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Gig of the Week: Sebastian Barry’s Steward of Christendom gets a timely revival at the Gate

Plus: Paddy Power Comedy Festival, Sligo Jazz Festival, The Cher Show, Albatross and Trousdale

The Steward of Christendom

From Thursday, July 21st, until Saturday, September 3rd; Gate Theatre, Dublin; 7.30pm, Saturday matinees 2.30pm; from €15;

It’s 25 years since Sebastian Barry’s classic play last graced the Gate stage, and talk about coming back with a bang. Owen Roe stars in this timely new production, playing the former Dublin Metropolitan Police officer Thomas Dunne, who is looking back on his career as the DMP’s final chief superintendent — particularly the turbulent events of 1922 and the handover of Dublin Castle to Michael Collins. It is 1932, and Dunne is now a patient in a county home in Baltinglass, haunted by ghosts of the past and plagued by unreliable memories of his family. You can bet Roe will deliver a tour de force of a central performance, and the Gate will be touring the production — which is directed by Louise Lowe, of Anu theatre company — to the Everyman in Cork (September 6th-10th) and the Lime Tree Theatre in Limerick (September 13th-17th).

Sligo Jazz Festival

From Tuesday, July 19th, to Sunday, July 24th; various venues, Sligo; various prices;

After a Covid-enforced two-year absence, Sligo Jazz Festival returns with the promise of an eclectic mix of styles from some of the finest performers in Europe and the United States. Prepare to gorge on fusion, straight-ahead bop, modern and ambient jazz and funk, and whatever you’re having yourself. The line-up includes an opening-night extravaganza featuring the UK all-star band TRYPL (Tuesday, July 19th; Hawk’s Well Threatre); the Norwegian jazz tubist Daniel Herskedal (Wednesday, July 20th; Hawk’s Well Theatre); the UK composer and bandleader Nikki Iles, with her specially assembled jazz orchestra (Thursday, July 21, Hawk’s Well Theatre) and the rising star of the New York jazz scene Ashley Pezzotti (Friday, July 22nd; Hawk’s Well Theatre). At the Sligo Jazz Project 2022 International Summer School, running parallel to the festival, some of the festival’s guests will share their expertise with the youth academy.


From Tuesday, July 19th, to Sunday, July 31st; Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin; 7.30pm/3.30pm; €20/€18;

You can’t beat a good, creaky old seafaring yarn, and this production uses Coleridge’s Mariner as the starting point for an exploration of our tempestuous relationship with the natural world. Written by Matthew Spangler and Benjamin Evett, and performed by Evett, Albatross is inspired by an ancient text but has a lot to say about how our actions in modern times impact on all living things. Director Rick Lombardo uses multimedia technology to immerse the audience in a maelstrom of sound and vision, with the Mariner at its centre, doomed to forever sail the seven seas and tell his sorry tale.


Wednesday, July 20th; Whelan’s Upstairs, Dublin; 8pm; €15;; plus Thursday, July 21st; Dolans, Limerick; 8pm; €14;

This powerhouse country-folk-pop trio from Los Angeles have found the sweet spot somewhere between Dixie Chicks and Haim. They’ll be showcasing their incredible harmonies and heartfelt tuneology when they arrive for gigs in Dublin and Limerick. Quinn D’Andrea, Georgia Greene and Lauren Jones formed the band in college in 2014, but in 2020, with the world in lockdown, they embraced the power of social media, gaining more than a million likes and 100,000 followers on TikTok. No surprise — their covers of songs such as Neil Young’s Old Man and Beach Boys’ Wouldn’t It Be Nice, combined with originals such as Bad Blood and This Is It, make for a headspinning and heartwarming concoction.


The Cher Show

Tuesday, July 19th, to Saturday, July 30th; Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, 7.30pm/2.30pm; from €21;

Get ready to turn back time and believe in this new musical about the pop queen, now in her sixth decade of superstardom. You could call The Cher Show a jukebox musical, but this jukebox would be gold-plated, diamante-encrusted and covered with sequins and pearls. Debbie Kurup, Millie O’Connell and Danielle Steers all star as the titular pop titan, and between them they have the three stages of Cher covered: the 1960s pop princess, the 1980s rock goddess and the turn-of-the-millennium disco diva. The show, written by the man behind Jersey Boys, will tell the story of Cher’s rise to stardom and how she was strong enough to do it her way, with choreography by the Strictly Come Dancing winner Oti Mabuse and fabulous costumes by Gabriella Slade, who has done wardrobe duty on the Spice Girls’ world tour.

Paddy Power Comedy Festival

Thursday, July 21st, to Sunday, July 24th; Iveagh Gardens, Dublin; from 4pm; €10-€35 per show;

What’s the collective noun for stand-up comics? Is it a giggle of comedians? A chuckle of comics? Whatever, there’ll be some serious collective grinning when the Paddy Power Comedy Festival pitches its big tents in the Iveagh Gardens, in Dublin, for the first time since 2019.

For many comedians, being stuck at home without an audience was no joke, so the comics will have extra-wide smiles on their mugs as they welcome back the fans (and the odd heckler) to this four-day laughathon across four fully seated venues in the city-centre walled garden. A host of home-grown household names are on the bill, including Tommy Tiernan, Dylan Moran, Deirdre O’Kane, Foil, Arms & Hog, Enya Martin, Kevin McAleer, Dirtibirds, Kevin McGahern, Neil Delamere and Jason Byrne.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist