...)

From left, Robbie O’Connor and Darragh Kelly; Richard Clements and Eleanor Methven; and Charlotte McCurry and Ali White in Northern Star. Photographs: Keith Dixon

Productions of Stewart Parker plays have been among the biggest successes of his niece Lynne Parker’s career. For her latest tilt (...)

Making a Murderer: it’s now impossible to see the initial news story about Teresa Halbach’s murder, of which Steven Avery was found guilty, as anything other than a fiction. Photograph: Netflix

From the Teresa Halbach case in ‘Making a Murderer’ to the Australian scammer Samantha Azzopardi, it’s easy to be duped

Fregoli chase one performance style with another, but when it settles, it’s an intriguing character study

Fishamble’s diligent, vigorous production pursues a simple question – what makes people do what they do – towards a complicated (...)

This Blue Raincoat production is fascinatingly uninterested in the thrills of the survival story

Ian Lloyd Anderson (Jack Clitheroe) and Kate Stanley Brennan (Nora Clitheroe) in The Plough and the Stars. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

The Abbey’s latest production of Sean O’Casey’s Easter Rising drama brings his characters into the light of the present. During th(...)

Brechtian: Kate Brennan in Wayne Jordan’s production of The Plough and the Stars. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

Seán O’Casey’s play and its staging have always been cultural and political lightning rods

Rosie Redman and the Covey (Joseph Linnane) in a scene from an Abbey Theatre production of Sean O’Casey’s The Plough And The Stars in 1942. Photograph: Haywood Magee/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Director Seán Holmes had never seen The Plough and the Stars staged – until his current version went up at the Abbey Theatre

Patrick Marber: ‘My characters are always hurting themselves. There is a lot of sadism and a lot of masochism in my work. I don’t know why that is.’ Photograph:  Amy Graves/WireImage/Fox

He’s worked on Alan Partridge, adapted Fifty Shades of Grey, and is evangelical about ‘deliciously evil’ vaping. But when it cam(...)

Lisa Dwyer Hogg and Ciarán McMenamin

Prime Cut’s version is more like a tastefully appointed costume drama than a cruel disrobing of gender and power struggles

Garrett Keogh and Michael Hayes. Photograph: Keith Currams

An overload of stories makes it easy to lose sight of what is important

Anne Clarke of Landmark Productions, who won the special tribute award at the Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards, is pictured with (from left) Laurence Kinlan, the best supporting actor, Brian Gleeson and Domhnall Gleeson. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

‘DruidShakespeare’ wins five awards, including Best Production and Best Director

Donal McCann as Frank Hardy in the Abbey Theatre’s Irish premiere of Faith Healer in 1980. Photograph: Fergus Bourke, courtesy of the Abbey Theatre

Five nominees for Irish Times theatre awards recall a performance that inspired them and informed their own approaches

Mary Murray, Caitriona Ennis and  Ian Toner in Wild Sky. Photograph:  Fergal Phillips

Deirdre Kinahan’s new play fits a love triangle over the forces of the Rising. But can it be contained?

This is a purgatorial experience of emigration, where nobody is ever at home

Derbhle Crotty in Juno and the Paycock at the Gate Theatre. Photograph: Patrick Redmond

From her irreverent early work to ‘volunteering her breasts’ for DruidShakespeare and on to her fresh take on O’Casey’s Juno, Crot(...)

Conor McPherson’s writing sweeps the audience along in this zippy production

That Dragon, Cancer: the game offers various perspectives on  ‘a journey of hope in the shadow of death’

Last month, an US couple released a video game about their son who died from a terminal illness. Is the artform aspiring to a new (...)

