The Guide: The events to see, the shows to book, and the ones to catch before they end

The best movies, music, art and more coming your way this week, including an intriguing collaboration of Damien Dempsey and Conor McPherson

Event of the week

Tales from the Holywell

Monday, January 30th, to Saturday, February 18th, Abbey Theatre, Dublin; 7.30pm; €45/€38/€25;

What a winning theatrical combination – director/playwright Conor McPherson (Girl from the North Country, The Weir) and Dublin singer-songwriter Damien Dempsey. The world premiere of this new Abbey production focuses on Dempsey’s life – from childhood and burgeoning songwriter to becoming one of the most admired and socio-realistic Irish performers of the past 20 years. Dempsey will, naturally, deliver robust and emotive work, while also reflecting on how he discovered his calling as a natural songwriter, and how his artistic vision and social conscience were formed, but how McPherson will shape and frame this story is the clincher. What to expect? One of the best musical theatre productions of the year, surely.


The 1975

Sunday, January 29th, 3Arena, Dublin; 7.30pm; €53 (sold out);; Monday, January 30th, SSE Arena, Belfast; 6.30pm; €37;

Divisive, you ask? You ain’t seen nothing yet is the answer. Despite their whip-smart pop music (their latest album, Being Funny In a Foreign Language, provides many examples), The 1975, and their lead singer, Matty Healy, have a knack for rubbing people up the wrong way. If advance reports of their current arena tour are anything to go by, that will continue. Sectioned into two distinct acts (a semi-theatrical first focusing on themes of contemporary masculinity, and a second of continuous hit songs), the stylised two-hour-plus show will either test the patience or give the fanbase even more reason to love the band.

Lewis Capaldi

Sunday, January 29th, SSE Arena, Belfast; 6.30pm; €56.50 (sold out);; Monday, January 30th, 3Arena, Dublin; 6.30pm; €55.30 (sold out);

A phenomenon is what you might call Glaswegian singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi. For starters, with this first single (Bruises, in 2017), he became the fastest-ever unsigned pop music act to reach 25 million plays on Spotify; and then with the release of his debut album (Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, in 2019), he leapfrogged playing the usual singer-songwriter circuit of intimate venues to play arenas (indeed, he is the first pop artist to sell out an arena tour before the release of a debut album). These Irish shows will preview new songs from Capaldi’s forthcoming second album, Broken by Desire to be Heavenly Sent.

Myles O’Reilly

Wednesday, February 1st, Prims Bookshop, Kinsale, Co Cork; 7.30pm; €16.87;; Thursday, February 2nd, Coughlans, Cork; 7.30pm; €15;; Friday, February 3rd, De Barras, Clonakilty, Co Cork; 9pm; €20;; Saturday, February 4th, Phil Grimes, Waterford; 7.30pm; €15 (no website)

About 13 years ago, multi-hyphenate artist Myles O’Reilly ditched music for filmmaking. Over the past two years, however, he has returned to his first love, initially with ambient/electronic albums Cabin Lights Off and My Mother’s Star, each under the label of Indistinct Chatter, and in the summer of last year, under his own name, with the song-based album, Cocooning Heart. Warm, inclusive and immersive, these are intimate gigs not to be missed.


The Residents

Friday, February 3rd, Button Factory, Dublin; 7pm; €32;

Hands up who can recognise any member of The Residents? The US-based band have been around since the mid-1960s, have secured their collective anonymity by wearing eyeball helmets on stage, and have over the decades continued to perplex their bemused fanbase with albums that run the gamut from avant-garde to thoroughly deconstructed pop/rock and many deviously experimental points in between. The rumour mill is great for business, however, and so the artful band (which may or may not still have the original founding members – who’s to know?) mine that for all it is worth. Is this their debut show in Ireland? Yes, it is. Form a disorderly queue, if you don’t mind.


The Rocky Horror Show

Monday, January 30th-Saturday, February 4th, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin; 7.30pm; €50/€45/€35/€30;

“This show contains scenes of an adult nature and rude parts!” advises the bumpf. If by chance you haven’t seen either the original 1975 movie (based on the 1973 stage production by Richard O’Brien) or its many subsequent theatrical productions, then you might be surprised, but if you have, then you’ll know what to expect. Part Frankenstein parody (via scientist Dr. Frank N. Furter, who creates the well-built Rocky) and part pioneering influence for the LGBTQ+ community (Frank N. Furter is an alien transvestite from the planet Transsexual), it remains a (bi)curiosity piece that may be tame by contemporary standards, but which is never less than entertaining.


James Coleman: Still Life, 2013-2016 (Yellow Version)

Until October 8th, Sir Hugh Lane Room, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin; admission free;

Co Roscommon installation and video artist James Coleman’s most recent work – a wordless, large-scale filmic projection of an uprooted poppy that initially seems motionless but over time reveals minuscule motion in the petals and roots – makes its debut in Ireland one year after its acquisition by the National Gallery, and what a mindful, meditative item it is. Coleman is now living in Ireland following some years in Milan and Paris. His choice of flower seems as much a representation of a specific culture as a signature elegance.

Still running

Emma Roche: Lined Out

Until March 11th. Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, Co Wicklow; add free;

The recipient of the 2021 Wexford Arts Centre Emergence Award, Emma Roche’s solo exhibition of new work comprises compelling textural paintings that work as descriptors for monotony in the workplace and the anxiety generated by openly repetitive labour.

Book it this week

Reggie’s Guide to Social Climbing at Everyman Theatre, Cork; March 8th-19th;
Nate Bargatze at Vicar Street, Dublin; March 10th;
Cultúr Club at National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Dublin; March 16th;
Mimi Webb at Live at the Marquee, Cork; June 16th;
Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture