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 between September 9th and 15th, 2023

Christine and the Queens: Expect somewhere between the gloriously familiar and the wildly unforeseen at their upcoming gig at 3Olympia Theatre. Photograph: Roberto Finizio/Getty

Event of the week

Christine and the Queens

Sunday, September 10th; 3Olympia Theatre, Dublin; 7pm; €37 (sold out);

“A key towards heart-opening transformation, a prayer towards the self” is how Christine and the Queens has described their latest album, Paranoia, Angels, True Love (which is part influenced by the playwright Tony Kushner’s acclaimed drama Angels in America). As usual for the French artist Héloïse Letissier, there is a grandeur about the music, which blends modern opera and post-pop, and which thematically focuses on the death of Letissier’s mother. What to expect? Somewhere between the gloriously familiar and the wildly unforeseen. There will be a review of the gig on on Monday.


David Keenan

Wednesday, September 13th; NCH, Dublin; 8pm; €29.90/€26.90;

It’s something of a given that a songwriter can effect change in the listener, but it takes a special kind of songwriter to continue to resonate with each album release. David Keenan has been doing exactly that for the past three years, first with his 2020 debut, A Beginner’s Guide to Bravery, then with What Then? from 2021, and subsequently with a series of live shows that are never less than exploratory and edgy.

David Keenan: a special kind of songwriter

Keenan also has the knack of experimenting with form minus some artists’ overt preciousness. Go see and experience.

Bonny Light Horseman and RTÉ Concert Orchestra

Thursday, September 14th; NCH, Dublin; 8pm; €42.50/€35.50/€28.50/€22.50;
Bonny Light Horseman: Bringing another performance of their intuitive and delicately delivered transatlantic traditional folk music to the NCH

Following their recent show at Cork Opera House (as part of the Sounds from a Safe Harbour festival), Bonny Light Horseman move north to the National Concert Hall, in Dublin, for another performance of their intuitive and delicately delivered transatlantic traditional folk music. If that doesn’t grab your attention, then maybe this will: the songs are enhanced by orchestral arrangements by The National’s Bryce Dessner, which are conducted by Robert Ames, who has worked with the likes of Taylor Swift, Thom Yorke, Philip Glass, Mica Levi, Little Simz, and Jamie xx.


Clonakilty International Guitar Festival 2023

From Friday, September 15th until Sunday, September 24th; DeBarras, Clonakilty, Co Cork; various times/prices;

This gathering of musicians features international names such as The Eastern, from New Zealand, Gwenifer Raymond, from Wales, and Rostislav Mazurkevich, from Ukraine, alongside a mostly Irish line-up that includes such quality acts as Gemma Hayes, The Altered Hours, Craic Boi Mental, Eoin Ó Ceannabháin, Elaine Howley, John Spillane and Sive.

Gemma Hayes, part of the mostly Irish line-up in Clonakilty. Photograph: Mike Prior


Dublin Fringe Festival

From Saturday, September 9th until Sunday, September 24th; various venues/times/prices;

Roll up, roll up – what are your cultural preferences, and how much time do you have? You’re so spoiled for choice you’ll need an Excel spreadsheet to calculate where you might want to be on any given day. From cabaret, performance art, spoken word and theatre to dance, comedy, visual art and music (plus loads more), Dublin Fringe Festival will make you wish you could master the art of bilocation. Full details from the Fringe website.



Saturday, September 9th, Town Hall Theatre, Galway, 8pm; €27/€24;; Tuesday, September 12th, Everyman Theatre, Cork; 8pm; €26/€24;

A collaboration between Irish Chamber Orchestra and Opera Collective Ireland, Jonathan Dove’s poignant, bittersweet opera is in Ireland for a sequence of shows. Loosely based on the true story of the Iranian refugee Mehran Karimi (played here by Eoin Conway), who lived at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris for 18 years, the ensemble cast invests the roving characters with equal measures of guile, humour and gritty truth.

Flight Review: A strong cast grips your attention in Jonathan Dove’s airport-set comic operaOpens in new window ]


Second Captains

Thursday, September 14th, 3Olympia Theatre, Dublin; 7pm; €39.05 (sold out);
Second Captains; Special guests will be announced closer to the show

Any podcast that lasts 10 years has to have a committed audience, which is why the tickets for Second Captains’ 10th birthday bash sold out within hours. Named an iTunes podcast of 2014 and one of the Guardian’s 50 best podcasts in 2016, Second Captains has also won a Banff World Media award, a Prix Europa award and three New York Festival awards – and its members-only World Service offering, launched in 2017, is now one of the most popular on Patreon. Special guests will be announced closer to the show.


James Acaster

Saturday, September 9th, until Tuesday, September 12th; Vicar Street, Dublin; 6.30pm; €28 (all shows sold out)

Playing four consecutive nights at Vicar Street indicates no small level of crossover success, but it gets better: Acaster is bringing his Hecklers Welcome show to a country where there’s always one (or two) in the audience.

James Acaster: See him at Vicar Street

We also like the blurb on his website: “One of comedy’s most original voices has written a new show. He’s very proud of it. That being said, you are allowed to ruin it.” Form a disorderly queue?

Georgie Carroll

Wednesday, September 13th, Liberty Hall, Dublin; 8pm; €24;

Heard the one about the nurse and the old lady with gumboots? Welcome to Georgie Carroll, the former healthcare professional who sees the funny side of patient care, and whose new stand-up show, Sista Flo 2.Oh, recently won the best comedy award at the Adelaide Fringe. Is she good? If you’re not careful she’ll have you in stitches! Oh, my aching sides, etc.

Still running

Border Biennale

Until Saturday, September 16th, Town Hall Gallery, Cavan town;

Curated by Rita Duffy and Joe Keenan, Border Biennale features work by six contemporary artists whose collective creative exploration focuses on the influence of geopolitical borders on identity, sectarianism, racism, misogyny, homophobia and other forms of intolerance. Artists include Duffy, Seán Hillen, Dermot Seymour and Jennifer Trouton.

Border Bienalle is still running

Book it this week

Deirdre O’Kane, 3Olympia Theatre, Dublin, September 29th;

Iris Dement, Knocknarea Arena, Sligo, October 29th;

Dublin Beatles Festival, Workmans Club, Dublin, November 3rd/4th/5th/7th;

The Prosecco Express with Joanne McNally, BGET, Dublin; January 8th-13th;

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

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