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

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Musical

From Tuesday, December 5th, until Sunday, January 7th, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin, 7.30pm, €26-€65,

It’s Willy Wonka season, what with the movie Wonka, starring Timothée Chalamet as the titular chocolatier, and Hugh Grant as a prima donna Oompa Loompa, soon to open nationwide; and this admired music-theatre confection based on Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book. If you’re not familiar with the story – down-at-heel young lad Charlie Bucket wins one of five golden tickets to visit the mysterious Wonka Chocolate Factory and meet its reclusive owner – then the songs will surely ring a bell: they include The Candy Man and Pure Imagination.


Ute Lemper: Rendezvous with Marlene

Saturday, December 2nd, NCH, Dublin, 8pm, €42.50/€35/€28.50,

Rendezvous with Marlene, based on a three-hour phone call in 1988 between (the then) ingenue Ute Lemper and the faded Hollywood film star Marlene Dietrich, is a classy evening of reminisces and songs so adroitly handled it’s difficult not to believe it isn’t a dialogue. Lemper’s theatrical performance is further enhanced by impeccable versions of Boys in the Backroom, Laziest Gal in Town, Lili Marleen and Falling in Love Again.

Concert for Gaza

Saturday, December 2nd, Live at St Luke’s, Cork, 7.30pm, €30,

As fundraising events for Gaza continue around the country, this one presents a blend of Irish music acts (including Declan O’Rourke, Greenshine, Stephanie Rainey, Karan Casey, Niall McCabe, Caoilian Sherlock, Jack O’Rourke and Toucan) and writers (including Donal Ryan, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Conal Creedon and Danny Denton). All money raised will go to the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund.

The Mary Wallopers

Thursday, December 7th, and Friday, December 8th, Vicar Street, Dublin, 8pm, €30 (sold out),

The past 15 months have been the making of The Mary Wallopers as a live band, with two albums (2022′s self-titled; this year’s Irish Rock n Roll) furthering the Dundalk band’s elevator pitch of The Clancy Brothers crossed with The Pogues. The band head over to the UK for a few mid-December gigs, but then return for more Irish dates, culminating on Saturday, December 23rd, at Cork City Hall. You can get more details from


David Keenan and Evanne Kilgallon

Friday, December 8th, Triskel Arts Centre, Cork, 8pm, €24,

David Keenan always aims to try out new ways to take his creative runs across the line. That continues with the singer-songwriter’s Geimhreadh Galore!/The Irish Theatre Tour. Accompanied by the actor and writer Evanne Kilgallon, who will perform an extract from Jester’s Privilege, her one-woman play, Keenan will deliver (he says on social media) a mix of “poetry readings on the Dart meets a garage gig ... ballads in a microwave ... Rocky Horror meets a sea swim ... ” The tour ends its 2023 run on Friday, December 22nd, at Belltable, Limerick.


Christmas Crackers

Wednesday, December 6th, Vicar Street, Dublin, 7pm, €30,

Is December 6th too early to get into the Christmas spirit? We think not, and neither do the performers, comedians and musicians who will be appearing at this event. The MC is Fionnuala Jay; the performers include Michael Fry, Justine Stafford, Ali Fox, Garron Noone, Anna Clifford and Shane Daniel Byrne. More names will be added closer to the event.


Éric-Maria Couturier

Wednesday, December 6th, NCH Studio, Dublin, 8.30pm, €17.50,

A solo recital by the internationally renowned cellist Éric-Maria Couturier is a particular treat (he spends much of his time in the renowned Ensemble Intercontemporain), even more so when one takes into consideration this concert’s programme. Highlights include Le Corps des Dordes, by the German composer Isabel Mundry; Kinamárabâfrena, by the Mexican-Spanish guitarist and composer Bertrand Chavarria-Aldrete; Riff, by the French composer and artist Bastien David; and Draft IV, by the French composer Yann Robin.



From Monday, December 4th, until Thursday, December 21st, Bewley’s Cafe Theatre, Dublin, 7.30pm, €15/€12,

James Joyce’s short story Grace, which was first published in 1914, as part of the collection Dubliners, focuses on class and religion. In his telling of the social, financial and religious conflicts of the businessman Tom Kernan, Terry O’Neill (whose Rope-a-Dope one-man show at the same venue some months ago was rightly praised) gets to the nub of the story by highlighting character flaws and peer pressure with equal parts solemnity and humour. Michael James Ford directs.


Writers for Palestine

Tuesday, December 5th, Vicar Street, Dublin, 7pm, sold out,

Demand for tickets prompted this event to be moved from the smaller Complex venue, which gives its organiser, Irish Writers for Palestine, greater fundraising potential – all proceeds will be donated to Medical Aid for Palestinians. The participants include Kevin Barry, Siobhán McSweeney, Colin Barrett, Sally Rooney, Mark O’Connell, Sinéad Gleeson and Blindboy Boatclub; their readings will be accompanied by music from Poor Creature and Colm Mac Con Iomaire. Tara Flynn is the MC.

Still running

This Is What We Call Progress

Until Sunday, December 3rd, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork,

Anthony Haughey’s film, set in the stately drawingroom of Newbridge House, an 18th-century Georgian villa in Donabate, Co Dublin, looks at the way the cultural identities of multiethnic youth are shaped and depicted in the public domain.

Book it this week

Jason Byrne, Liberty Hall Theatre, Dublin, April 24th and 25th,

Rod Stewart, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin, May 26th,

Nils Frahm, NCH, Dublin, July 6th and 7th,

Pixies, Galway Summer Sessions, August 27th,