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

Navy Blue

Tuesday, May 23rd/Wednesday, May 24th, Abbey Theatre, Dublin; 7.30pm; €40/€34/€28/€20;

Running for two nights as part of the Dublin Dance Festival, Belfast’s Oona Doherty’s commended dance piece is an exploration of personal self-reflection and artistic self-worth and a wry, worrisome view of climate change. Dressed in titular utilitarian jackets and trousers, a dozen dancers – corps de ballet, indeed – move in almost unity as they lip-sync to a Doherty-voiced monologue that questions the nature of creativity. Video design by Nadir Bouassaria adds convincing context, while music by Rachmaninov and Jamie xx evokes resilience and nuance.


Mango X MathMan; Farewell Show

Saturday, May 20th, Vicar Street, Dublin; 7.30pm; €23;

“After five great years, the time has come to wheel up the Mango X MathMan project ...” So goes the farewell message from Karl Mangan and Adam Fogarty, the creative duo behind one of Ireland’s best-ever hip-hop units. We have seen them perform in front of 50 and 500 and whatever the venue or audience size, there has never been anything less than commitment to the cause of getting people to think and then jump towards the roof. They leave behind one EP (2018′s Wheel Up), one album (2019′s Casual Work), one mixtape (2022′s The Quiet Life) and too many great gigs to ever forget. The hat is duly tipped, gentlemen. Onwards.

The Pretenders

Saturday, May 20th, Cyprus Avenue, Cork; 7pm; €45 (sold out); Sunday, May 21st, 3Olympia Theatre, Dublin; 7pm; €54.65; Tuesday, May 23rd, Limelight, Belfast; 7pm; £40 (sold out);

With no small style, Chrissie Hynde has fronted the Pretenders since their formation in 1978 and while the hits may have dried up some years ago, such is the strength of pop/rock songs like Brass in Pocket, Talk of the Town, Back on the Chain Gang, 2000 Miles, Don’t Get Me Wrong, I’ll Stand by You and several others that a good night out for all is guaranteed. It isn’t just for the songs that people continue to admire this band, however – in terms of frontwomen and vocalists, Hynde is a once-off.

Sing a Song of Docklands

Sunday, May 21st, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin; 7.30pm; €11.50;

This inner-city music project – the brainchild of conductor David Brophy and produced and presented by Dublin City Council – features commissioned work that celebrates the areas of East Wall, Sheriff Street, Ringsend and Grand Canal Dock. With the aim of connecting groups of old and new Irish people, artists Max Greenwood, Carmel Whelan, Macdara Yeates and Alain Servant have teamed up with local schools, community centres, dockers and residents to highlight lived experiences through song and spoken word. Guests include Jerry Fish, Robbie Kitt, and Ciaran Kelly.


Rock Against Homelessness in Aid of Focus Ireland

Friday, May 26th, 3Olympia Theatre, Dublin; 7pm; €27;

Headlined and curated by Cork-born, Brighton-based singer/songwriter Lyra (who will perform a full set of her stylish pop/dance tunes on the night), this fundraising show returns for its eighth year with a female-driven, pop-oriented line-up. MC for the event is Laura Whitmore who will usher in appearances from the likes of Aimée, Toshin, Pastiche, Bobbi Arlo, Jack O’Rourke, MayKay and Isaac Butler. From its inception in 2016, the annual event has raised €170,000 for Focus Ireland so let’s add to that, right?


Friday, May 26th, Botanic Gardens, Belfast; 6.30pm; £45;

Overload, Round and Round, Push the Button, Freak Like Me, Hole in the Head, About You Now – you know the songs but can you name every vocalist that has performed under the umbrella title of Sugababes? Following so many line-up changes (from 2001) that the founding three members had been replaced by one singer after another, it is surely good news for long-term fans that the original vocalists are back. Take a bow Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan and (second-generation Irish) Siobhán Donaghy. The even better news is that the trio return in August for All Together Now.

Visual Art

Counterpunch – A Collision of Art and Sport

Friday, May 26th-Monday, June 5th, National Stadium Gym, Dublin; free

Art and sport rarely interconnect but artist Sharon Kelly has been inspired by each discipline to the point where (via a Creative Residency programme by Dublin City Council Culture Company) she worked with young female boxers and their coaches at north inner-city’s Corinthians Boxing Club. Kelly’s multimedia exhibition/installation features video, drawings and sculptures, and explores how women engage with and withstand the physical and mental challenges of the sport. Free tours of the exhibition are available on request for sports clubs, schools and community groups. Email to book.

Onomatopoeia – Diana Copperwhite

Until Sunday, June 25th, Limerick City Gallery of Art, adm free;

This touring exhibition of new pieces by Limerick-born artist Diana Copperwhite is one of the must-sees of the summer. Her work here (curated by Drogheda-based Highlanes Gallery Director, Aoife Ruane) is characterised by bold swathes of primary and secondary colours and a naturally energetic style inspired by listening to jazz: “It’s easier to deal with multiple elements of composition,” she says in the latest edition of Irish Arts Review. “You can jump from one corner to another quite naturally.”

Still Running

West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival

Until Sunday, May 21st; various venues/times/prices;

This boundary-breaking festival features the debut Irish performance of vocal ensemble Apollo5, a family concert with pianists Fiachra Garvey and Soo-Jung Ann (and actor Evanna Lynch) and the debut Irish show by Jess Gillam Ensemble, which features the acclaimed saxophonist delivering music from Claude Debussy to Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Book it this week

Live on the Harbour, Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin; July 27th-29th;

Another Love Story, Killyon Manor, County Meath; August 18th-20th;

Feist, National Stadium, Dublin; September 6th;

50 Cent, 3Arena, Dublin; November 6th;

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

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