Champagne and tears at premiere of 'Les Mis'


Colin Farrell must have parachuted in to the Irish premiere screening of Les Misérables on Monday evening, as he arrived late and was spotted by few as he attended with friends. Samantha Barks, a Hollywood actress who plays Eponine in the film, was due to introduce the film but pulled-out last minute due to “unforeseen circumstances”. Barks has been in Dublin for the past month as Nancy in Oliver!

Those who dreamed a dream of meeting Eddie Redmayne or Anne Hathaway might have been disappointed, but in the absence of any movie stars, Karen Koster from TV3 introduced the film. Either way there were no empty chairs or tables as invited guests at The Light House Cinema enjoyed a champagne reception hosted by Moët Chandon before the film.

Model Alison Canavan attended with her sister Laura, who said as a family of five sisters they are “massive” fans of the musical, with parties in their house often descending into singsongs of the show’s hits. Aoibheann McCaul who plays Caoimhe in Fair City had also been pestered by her sister Clíodhna to bring her along. McCaul is training as a fitness instructor as well as acting in the RTÉ soap.

Emerging film director Sean Branigan attended with his girlfriend Amy De Bhrun, an actor who will this year appear on our screens, both little and large, in supporting roles in new historical TV series Vikings and an Irish comedy film The Stag.

Also there were the creators of 2012’s hit Irish musical Alice in Funderland, writer Phillip McMahon and director Wayne Jordan, who attended with Jessica Hilliard from Dublin Fringe and Roísín McGann of Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. McMahon is working on a new radio soap opera called Buzzers with Luke Clancy as well as an Abbey theatre commission. He said he was “just here for Hugh Jackman”. Weren’t we all.

Afterwards, everyone rushed off to the bathrooms to mask their red eyes after the triumphant, tear-jerking final number.

Who we spotted The social editor of Image magazine, Tina Koumarianos, attended with her friend Gwen Chapple, Brendan Courtney from RTÉ’s Off the Rails and Noel Sutton from GAZE Film Festival.

Polish charity gigs

Paczki, a type of Polish doughnut, was served on Dublin’s Gardiner Street on Wednesday evening. In-spire Galerie was packed with Poles enjoying a reception to open the five-day charity event, The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, which raises funds for children’s hospitals.

It is Poland’s largest charity event, now in its 21st year. It is being held simultaneously in Dublin for the eighth time, and is organised by Gabriel Garus, from Warsaw, and his partner Barbara Bugarska.

The band El Grey, who are Marta Lukaszewicz and her husband, Christopher, provided music. Marta described their style as “Bjork meets Coldplay”.

The photographer Kinga Krzeczko donated work, as did artist Renata Ledzinksa, who brought along her son Marcel. Tomorrow’s “Grand Finale” will take place in The Living Room, Dublin, from noon.

Who we spotted Dublin photographer Patrick Brocklebank who took some of the earliest photos of U2.

'Hot curator of the moment' at launch of exhibition in Cross

To Francis Street on Thursday where Repetition opened at Cross Gallery. Curated by Margaret O’Brien, the exhibition also runs across Monster Truck Gallery in Temple Bar. Mark St John Ellis of the Cross Gallery said the Dublin art scene must have been quiet, as “everyone” was there.

Rachael Gilbourne of Black Church Print Studio introduced the “hot curator of the moment”, Paul McAree, who will be curating the third exhibition in the print studio’s series. He attended with his wife, the artist Rachel McAree, and is the owner of the newest gallery in Dublin, Flood, on James Joyce Street.

Michael Fitzgerald (22), exhibited Path of Least Resistance, a live sculpture of ice and ink and attended with Daniel Tuomey and Hannah Fitz. Together they make up half of Basic Space, young artists who ran a space behind Vicar Street while at NCAD.

Who we spotted Collector John Gore Grimes and his wife, the artist Kate Byrne; the artist John Graham.

Flying high for Temple Bar Tradfest

Stars of traditional music were flying in and out of Dublin on Monday to be at the launch of the Temple Bar Tradfest 2013 at St Werburgh’s Church. The festival itself runs from January 22nd to 27th.

The singer Maura O’Connell had flown in from Nashville and was heading back to the US for a while between now and her gig in Christ Church Cathedral as part of the festival. She sang her hit Summerfly.

Backstage O’Connell caught up with Frances Black, who was in attendance to support her daughter Aoife Scott, a newcomer on the music scene, currently writing her album with brother Eoghan. They played an original song, Down by the Shelly Banks.

Aoife, who works in TV, is giving up “the day job” this month to focus on music and said her mother was a natural influence on her style. “It’s genetic.” Aoife was well known to the other performers at the launch, having accompanied Black on the A Woman’s Heart tour as a child. Declan O’Rourke also performed, previewing his new album based on stories of the Famine. It will have its premiere at the festival.

The Irish actor Stephen Rea, dubbed the “patron saint” of the festival, attended. He will perform with Neil Martin and the West Ocean String Quartet in St Werburgh’s Church on January 25th. He also has a new programme called Utopia, written by Dennis Kelly, on Channel 4 this year, and he will be back on the Derry boards in May appearing in a new play, Thirsty Dust, by the young playwright Clare Dwyer Hogg.

Who we spotted The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Naoise Ó Muirí; Cllr Mannix Flynn, who is bringing the Tradfest to the Irish Stock Exchange venue; John Sheahan of The Dubliners and Kieran Hanrahan, artistic director, who also played a piece on the banjo at the launch.

Theatre is the new aphrodisiac for hipsters in the club

At Project Arts Centre on Tuesday evening everyone was a theatre-maker or artist and failing that, they looked like one. Young enthusiasts descended upon the Temple Bar venue for the first night of THEATREclub’s festival The Theatre Machine Turns You On: Volume 3. Forget oysters; hipsters know that theatre is the new aphrodisiac. There was a retro vibe as audience members were invited to make a “mix-tape” of shows which ranged from works-in-progress (demo-tapes) to fully-staged shows (LPs).

All three “thirds” of THEATREclub, who are curating the show, attended: Shane Byrne, Grace Dyas and Doireann Coady. At 24 and 23, they are already offering support to a “younger generation” of emerging artists. Director and dramaturge Dan Colley was in the audience. He is working with Collapsing Horse Theatre Company on the “difficult second album” after its hit, Monster/Clock, which is soon going on tour.

Other attendees included David Parnell of the Arts Council, Dublin Theatre Festival director Willie White and Dublin Fringe Festival’s Róise Goan.

Who we spotted Broadcaster and arts professional Dylan Haskins; actor and accountant Peter Daly; artist Áine O’Hara, who wore an owl head in an installation under the stairs.