Going out: the best of what’s on this week
Glen Hansard, Bug, Plaid, Jonah and the Whale and more
Vicar St, Dublin 8, 7.30pm, €30 (sold out)
The estimable Mr Hansard delivers songs from various areas of his career, including Didn’t He Ramble – his excellent folk-referencing second solo album. Seriously, he’s such an old hand by now at live performing that a great (and lengthy) gig is one of the few things any music fan can safely depend on.
Out Of Print
The Library Project, 4 Temple Bar, Dublin 2, until September 24
Until its (potential) displacement by online digital technology, print – from newsprint to fabrics, books to currency – has progressively permeated human culture and communications since its invention, with fine art print as a modest subset. Accomplished printmaker and teacher Andrew Folan sets out to situate the latter in a wider context and illuminate both. Black Church artists Nick Boon, Margot Galvin, Jane Glynn, John Graham, Ray Henshaw, Colm Mac Athlaoich, Sadbh O’Brien, Tracy Staunton and Nicole Tilley are joined by guests Ross MacManus, Susan MacWilliam and Nigel Rolfe.
Ten Night Paintings
Colin Davidson. Oliver Sears gallery, 29 Molesworth St, Dublin Until October 13
As an interlude from the day job as an acclaimed portrait painter – Angela Merkel for Time Magazine, Seamus Heaney in the Ulster Museum, Michael Longley in the National Gallery of Ireland, Brad Pitt in the National Portrait Gallery, Washington – Colin Davidson made 10 paintings of nudes in the evening hours, all rendered in a characteristically crisp, fluent manner.
Viking Theatre, Clontarf. Sept 6-24 8pm €15
At its simplest, Tracy Letts’ deceptively naturalistic and slow-building play is about an infestation. It may involve bugs, but it is fuelled by a distinctly American sense of threat, conspiracy and survival. Agnes, a drug-addled Oklahoma woman, is having difficulty with pest-control: the pest in question being her abusive ex-husband and an endlessly ringing telephone in her squalid motel room. Enter Peter Evans, a quiet, intense former Gulf War soldier who bonds with Agnes through mutual loneliness. They sleep together, but the bed bugs bite, and soon the place – or their minds – start to crawl with bugs, whether they are aphids, viruses or surveillance devices. The tone of the play may sound like David Icke, but the writing style is closer to Sam Shepard. Without leaving the motel, they encounter a narcotic cloud of surreal moments designed to draw the audience into a warped mindset, as though paranoia were infectious. Letts’ drama was written in 1996, but its staging over 20 years almost always feels timely, this time by new company Corps Ensemble, where America seems perpetually at war, both overseas and within.
Róisín Dubh, Galway, 9pm €17.50/€15
London electronica duo, Ed Handley and Andy Turner, pay a surprise visit to Ireland this and next week for selected gigs. We should thank our lucky stars for this, as the band’s back catalogue is littered with genre gems. Their new album, meanwhile (which they are ostensibly plugging), The Digging Remedy, shines with texture and detail.
Jonah and the Whale
Thomas Brezing. Molesworth Gallery, 16, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2. Until September 29
Always fiercely engaged with his subject matter and resiliently humanist in spirit, Thomas Brezing (above right) attempts to grapple with “the horrors of war, injustice and inhumanity… through the prism of biblical parables” as filtered through their role in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Moral allegories in a forthright, expressionistic vein.
Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme
Abbey Theatre. Ends Sep 24 7.30pm (Sat mat 2pm) €13-€45
The last production of the Abbey’s centenary programme concludes its international tour at home: a multi-headed Cerberus of a co-production between the Abbey, London’s Headlong, Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Theatres, which has already covered more ground between Ireland, the UK and even a brief detour to the Somme battleground, than the far-flung characters in Frank McGuinness’s 1985 play. A work of audacity and ambition, written early in his career, McGuinness’s drama folds history, psyche and sexuality within a complex and sometimes unwieldy structure, as a motley band of Ulster men assemble to fight for the Crown in World War One. The play’s perspective belongs to Pyper, a gay and subversive maverick, but it is the other characters that gather in detail. There is Craig, a discreetly gay Adonis; Millen and Moore, who enter the play as they leave it, like a bickering old couple; the faith-stricken Roulston and a self-lacerating Crawford; and two roaring Belfast brutes, Anderson and McIlwaine, here as fierce and thick as their moustaches. Well performed, but directed without Jeremy Herrin’s celebrated innovation, one wonders if the production has been stifled by reverence, either for the centenary or simply the play.