The Arts Column

The Arts Column
By Conor Malone

By Conor Malone

Country singer Robert Mizzell plays The Alley in Strabane tonight. Tomorrow night (Friday January 31st) popular RTÉ presenter Ronan Collins brings his showband show Reeling In The Years to An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny tomorrow night while next-door The National & Blackwell Bluegrass Band play at The Regional Cultural Centre.

TV medium and spiritualist Derek Acorah is at The Balor, Ballybofey on Saturday 1st while Jammhouse – a showcase for local music – is at The Millennium Forum in Derry. Speaking of local talent, Highland Radio’s talent contest The Audition holds a heat at An Grianán on Sunday 2nd.

The Unremarkable Death Of Marilyn Monroe takes you inside the last hours of the film icons ultimately tragic life next Tuesday at An Grianan while the week ends as it began – with country music and Hugo Duncan’s Country First at The Millennium Forum, Derry.

Murder In The Theatre

People are dropping like flies at The Balor next week and you, the audience, have to determine who is responsible.

Murder On Skull Island, a murder mystery play promises to be a nerve tingling nights entertainment in which the audience get to play the detective. A group of people are invited to the island to receive a generous gift. One by one they are murdered. It’s up to you the audience to figure out by whom and why.

Is it the suspicious boatman, the antique dealer, the uninvited guest or the insane brother? As the story unfolds clues, hidden secrets and possible motives are revealed. In the interval before the final reveal the audience get to fill out their questionnaire as to who is the murderer and why with spot prizes for the correct answer.

The show itself is a fund raiser for the theatre. Even though we had a better year at the box office in 2013 than in 2012 it wasn’t enough to compensate for continuing funding cuts. So come along and enjoy an enthralling mixture of suspense and a bit of comedy while helping us to pay the bills and keep entertaining you throughout the year.

Murder On Skull Island takes place at The Balor, Ballybofey on Friday week February 7th at 8.30pm. Admission is €10 and tickets are available from The Balor Box Office on 0749131840 or online at

Remarkable Life, Unremarkable Death

The last hours of Hollywood icon Marylin Monroe are the subject matter for The Unremarkable Death of Marilyn Monroe at An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny next Tuesday.

Dyad Productions present Monroe as you’ve never seen her before – bereft of glitz and glamour, alone in her bedroom in dressing gown and slippers. Overdosed on pills, the woman behind the icon bares her soul revealing a biting intelligence, a frustrated talent and an imperfect body. This stark confessional offer a radical interpretation of the vulnerable human behind the legend while leading the audience, in real time, to the moment of her death.

Stunning, spellbinding, outstanding and startling are just some of the superlatives this show has garnered while amassing a host of 4 and 5 star reviews. Disregard the title because this show really is quite remarkable. The Unremarkable Death of Marilyn Monroe is at An Grianán next Tuesday February 4th at 8pm. Tickets are priced at €15 (€12 concession) and are available from An Grianan on 0749120777 or online at

5 for 50

The Unremarkable Death of Marilyn Monroe is one of the dramas included in An Grianán’s 5 for 50 offer. This is a great value offer where you get to see five dramas for €50.

Included in the list of upcoming theatre to choose from are productions from top companies like The Abbey (Quietly Friday 28th & Saturday 29th March)and Rough Magic (Jezebel Wednesday 19th February) and works from renowned authors such as Patrick McCabe (Livin’ Dread Theatre Co.’s The Bridge Below The Town Tuesday 18th & Wednesday 19th March) and Martin McDonagh (Decadent Theatre Company’s A Skull In Connemara Monday 24th & Tues 25th February).

When you consider that a ticket to The Abbey’s Quietly or Decadent’s A Skull in Connemara on their own will cost you €18 it really does underline just how good value this offer is. To avail of An Grianan’s 5 for €50 offer give them a call on 0749120777.

Trad in Threes

The aforementioned Murder On Skull Island comes amid a trio of trad/folk concerts at The Balor in the next week or so. On Thursday next February 6th Ballybofey accordionist Martin Tourish returns to his home town for a concert to raise money for STAG (Stranorlar Town Action Group). Since his last appearance in the Balor Martin has gone from strength to strength. He’s played the Royal Albert Hall with The Chieftains, the O2 Arena Dublin with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, the National Concert Hall with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and toured Europe with Altan. He’ll be joined on the night by a host of guests including The Donegal Abbey Singers and his mentor for many years, fiddler Paddy McMenamin.

On Saturday 8th The Crooked Jacks return to the Balor with Fine Girl Ye Are – a musical tribute to The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. With the reprise of classic songs such as The Holy Ground’, ‘Carrickfergus’ and ‘The Irish Rover’ interspersed with narration by RTE’s Cathal MacCabe detailing the fascinating story of this folk supergroup this show was very warmly received when it came here last September and we expect a similar response this time around.

Rounding out this trio of trad gigs are The Kilkennys who pay a visit on Wednesday February 12th.

Renowned for their incredible musicianship and vocal abilities this talented quartet of musicians have revitalised traditional Irish music adding their own touch of youth and energy. Touring across Europe they’ve become synonymous with modern Irish music successfully re-introducing Irish folk and ballads to a young audience while also winning the hearts of more seasoned traditional music lovers.

So, to recap, that Martin Tourish & Friends on Thursday February 6th, Fine Girl Ye Are on Saturday Feb 8th and The Kilkennys on Wednesday February 12th. Tickets available for The Balor Box Office on 074913140 or online at