Gig of the Week: QI boffins bring their brainy heads to Dublin

Culture Guide January 17-23

The brains behind QI will be dishing out fun facts and releasing all that pent-up nerdery that’s been building up over the past two years

The brains behind QI will be dishing out fun facts and releasing all that pent-up nerdery that’s been building up over the past two years

 

Gig of the Week

No Such Thing as a Fish
3 Olympia, Dublin, Sunday January 23rd and Tuesday January 25th, 6pm, €30; 3olympia.ie
The boffins behind the BBC Two panel game QI bring their Nerd Immunity tour to the 3Olympia for two nights, both at an earlier time and with limited capacity to keep with Covid restrictions. James Harkin, Andrew Hunter Murray, Anna Ptaszynski and Dan Schreiber are collectively known as the QI elves, working hard behind the scenes to research the brainy facts for Stephen Fry and other presenters to hand out to the panel. They’ve stepped forward into the limelight with their weekly podcast series, which now has more than 700,000 subscribers, and on this tour they’ll be dishing out the facts, fun, and releasing all that pent-up nerdery that’s been building up over the past two years. They’ll also record a live podcast at each show, so if you’re going to heckle, make sure it’s an intelligent heckle. “We’re so glad to be not only getting out of the house but going on tour,” the team said ahead of the event, “spreading the word of unbelievable facts wherever we go. Subject to government guidelines, there’s no stopping us.”

King Arthur
King Arthur

Henry Purcell’s King Arthur
Samuel Beckett Theatre, Trinity College, Dublin, Tuesday January 18th-Saturday January 22nd, 6pm (4pm Sat), €12-€23; riam.ie
The Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM) presents a new production of the 17th-century “semi-opera” by Henry Purcell with a libretto by John Dryden, featuring a cast and orchestra made up of tertiary students of RIAM. Don’t expect the same old Camelot tale, though: Purcell and Dryden’s drama – mixing spoken word and song – focuses on Arthur’s battles with the Saxons – although there will be a few magical elements thrown in there and a cameo appearance from Merlin. This new production, directed by Aoife Spillane-Hanks, with David Adams conducting, is set during a war or climate disaster, as a group of people come together in a wild landscape to tell the story, using found objects to conjure up fantastical creatures and adventures. There’s a message in there, too, about the value of simple things and the power of resourcefulness. With set design by IADT Dún Laoghaire, this promises to be a visual as well as a sonic treat.

Paddy Dennehy
Paddy Dennehy

Paddy Dennehy
Cyprus Avenue, Cork, Friday January 21st, 5pm, €15; cyprusavenue.ie
Glen Hansard spotted this young singer-songwriter bashing out a song on an old upright piano in Benner’s hotel in Dingle, and was so blown away by this raw talent, he immediately invited Dennehy to join him on stage at the Everyman Theatre. Since then, the Cork-based Limerick man has opened for the likes of Imelda May, Mick Flannery and Lisa Hannigan, entertained the nation on The Late Late Show and wowed the crowd with his first full band show at Electric Picnic’s Trailer Park stage. Dennehy released his debut album, Little Light, in 2020, which has drawn comparisons with Nick Cave, Randy Newman and Leonard Cohen, and been described as “a captivating, heart-wrenching showcase of how powerful folk music can be”. This early-doors show will feature many tracks from that album, including Hard Times, Feed the Full, Abednego and Snow Song.

Clodagh Mooney Duggan. Photograph: City Headshots Dublin
Clodagh Mooney Duggan. Photograph: City Headshots Dublin
Sauce. Photograph: Ste Murray
Sauce. Photograph: Ste Murray

Sauce
Bewley’s Cafe Theatre, until February 5th, 1pm (Soiree performance Thursday January 20th 7pm), €10-€15; eventbrite.ie
Clodagh Mooney Duggan and Camille Lucy Ross star in a new comedy by award-winning playwright Ciara Elizabeth Smyth, directed by Jeda de Brí, all about “monsters, condiments and dancing”. Melia and Maura are two deeply flawed women who have emerged from controlling relationships and now face an uncertain future. One is a compulsive liar, the other a kleptomaniac. Can they overcome their compulsions and avoid sabotaging their new-found freedom? The audience will find it hard to resist the urge to laugh out loud with the “immaculate comic timing” on display here. The show premiered to packed houses at the Dublin Fringe Festival in 2019, and has been nominated for numerous awards.

A Fox Fest for All The Family, from Classics Now
A Fox Fest for All The Family, from Classics Now
Carlo Gébler
Carlo Gébler
Charlotte Higgins
Charlotte Higgins

Classics Now
Various Venues, Dublin, and online, Friday January 21st-Sunday January 23rd; classicsnow.ie
When we think of ancient history, we imagine that long-distant era before Covid (BC), but did you know that there’s a period even further back from March 2020, when Greek myths and Roman legends walked the earth? Classics Now is on a mission to bring this ancient past into a present-day context, and the festival will see writers and thinkers looking at our world through a classic lens via interviews, discussions, readings, film screenings and musical theatre performances. The festival will blend online with in-person events, and the opening night event will see classicist, novelist and essayist Madeline Miller in transatlantic conversation with arts journalist and author Anna Carey (Online, Friday, January 21st, 8pm, Adm free). Miller has won the Orange Prize for Fiction for her novel The Song of Achilles, a retelling of the classic tale. Two classicist titans – Guardian culture writer Charlotte Higgins and author Carlo Gébler – will join forces for a very edifying live in-conversation event (City Assembly House, Dublin, Saturday, January 22nd, 5.30pm, €12.50/€7.50). Higgins’s latest book looks at the most potent female figures in Greek mythology, while Gébler’s latest, I, Antigone, tells the story of Oedipus from his daughter’s perspective. The action switches to ancient Rome when historian and author Daisy Dunn, whose books and essays on Roman history have won her much acclaim, chats with arts broadcaster Vincent Woods (Online, Sunday, January 23rd, 7.15pm, Adm free). And Theatre Lovett presents A Fox Fest for All the Family (Dublin City Gallery, the Hugh Lane, Sunday, January 23rd, 2pm, Adm free), a live interactive event that will bring Aesop’s fables to colourful life.

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