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

The best movies, music, art and more coming your way this week, including Lisa O’Neill, Finbar Wright, The Commitments and Livin’ Dred’s revival of Danti-Dan

Event of the Week

Carly Rae Jepsen

Saturday February 4th/Sunday February 5th, 3Olympia, Dublin; 7pm; €37 (sold out);

It has been dancing, singing, musical theatre and all-round entertainment for most of Carly Rae Jepsen’s life. The pop star first found fame (of sorts) on the 2007 season of Canadian Idol, and from then on it has been a one-way ticket to the top. Last year’s The Loneliest Time was (so she has admitted) a “quarantine album” that nonetheless packed a shiny synth-pop punch with songs such as Western Wind, Surrender My Heart, Sideways and the title track (a duet with fellow Canuck Rufus Wainwright). Some say her songwriting skills are up there with, if not better than, Taylor Swift. Not so much the fanbase, however, as these moderately sized venues prove. Still, if you’re looking for really good pop music, Jepsen is a safe bet.


Florence + The Machine

Wednesday February 8th, 3Arena, Dublin; 6.30pm; €65.60 (sold out);

“A fairy tale in 14 songs” is how Florence Welch described her most recent album, Dance Fever, the concept of which is rooted in her interest in choreomania, a social spectacle in early modern Europe that featured people – cue spoiler alert – dancing feverishly. This makes sense – Welch is as dramatic a performer as they come, her sense of theatre as finely tuned as her skills in songwriting. The blend will no doubt come in handy here in this rescheduled show (due to Welch breaking her foot late last year). Make way, then, for the shaking of hands, heads and legs. Well, perhaps not legs – let’s not tempt fate again…

Lisa O’Neill

Friday February 10th/Saturday, February 11th, Town Hall, Cavan; 7.30pm; €20 (sold out);

Co Cavan songwriter Lisa O’Neill begins the start of her new album launch tour back home with two sold-out shows. Reviewed in next Friday’s Arts pages (February 10th), All of This Is Chance is O’Neill’s first collection of new songs since 2019′s Heard a Long Gone Song, and brims with the singer’s instinctive connection with the natural world, an ongoing relationship that is aware of both beauty and dread. Support on both nights is from Larry Beau. O’Neill also plays Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin (Wednesda February 22nd) and Whelan’s, Dublin (Thursday February 23rd), and are genuinely not to be missed.

Popular Classical

Finbar Wright and Friends

Saturday February 4th, Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny; 8pm; €30;

From performing with artists of such calibre as Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Bryn Terfel and Montserrat Caballé (and not forgetting being an integral member of The Irish Tenors, with which he has recorded 10 albums), Finbar Wright brings a wealth of experience in popular/contemporary song to his first nationwide tour in over three years. Also Saturday February 11th, UCH, Limerick; Saturday February 18th, Opera House, Cork; Saturday February 25th, Town Hall Theatre, Galway; Thursday March 2nd, NCH, Dublin.




Tuesday February 7th, Mullingar Arts Centre, Co Westmeath; 8pm; €20/€16;; Wednesday February 8th/Thursday February 9th, Everyman Theatre, Cork; 8pm; €27/€24; €11 (student);

“Listen, girl, this is the kind of place that if you lost your virginity, somebody would find it and bring it home to your mother...” Lines as snappy as this regularly underpin Gina Moxley’s commended 1995 play, which is rejuvenated by the theatre company Livin’ Dred (in association with Townhall Cavan and Ramor Theatre). Set in “the middle of nowhere” outside Cork City, it focuses on a group of teenagers with ambition, sex and trepidation on their minds; actor/director Aaron Monaghan corrals terrific performances from a highly engaged young cast. Also Saturday February 11th, Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda, Co Louth; Wednesday February 15th, Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Co Kildare; Friday February 17th, An Grianán, Letterkenny, Co Donegal; and Saturday February 18th, Backstage, Longford.


The Commitments

Tuesday February 7th-Saturday February 18th, 3Olympia, Dublin; 8pm; €34.50;

Mustang Sally, Try a Little Tenderness, In the Midnight Hour, Knock on Wood and more than 15 other soul/pop/R&B classic songs – is it really more than 35 years since Roddy Doyle’s novel, and 32 years since Alan Parker’s movie adaptation? ‘Fraid so, but not to worry – it’s all feet and hands on deck (stage?) with this production of the West End hit musical that features former Coronation Street actor Nigel Pivaro (in the role of “Da” Rabbitte) and Olivier-nominated musical theatre actor Ian McIntosh (as powerhouse vocalist Deco). Also Monday February 20th-Saturday February 25th, Grand Opera House, Belfast.


City of a Million Dreams

Saturday February 4th, Sugar Club, Dublin; 6pm; €10;

Utilising jazz funerals as a gateway to the evolution of the city of New Orleans, film-maker Jason Berry’s exceptionally researched City of a Million Dreams (presented by Films of Note) screens as part of an outreach programme of the London-based Doc‘n Roll Festival. While the film tracks New Orleans’ history from 1718, activist/documentarian Berry points to the funerals as “caravans of memory” and “a mirror to the society”. The film’s character-driven thrust (from Pierre Casanave, a mid-1800s mortician who hires musicians for funeral processions, to a 1918 Times-Picayune editorial that denounced jazz from its printing press pulpit (“we should make it a point of civic honour to suppress it”) lends an authenticity that repeatedly pays dividends.


Still running

Zurich Portrait Prize 2022

Until April 2nd; National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin; adm free;

Open to artists from across the island of Ireland, and Irish artists living elsewhere, this annual contemporary portraiture competition highlights works of pinpoint precision, abstractedness and all points in between. Pictured is the winning work, Salvatore, by artist David Booth.

Book it this week

The Academic, 3Olympia Theatre, Dublin; March 10th;

Father John Misty, Iveagh Gardens, Dublin; July 15th;

Arlo Parks, 3Olympia Theatre, Dublin; September 5th;

The National, 3Arena, Dublin; September 21st;

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

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