Marty Rea and Declan Conlon in Juno and the Paycock at the Gate Theatre. Photograph: Pat Redmond

Mark O’Rowe’s stark production treats the the play almost as a documentary and cleverly casts against type

Stephen Rea as Eric in Cyprus Avenue by David Ireland. Photograph:  Ros Kavanagh

David Ireland’s caustic new play is testing limits with plenty of unpalatable opinions and outrageous claims

‘I don’t think “Cyprus Avenue” is a loyalist play. It’s about loyalism,’ says Stephen Rea, who appears in the play at the Abbey Theatre in February 2016. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Stephen Rea stars as a paranoid loyalist in ‘Cyprus Avenue’ at the Abbey

Skibberceannaigh has many dark secrets; unearthing them proves trickier than imagined

Unfinished business: speakers on stage at the Theatre of Change Symposium at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin (from left) Gideon Levy, Gabriel Gbadamosi, Mark O’Halloran, Mary McAuliffe, Jaki Irvine, Nuala Hayes, Penny Arcade, Fiach MacConghail, Sarah Jane Scaife, Zoe Lafferty, Lian Bell, Dominic Campbell, Dr Emer O’Toole, Dr Susan Cahill and Fearghus O’Conchuir. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Tackling malevolent cupcakes, mutant lesbians and “the man problem” at the Abbey

David Greig’s version of August Strindberg’s play is luridly unhinged, but this odd production opts to play it seriously

Susan Bracken, Ronan Leahy and Kevin Olohan in C Company’s production of ‘Creditors’

The Scottish playwright has tackled topics as troubling as Anders Behring Breivik. So how did he get on in the strange world of St(...)

Blackstar: rather than finish with the resounding echo of a final statement, David Bowie was cut off midsentence

It’s tempting to read ‘Blackstar’ as David Bowie’s swansong. But he was already writing his next album

Speakers on stage at The Theatre of Change Symposium, at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin from left; Gideon Levy, Gabriel Gbadamosi, Mark O’Halloran, Mary McAuliffe, Jaki Irvine, Nuala Hayes, Penny Arcade, Fiach MacConghail, Sarah Jane Scaife, Zoe Lafferty, Lian Bell, Dominic Campbell, Dr Emer O’Toole, Dr Susan Cahill and Fearghus O’Conchuir. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The three-day conference launches the theatre’s Waking the Nation programme

Róise Goan, producer, arts consultant and former Dublin Fringe Festival director

As the three judges meet to consider the productions they’ve seen in the past year, ‘violent agreement’ breaks out

James Joyce’s peerless short story is given a reading by Aidan Gillen in which his Gabriel Conroy is given a cruel and familiar (...)

Marty Rea as Richard II and Gavin Drea Aumerle in DruidShakespeare. Photograph:  Matthew Thompson

From DruidShakespeare to Waking the Feminists, 2015 was all about changing perspectives

Witty and relevant: the work of Oscar Wilde  has aged well

Wilde and Shaw, who have similar plays on at the Gate and Abbey, had a prickly relationship

Ruth McGill in The Dead

James Joyce’s story gets a sonorous treatment, but can anything be more musical than his prose?

Lisa Lambe and Rory Musgrave in The Dead. Photograph: Tom Swift

The last story in The Dubliners is already full of song, but opera proved to be a great way of bringing out the ‘internal arias’ i(...)

 Caoimhe O’Malley Eleanor Methven James Murphy and Genevieve Hulme-Beaman in You Never Can Tell

The troubling aspects of Bernard Shaw’s dusty play are here hammered at with forced jollity – the result is not weightless fun

Patrick O’Donnell plays a former soldier struggling to adjust to life in Nebraska

Among the three or so plays struggling to get out, an interesting human story is lost

Lisa Dwyer Hogg and Marty Rea. Photograph: Pat Redmond

As his parade of double lives spills out of the closet, Oscar Wilde peers down on a production that is almost entirely at his serv(...)

‘The Train’ musical: celebrating a pivotal moment for Irish feminism as envisaged by male writers

From the male gaze to the female voice, it’s time to make a change

Yossi Goodlink, Michael Ajao and Freddie Watkins as Bill, Maurice and  Jack in Lord of the Flies. Photograph: Johan Persson

William Golding’s tale gets a cosmetic update, and drags its colonial baggage with it

Beth Cooke and Peter Gowen in Through A Glass Darkly. Photograph: Fiona Morgan

For its anniversary production, director Annie Ryan settled on a stark Ingmar Bergman drama that does nothing to change the impres(...)

How do you root for an underdog when he is destined to be eaten by the rest of the characters?

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