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

Event of the Week

Tori Amos

Monday, March 27th, Ulster Hall, Belfast; 7pm; £48.50/£40.50 (sold out); Tuesday, March 28th/Wednesday, March 29th, 3Olympia, Dublin; 7pm; €55;

Tori Amos’s debut album, Little Earthquakes, was released just over 30 years ago and since then, the US singer/pianist – who has long had a connection with Ireland – has advanced to the forefront of especially self-aware songwriters. Her latest (excellent) album, 2021′s Ocean to Ocean, will be represented, of course, but we reckon many of Amos’s fan base will be there to hear older songs – including Silent All These Years, Cornflake Girl, Crucify, Professional Widow – and to see if her way of playing the piano remains as vivid as it has always been.


Gina Birch

Saturday, March 25th, Whelan’s, Dublin; 8pm; €20;

Inventing a personal creative upheaval was part and parcel of mid-’70s punk and if there’s anyone that can lay claim to doing just that it’s Gina Birch. Co-founder of the Raincoats in 1977, it has taken the bass player quite a while to release her debut solo album – named I Play My Bass Loud – but it arrives with a title that is at once advisory and assertive. Don’t reckon so? Here are some lyrics from one of the album’s songs, I Will Never Wear Stilettos: “Give me brothel creepers, give me Doc Martens, give me shiny red lace-up shoes, don’t want stilettos… Never wear Jimmy Choos.” Birch is 67 and not out of the game – fair play.

Elton John

Tuesday, March 28th/Wednesday, March 29th, 3Arena, Dublin; 6.30pm; €100.96 (sold out);; Friday, March 31st, SSE Arena, Belfast; 6.30pm; £160/£135/£85 (sold out);

The posters say, “Farewell Yellow Brick Road – The Final Tour”, and so it seems that these indoor arena shows – rescheduled from December 2021 – will be the last Elton John will play in Ireland. Whether that will come to pass is moot but, as it stands, if you have a ticket then you can count yourself very lucky indeed. The number of hits that John (who turned 76 a few days ago) has had over his 50-plus year career would take a long time to list, let alone listen to, so treat these shows as more a skim of an exceptional back catalogue than a deep dive.

Ed Sheeran

Thursday, March 30th, 3Arena, Dublin; 6.30pm; €105.85 (sold out);

Ed Sheeran played Croke Park, as well as smaller gigs in Whelan’s and Vicar Street, in April of last year, yet here he is again with a sold-out-in-minutes show that is as much a greatest hits gig as a precursor to the release of his new album, - (Subtract). Whether the subtleties of the new music – produced and co-written by the National’s Aaron Dessner, who assisted in delivering Taylor Swift’s genteel stylistic about-face with 2020′s Folklore and Evermore – will be heard over the screams is debatable but Sheeran always gives value for money (even if those ticket prices make the eyes water).



Ocean at the End of the Lane

From Tuesday, March 28th- Saturday, April 1st, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin; 7.30pm; (Matinees at 2.30pm, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday.) €45/€40/€35/€30;

UK writer Neil Gaiman’s 2013 novel about the search for self-identity and the worrisome links that bind together infancy and adulthood was first staged in London in December 2019. It arrives in Ireland for a brief run garlanded with praise – not least for Katy Rudd’s innovative production, which transfigures areas of the stage into feverish creativity. The pitch? Hide-between-the-fingers-fun for all the family.

In Conversation

Liz Nugent

Sunday, March 26th, Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire; 8pm; €17/€15;

As one of Ireland’s most successful writers, Liz Nugent tends to hide away for about 18 months at a time to devise a blend of believable characters and dialogue, as well as a few meticulously crafted narrative twists. Her recently published book, Strange Sally Diamond, is viewed as her most harrowing to date as it explores the drastic outcome of a violent kidnapping. Nugent is in conversation with Sinéad Crowley, RTÉ News’s arts and media correspondent (and no mean thriller writer herself) as part of Murder One Festival.


An Evening of TerrorTome with Garth Marenghi

From Thursday, March 30th-Saturday, April 1st (matinee), Liberty Hall, Dublin; 8pm; €30/€28; (sold out); Saturday, April 1st (evening) Ulster Hall, Belfast; 8pm; £23;

Looking suspiciously like Patrick McGoohan of the cult 1960s TV show The Prisoner, UK comedian Matthew Holness brings his fictional pulp horror author Garth Marenghi (co-created by fellow UK comic writer, Richard Ayoade) to clued-in fans. Based on last year’s spoof book, Garth Marenghi’s TerrorTome, this stage show is divided between in-character readings from the book and an audience Q&A. Laughs guaranteed? Well, Garth Marenghi isn’t an anagram of “argh nightmare” for nothing.

Spoken Word

Henry Rollins

Sunday, March 26th, Vicar Street, Dublin; 8pm; €35; Monday, March 27th, Cyprus Avenue, Cork; 7pm; €32.50 (sold out); Tuesday, March 28th, Limelight, Belfast; 7.30; £28 (sold out);

Former Black Flag vocalist Henry Rollins brings his Good to See You spoken word show to Ireland – the first time he has been in Europe since 2018. Anyone that has seen or heard Rollins speaking before will know how visually and verbally impassioned, forceful and funny he can be. Here, he documents what he says are “truly crazy/memorable events that transpired over the past couple of years”. Our advice? Prepare yourself.

Still Running

Waiting for Faro

Until Sunday, April 1st, Viking Theatre, Clontarf, Dublin; 8pm; €20;

Two airline passengers wait for their low-budget flight to arrive but – similar to Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot – nothing happens. Or, does it? Eoin Byrne’s satirical play hits the right notes between outlining sneaky air travel practices and enduring an eternal existential crisis.

Book it this week

Wu-Tang Clan and Nas, 3Arena, Dublin; June 9th;

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin; December 5th-January 7th;

Second Captains Podcast, 3Olympia Theatre, Dublin; September 14th;

Sleaford Mods, National Stadium, Dublin; November 25th;

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

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