Arts Column with Conor Malone

This Week

This Week

The Laughter Lounge returns to Voodoos Greenroom Live tonight with Joe Rooney as the headline act. There’s a rock festival out on Arranmore Island on Saturday featuring the likes of Mojo Gogo, Mark Black, The Heads of State, Take The Stand and In Their Thousands.

The Butt Drama Circles teen musical Disco Inferno starts a five night run at The Balor next Tuesday, August 21 and continues nightly to Saturday, August 25. Also on Tuesday, there’s music at An Grianan from John McNicholl and Sean Cuddy while The Alley in Strabane present Galatea – a play that takes a fresh look at Pygmalion from a gay perspective.

Finally, Jedward are at The Millennium Torum next Wednesday, August 22.

Some Good Gigs Confirmed

I’m just back from a relaxing week or so holidays but you never really stop working do you? While I’ve been on my ‘break’, we’ve managed to confirm two gigs that have been in the pipeline for quite a while – and they’re both going to be very tasty indeed: Scullion on Saturday, September 29 and Damien Dempsey on Saturday, November 17.

Three decades ago Scullion, along with the likes of Horslips and Moving Hearts, were part of a hugely influential movement that took Irish musical roots and fused it with modern folk and rock influences to pioneer a whole new Irish folk rock scene. Need your memory jogged? Type ‘Scullion Eyelids Into Snow’ into youtube and, if you’re old enough, I guarantee it’ll bring back memories.

The trio – Sonny Condell, Philip King and Robbie Overson - are touring on the back of their first album release for over 20 years. Long Wave will be launched at the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork on September 27, just two days before their Balor gig which will feature new music as well as a journey through the band’s back catalogue. Oh, and as an extra little bonus, support on the night will come from The Henry Girls.

Also coming to the north west on the back of an album launch is Damien Dempsey. His brand new studio album, which has been four years in the making, is called Almighty Love and will be released September 28. It’s already available to pre-order from iTunes Ireland and the first single – title track Almighty Love – should be hitting the radio stations any day now.

It’s been four years since Damien last visited the Balor and his return is long overdue. He’s one of those powerful performers that fills the room with pure emotion and makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck – one of my favourites.

Scullion play The Balor on Saturday, September 29 with support from The Henry Girls. Tickets are €20 and are on sale now. Damien Dempsey plays The Playhouse in Derry (£15 sterling) on Wednesday November 7, McGrory’s in Culdaff on Thursday 8th and is in The Balor on Saturday November 17th. Tickets for the Balor gig are €17.50 and I’d imagine McGrory’s are priced at in or around the same.

Disco Inferno

Next week sees the Butt Drama Circle’s summer musical Disco Inferno enjoy a five night run at The Balor. The summer musical is now something of an annual event. This is now the fourth year running that casts of between 30 and 60 local teenagers have devoted their summers to rehearsing and performing a musical. The standard of the previous three years has been incredibly high and, taking a peek at the rehearsals in full flow, this year’s is on course to match if not surpass previous productions.

Disco Inferno tells the story of Jack who has a burning desire to make it in the music business at any cost. Working late in a New York nightclub called Disco Inferno, he meets Lady Marmalade –right-hand lady to the Devil himself. The ambitious Jack strikes a Faustian pact with the femme fatale, trading his soul to fulfil his wildest fantasies.

Featuring an amazingly talented cast of over 30 teenagers from the Finn Valley area and including 70’s classics from Air Supply, Elton John, Gloria Gaynor, Earth Wind and Fire and much much more, Disco Inferno is an unmissable showcase of local singing, dancing and acting talent.

Disco Inferno runs from next Tuesday, August 21 to Saturday, August 25. There’s an opening night offer of €8 a ticket for the Tuesday night. The other nights are priced at €12 for adults, €8 for students and €30 for a family of four. Ring The Balor on 074 913 1840 for bookings and more information.

A dramatic September at An Grianan

An Grianan are in the process of finalising their autumn season and a quick look ahead at a couple of their September events shows some promising upcoming drama – both local and national.

The highlight of their autumn drama season is undoubtedly the visit of The Abbey with Sean O Caseys the Plough and the Stars. Heartbreaking, disturbing and funny, O Casey’s masterpiece tells the story of Jack and Nora Clitheroe who live in a tenement house through the historic events of 1916. One hundred years later, with the nation once again in the throes of crisis, the themes of individual principles and the ideals of the Republic are still very much relevant.

The Plough and The Stars runs at An Grianan from Tuesday, September 25 to Saturday, September 29 at 8pm nightly with an additional matinee showing at 2pm on the Saturday. Tickets are priced at €25 for the evening shows and €20 for the Saturday afternoon show.

Another classic play from the Irish canon – John B Keane’s The Field will be performed at An Grianan by the Letterkenny Panto Society from Wednesday, September 12 to Saturday, September 15.

It’s a classic tale about the Irish and their love of land and the mightly Bull McCabe – who loses the plot figuratively and literally when the land he’s rented for years is to be auctioned – is one of the great enduring characters of Irish theatre.

Tickets for The Field are €15, €10 concession and €25 for a pair – ring An Grianan on 074 912 0777 for further details.