CHRISTY MOORE, Liam Clancy, Virginia Kerr, Druid Theatre Company, and Opera UK are among the highlights in Town Hall Theatre’s programme for the coming months.
The major event in the calendar, of course, is the Cúirt Literature Festival which runs from April 21 to 26. Cúirt will be covered in depth elsewhere in these pages over the coming weeks so it will suffice to namecheck just a few of the participants; Aidan Higgins, Joseph O’Connor, Colm Tóibín, Louis de Bernierès, economist David McWilliams, and eminent Chinese author Ma Jian.
Moving on to the rest of the Town Hall programme, music lovers are well catered for with a strong line-up of concerts across a range of genres.
Christy Moore arrives on Friday May 8 (to the Black Box ), accompanied by Declan Sinnott and showcasing his new album Listen, which is released next month. Tickets are €40. Another folk legend, the evergreen Liam Clancy, performs on May 14.
Paul Brady will do an intimate solo show on June 7. Brady is close to finishing first his new album since 2005 and his Town Hall gig will doubtless feature material from that.
Further trad/folk highlights see Tigh Choili present the redoubtable Mairtín O’Connor on Monday May 4. What should be a thoroughly rousing gig sees O’Connor joined by Cathal Hayden, Seamie O’Dowd, and Don Stiffe.
The high-flying High Kings touch down at the venue on June 18 and there are gigs by Jimmy McCarthy (June 15 ) and former Eurovison winner Paul Harrington (May 7 ).
Leading soprano Virginia Kerr makes a welcome return on May 13. One of the most distinguished Irish sopranos of her generation, Virginia’s career ranges from opera to oratorio and the concert platform. With her ensemble of six of Ireland’s finest musicians this promises to be an evening of musical delights featuring popular arias, songs, and instrumental highlights.
On June 10 Opera UK arrive with their new staging of Rossini’s much-loved Barber Of Seville in an English translation by Simon Butterriss.
This is a high spirited, merry romp, that provides its audience with a string of operatic hits, set among the dizzying action. It is justifiably one of the all time favourites of the operatic repertoire.
Following on from their hugely successful tour of Cosi Fan Tutte, Opera UK will mount their new production along the same lines - with an English libretto beautifully played and sung, pretty sets and lighting, with costumes worn by a cast who have the right age and looks to play the roles, and a production that gives great importance to good acting and stylish staging.
Moving onto theatre and two of the major highlights are Druid’s revivals of their award-laden productions, The New Electric Ballroom and The Playboy Of The Western World.
One of the hits of last year’s Galway Arts Festival, Enda Walsh’s New Electric Ballroom went on to be named Best New Play in the 2008 The Irish Times Theatre Awards.
The play is a coiled, dark, glitter-dusted fable of the emotionally stultifying effects of small-town life. It draws us deep into the world of three sisters in a remote fishing village, trapped in the years that have passed since their halcyon days at the titular Ballroom, and their enduring obsessions with dark memories of something resembling romance.
Directed by Garry Hynes and featuring Rosaleen Linehan, Ruth McCabe, Catherine Walsh, and Mikel Murfi, it runs from April 15 to 19.
Centrepiece of the epic, and lavishly praised, DruidSynge enterprise, The Playboy Of The Western World returns for a short run from June 2 to 6, as part of a British and Irish tour marking the centenary of Synge’s death. Widely hailed as the definitive production of Synge’s savagely funny and best-known work, Druid’s Playboy is one of the iconic Irish theatre productions of our times and is sure to wow audiences once again in this latest revival.
Two veterans of the Irish theatre circuit make welcome returns with crowd-pleasing solo-shows. Eamonn Morrissey brings his much-loved Flann O’Brien compilation, The Brother, to the Town Hall for two nights only on June 16 and 17.
First performed in 1974, Morrissey’s captivating celebration of O’Brien’s comic genius has lost none of its capacity to entertain and delight.
Des Keogh performs John B Keane’s hilarious Confessions Of An Irish Publican from May 27 to 29, in which the lives of the colourful inhabitants of Knocknanee are brilliantly evoked as Keogh switches effortlessly from character to character.
Major new stage productions are less in evidence in the new season - somewhat disappointingly. The two principal ones are Upstate Live’s The Submarine Man on April 1. No less intriguing is Conor Lovett’s solo staging of Herman Melville’s epic ‘whale of a tale’ Moby Dick which he presents on May 11 and 12
International hit show Mum’s The Word arrives in a new Irish staging featuring Twink and Flo McSweeney from May 18 to 23, promising a hilarious and intimate look at motherhood.
Full details of the Town Hall programme which also includes comedy, film and more, can be had from www.tht.ie or 091 - 569777.