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

The best movies, music, art this week, including London band Dry Cleaning, a film about the music scene in Limerick, and a Blood Brothers revival

Event of the week

Dry Cleaning

Tuesday, February 14th, Vicar Street, Dublin; 7pm; €25.90; Wednesday, February 15th, Mandela Hall, Belfast; 7pm; £19.50;

Five years after this south London band formed and Dry Cleaning are justifiably regarded as one of the best newish UK bands around. Because of their musical/stylistic schtick (angular stream-of-consciousness lyrics delivered in mostly sprechgesang mode underpinned by arrangements that reference Magazine, Wire, Joy Division, The Fall and/or Public Image Limited), they appeal to people who either remember their primary influences first time around or are taken with a voguish approach to delivery and presentation. Whatever. Aside from their cross-generational charm, Dry Cleaning are much more than a regular post-punk band, as last year’s dexterous second album, Stumpwork, proved.



Saturday, February 11th, Dolan’s Warehouse, Limerick; 9pm; €10;

When it comes to PR bumpf for Dublin-based songwriter/performer Skinner (aka Aaron Corcoran), words such as “lackadaisical”, “slouch” and “nonchalant” are thrown about with no small abandon, but is he as laid back as he is portrayed? We think not. Skinner has been around for some years, making his music known, initially, with his 2016 mixtape, Skint. He has altered his creative worldview in the meantime: lyrically, he has become less observational and more inward, while his musical outlook embraces all manner of textures from perfectly infectious pop hooks to wobbly saxophone solos. Now signed to the same Irish indie label (Faction) as Sorcha Richardson and James Vincent McMorrow, after what seems an inordinately lengthy apprenticeship, this year could be the one. Support are Limerick’s His Father’s Voice (“soaring melodies, unflinching guitars and moody muscular rhythms” – Breaking Tunes), which are equally recommended.

Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott

Friday, February 17th, 3Arena, Dublin; 6.30pm; €42.05;

It is a long way from The Housemartins and The Beautiful South, but those bands’ primary songwriter, Paul Heaton, has continued apace with superb solo work and, since 2014, collaborative albums with former Beautiful South lead vocalist Jacqui Abbott. Quality is key here, as is a particular style of grounded humour that comes naturally to the pair. Also Saturday, February 18th, Leisureland, Galway; Sunday, February 19th, Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey, County Donegal; Tuesday, February 21st, Millennium Theatre, Derry; Wednesday, February 22nd, SSE Arena, Belfast; Friday, February 24th, INEC, Killarney, County Kerry.


Oh, Brother

Wednesday, February 15th to Saturday March 4th, Bewley’s Café Theatre, Dublin; 1pm (Monday-Saturday); €15/€12/€10;

Lunchtime theatre? Ah, if only we had the spare time – or, at least, that’s the excuse. Productions at the institution that is Bewley’s Café Theatre are varied but always worth your attention and Ragged Ruin Theatre Company’s Oh, Brother is cut from the same cloth. Nominated in last year’s Dublin Fringe Festival Award Winners list (in the “Little Gem” category, for a play of less than one hour), Callum Maxwell – the play’s author – and Ruairí Lenaghan co-star as the titular siblings who, for various reasons, have never met each other before. Tough, tender and witty – try to squeeze it into your day. (Previews on Monday, February 13th, and Tuesday, February 14th.)



Out of Place

Nominated in the Best Documentary category at last year’s Irish Film Festival in London, Out of Place, directed by Graham Patterson (in collaboration with volunteer organisation Féile na Gréine), is an intuitive portrayal of the Limerick music community, and features performances from the likes of Denise Chaila, God Knows, Hey Rusty, His Father’s Voice, MuRli, and Post Punk Podge & the Technohippies. The film tours nationwide to A4 Sounds, Dublin (Thursday, February 16th), Spirit Store, Dundalk, Co Louth (Friday, February 17th), Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast (Saturday, February 18th), Pálás, Galway (Friday, February 24th), and The Model, Sligo (Saturday, February 25th). Further details regarding ticket prices and times of screenings from individual venues or via


Deep Mapping: Unseen Landscapes

From Saturday, February 11th, to March 31st, Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, Co Meath; admission free;

Artist Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh’s fascinating solo exhibition at this smart provincial arts centre utilises interrelating features of abstraction, terrain, configuration, and uncertainty in a series of new paintings that, notes the venue’s website, “characteristically feature prominent elements of the built environment: vernacular structures, houses, factories, sheds.” There is an artist talk at the arts centre (Friday, February 24th, 1pm) where Ní Mhaonaigh will elaborate on her disciplined work process, among other related topics. Admission is free but booking is required.


My Therapist Ghosted Me

Wednesday, February 15th-18th, Gaiety Theatre, Dublin; 7pm; €49.90 (sold out);

It isn’t a good sign when the person whom you pay to alleviate your mental health issues ends up not returning your phone messages or opening the door when you visit their office. Such was the inspiration for Irish comedian Joanne McNally to create (and co-host, with Vogue Williams) the podcast My Therapist Ghosted Me. Celebrating its second birthday this year, the podcast is listened to by more than two million people per month, while the live shows are ever-ready presentations of the kind of advice on many personal issues your therapist might never give you. In other words, whoever said laughter is the best medicine had a point. Also Wednesday to Friday, February 22nd to 24th, and into March, same venue.

Still running

Blood Brothers

Until Saturday, February 18th, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin; 7.30pm; from €21.50;

One of musical theatre’s most enduring works, Willy Russell’s 1980s musical continues to captivate those audiences that love a heart-wrenching storyline (male twins separated at birth grow up to fall in love with the same woman) and several show-stopping tunes.

Book it this week

Billie Marten, Deer’s Head, Belfast; May 13th; Button Factory, Dublin; May 14th;

Forbidden Fruit Festival, Dublin; June 3rd-4th;

Beyond the Pale, Glendalough, County Wicklow; June 16th-18th;

Lloyd Cole, 3Olympia Theatre, Dublin; October 8th;

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

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