Town Hall - coming attractions

Des Bishop’s on his way to the Town Hall in January.

Des Bishop’s on his way to the Town Hall in January.

AS THE curtain comes down on one year, the Town Hall is already raising it for the New Year with the release of its programme details from January to March 2009. It’s a packed schedule of quality theatre, music, dance, and comedy with much to look forward to.

Theatre

Highlights include productions of King Lear, Brian Friel’s The Home Place, Marina Carr’s Woman and Scarecrow, and Cecelia Ahern’s stage debut Mrs Whippy, which comes to the venue after a crowd-pleasing run in Dublin.

Local company Heart’n’Crown get the theatrical ball rolling with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (January 15 to 17 ) and, from January 26 to 31, Aidan Dooley returns with his terrific solo show Tom Crean Antarctic Explorer which has enjoyed numerous acclaimed sell-out performances throughout Ireland, USA, Australia, and Europe.

That same week there’s a real treat for younger audiences with an enthralling staging of Judith Kerr’s popular children’s book, The Tiger Who Came To Tea (daytime performances, January 27 to 31 ).

The ever-dependable Second Age arrive in February (3 to 7 ) with King Lear, featuring RSC associate artist Gerard Murphy as Lear. This Lear is set in a nation born out of civil war, and raised in the hothouse of the bitter northern conflict, and now the gangsters have taken over.

Bob Kingdom, who previously visited with his superb one-man Dylan Thomas show, returns from February 10 to 12 (in the studio ), with his latest solo offering in which he appears as Truman Capote.

From February 10 to 14, the main stage will be hosting Cecelia Ahern’s Mrs Whippy, which is sure to be one of the most popular plays of the season. This moving, heart-warming, and funny piece focuses on Emelda O’Grady, a 46-year-old woman dealing with five difficult sons, a split marriage, and a new job.

The soothing sounds of a Mr Whippy van arrive at just the right time for Emelda, only now it’s not just the ice-cream that is her only true friend. Cecelia Ahern mixes laughter with tears in equal measure to create this humorous portrait of a woman finding her own place in the world.

Local outfit Churchmouse Theatre are in the studio from February 16 to 21 with Nothing To Declare, an entertainment on the works of Oscar Wilde written and directed by Connor Maguire.

Brian Friel’s The Home Place runs from February 25 to 28, in a joint-production by the Lyric and Grianan theatres.

Friel’s brilliantly crafted drama is set the summer of 1878, a time of unrest amid the early days of the Home Rule movement. The play’s fateful events take place over a single day at The Lodge in Ballybeg, the Donegal home of the Gores, a planter family.

The Gores - father and son - are both in love with Margaret, their housekeeper. All three pursue a hopeful dream of freedom from their history and heritage and the “awful burden” of the big house. The fine cast includes Ian McElhinney, Lalor Roddy, Julia Dearden, and Miche Doherty.

March highpoints include a co-production between an Taibhdhearc and Moonfish of Ibsen’s Enemy of the People/Namhaid Don Phobail (March 5 to 8 ) and Prime Cut’s staging of Marina Carr’s Woman and Scarecrow, which plays for one night only on March 18. Full of bitter humour and brutal honesty this is a fierce, passionate and beautiful lament probing one woman’s attitudes to death and the life that came before it.

Music and comedy

Moving away from theatre, music highlights of the season include Music For Galway’s Russian Chamber Music Festival (January 23 to 25 ), gigs from Mundy (February 9 ), Johnny Duhan (February 19 ), Eddi Reader (February 23 ), Karen Underwood’s spell-binding tribute to Nina Simone (March 5 ), and the one and only Smokie on February 21. Music and theatre will come together in Genesis Theatre Production’s staging of Pink Floyd’s The Wall in Leisureland from March 26 to 28.

Comedians strutting their stuff at the venue over the coming months include Des Bishop (January 19 to 22 ) Neil Delamere (February 18 ), Conal Gallen (March 7 ), and Kevin McAleer (March 26 ).

The above is just a sampling of the many delights on offer from the venue and full details of the programme can be obtained from the Town Hall at 091-569777.

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