The Guide: The events to see, the shows to book and the ones to catch before they end

From a screen biography of a French singing icon to a play set in rural Ireland that borders on the paranormal



Friday, December 2nd, Gate Theatre, Dublin; 7.30pm; €36.50/€31.50/€26.50;

From the streets of Paris to the nightclubs of New York – Édith Piaf was the little sparrow that soared, France’s national chanteuse who died at the age of 47 (in 1963), leaving behind a legacy of mostly autobiographical songs and chansons réalistes. Pam Gems’ play (directed by Des Kennedy) features the formidable Camille O’Sullivan as the titular singer/performer, and an ensemble support cast that includes Aoife Mulholland, Kwaku Fortune, Phelim Drew and Rory Nolan. As adult themes are portrayed, The Gate advises that this production is recommended for ages 14-plus.




Wet Leg

Sunday, November 27th, The Limelight, Belfast; 7pm; £20; Monday, November 28th, The Academy, Dublin; 7pm; €27 (sold out);

As this is one of the most successful UK bands of the past two years (they have a number one debut album on their hands), we should be thankful that Isle of Wight’s Wet Leg, recently multi-Grammy-nominated, are playing venues as compact as the Academy and the Limelight. Such places won’t be able to contain them in 2023, however, as (Grammy success notwithstanding) they’re a support act for quite a few of Harry Styles’ open-air arena shows, including Slane Castle on Saturday, June 10th. In other words, get to see Hester Chambers and Rhian Teasdale (and bandmates) before you can no longer see the whites of their eyes.


Friday, December 2nd, Workman’s Cellar, Dublin; 8pm; €15;

A lot has happened to Ciara Lindsey in the past three years. From a very early gig in 2019 at Dingle-based Other Voices and a thumbs-up from NME (which praised her 2021 debut EP, Things That Don’t Exist, as ‘a masterclass of channelling angst into disarming indie for a new generation’) to her recently released second EP (Something to do with Love), the Dubliner has advanced in proverbial leaps and bounds with her crunchy rhythms, rabbit-punch choruses and spiky narratives. Kynsy also performs at Other Voices next weekend, and supports UK indie band Blossoms the week after.

Fontaines D.C.

Wednesday, November 30th- Friday, December 2nd, Vicar Street, Dublin; 6.30pm; (all shows sold out)

Following a slate of US and UK dates, Fontaines D.C. return to Ireland for this sequence of sold-out shows in Dublin and more into next week with gigs in Galway, Limerick, Derry and Belfast. It has been a whirlwind of a year for the band. In April, they released their third album, Skinty Fia, and saw it become their most commercially successful to date (it hit number one slots in Ireland and the UK, and Top 10 slots across Europe), and after a well-deserved breather, they will start 2023 in February with sold-out shows in Australia and Japan.

The Cure

Thursday, December 1st, 3Arena, Dublin; 6.30pm; €75 (sold out); Friday, December 2nd, SSE Arena, Belfast, 6.30pm; £65/£45 (sold out)

It has been about 15 years since The Cure released a new album (2008′s 4:13 Dream), so Cureheads will be suitably thrilled (in their own way, of course) to know that a batch of new material is being played during the Lost World Tour (so named after their forthcoming album, Songs of a Lost World) alongside Cure classics such as Friday I’m in Love, In Between Days, The Love Cats, Just Like Heaven, and Lullaby). The support act is The Twilight Sad.



Other Voices

Friday, December 2nd-Sunday, December 4th, Dingle, County Kerry; various venues/times; (sold out);

It’s that time again for Other Voices, but with a significant difference this year: there are no Covid restrictions. For a compact festival such as Other Voices, this means they can just get on with it - from the performances in St. James’ Church and the Music Trail gigs all around the town’s pubs (and other venues) to the conversation strands (Ireland’s Edge, Banter) and the general, genial hustle-bustle of life, Other Voices-style. The cherry on top this year is the festival’s celebration of its 21st birthday, so who knows what other special goodies will be thrown at us?



The Weir

Saturday, November 26th-Saturday, January 14th, Abbey Theatre, Dublin, 7.30pm; €45;

Rural Ireland. A windy night. A pub. A few regulars and a stranger. Alcohol and supernatural stories. We have all been there, needless to say, but Conor McPherson’s play (which won the 1999 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play) twists the usual into something very close to paranormal. The cast includes Peter Coonan, Marty Rea and Brendan Coyle (who was part of the original cast in the play’s first production at London’s Royal Court Theatre Upstairs in 1997). Caitríona McLaughlin directs.



Mike Bunn

Until March, Farmleigh Gallery, Phoenix Park, Dublin;

Sub-titled The Man Who Sees Through Shadows, this 80th birthday retrospective exhibition showcases the superlative work of Yorkshire-born, Irish-resident (of over 50 years) photographer Mike Bunn. Across over 130 high-quality prints, Bunn’s vivid diversity is on display, from fashion shoots (including those for Lainey Keogh, Philip Treacy, John Rocha and Louise Kennedy), landscape, food, author/poet portraits (including Brendan Kennelly, John Montague, Mary Lavin, and William Trevor), and non-Ireland-based work (including portraits of tribespeople from the Hindukush Mountains at the Pakistan/Afghan border).



Dr Billy Colfer: An Exhibition of his Life and Work

Until December 23rd; Wexford Arts Centre;

Wexford’s Dr Billy Colfer (father to writer Eoin and archaeologist/musician Niall, and other sons Paul, Donal and Eamonn) was a pivotal figure in the establishment of the town’s arts centre, and this exhibition celebrates his life and works in the centre’s newly-inaugurated Billy Colfer Gallery.



Gina Birch, Whelan’s, Dublin, March 25th;

Peter Gabriel, 3Arena, Dublin, June 25th;

The War on Drugs, Trinity College Dublin, June 27th;

The Prodigy, Musgrave Park, Cork, June 28th; Fairview Park, Dublin, June 29th;

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture