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3D, 2D Movies, Culture-Live in Hd, Opera, Ballet & Theatre

Shakespeare’s “King Richard the 2nd” on NT Live from London’s Almeida Theatre

“In performance it must be melodious, well orchestrated, youthful, headlong, violent and vivid”  (Sir John Gielgud)

Shakespeare’s “King Richard the 2nd. Broadcast live on January 15th at 7 pm.Book Now

Teresa May isn’t the first English ruler to suffer nightmares because of an “Irish Problem” – on October 2nd, 1394, King Richard the 2nd landed in Waterford with 10,000 soldiers to chastise some ‘recalcitrant Irish Lords’. His nine months’ progress was deemed a success; warlords from all over Ireland submitted to him in person. Unfortunately (for Richard), in June 1398, Richard Mortimer, the King’s lieutenant, was killed by the Gaelic Irish near Carlow. The King wasn’t wise enough to stay away from our ‘troublesome land’ and in the following year he returned. It was one of his last great mistakes. His army was weakened by ambushes while the drain on the finances back home was extremely unpopular. He rushed home to quell a rebellion but Richard Bolingbroke (who succeeded him as King Henry 4th) soon deprived him of his freedom, his crown and his life. If Richard had stayed at home, we would have no “King Henry the 4th, Part One”, no Harry Hotspur or Prince Hal – countless Inter Cert students would have shouted “Halleluiah to that”! But then, we wouldn’t have Falstaff or Mistress Quickly either from the Great Dramatist. And no Henry the 8th, no Cromwell in our history books. Ah, what might have been!Richard the 2nd is a play about the dethronement of a reigning King, how power corrupts, about the downfall of the moral order, about treachery and of how ruling elites exploit their inferiors – in fact, a play for our times! So subversive and dangerous  was it considered to be that in every edition published during the reign of Elizabeth 1, the great abdication scene, where Richard cedes the throne to his cousin Bolingbroke, was omitted – the Queen was the subject of many conspiracies and she never felt secure on the throne.                            The plot develops on the following line:-  Richard, a weak monarch, as much poet and dreamer as he is King, is faced by an opportunistic rival. Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford and cousin to the King,  accuses Thomas Mowbray of murdering the King’s uncle. The King sentences Mowbray to exile for life and Bolingbroke to six years of banishment. When John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and uncle of Bolingbroke, dies, Richard seizes Gaunt’s estates – to pay for his upcoming Irish campaign. This illegal act gained him  powerful enemies, especially the Earl of Northumberland, father of Harry Hotspur. While Richard is in Ireland, Bolingbroke lands in Ravenspurgh, Yorkshire, in defiance of his banishment, and marches to Berkeley Castle. In a challenge to the King, Bolingbroke executes two of the latter’s great favourites, Bushy and Green. The populace sides with Bolingbroke and when Richard lands in Wales, he is imprisoned at Flint Castle. The rest is history ….I look forward to seeing Simon Russell Beale’s portrayal of Richard (a part that the late John Gielgud made his own), one of the least macho of English monarchs; Fiona Shaw has played the role in the National Theatre. This, the most poetic of the Bard’s plays, is also one of the most frequently produced.


What a great opportunity to see one of Shakespeare’s most interesting plays with a very strong cast. Well worth a visit, methinks!

From Jim Ryan.




Léirmheas Mary Poppins Returns

Tá Mary Poppins ar ais arís tar éis 54 bhliain. Seo é an dara scannán den tsraith agus is é Rob Marshall an stiúrthóir. Tá sé suite i Londain sna 1930í, 25 bhliain tar éis an chéad scannáin. Is iad Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Pixie Davies, Nathaniel Saleh agus Joel Dawson na príomhaisteoirí sa scannán seo… ach tá Meryl Streep agus Colin Firth le feiceáil sa scannán freisin!

Filleann Mary Poppins agus a draíocht ar ais go Londain 25 bhliain tar éis a céad cuairt. Tugann sí cuairt eile ar Jane agus Michael Banks (ach is daoine fásta iad anois) agus ar chlann Michael tar éis tubaiste clainne a tharla. Tríd a scileanna draíochta, agus le cabhair óna cara Jack, cabhraíonn sí leis an gclann chun áthas agus iontas a athaimsiú.

Cheapfaí nach mbeadh éinne eile ábalta an páirt Mary Poppins a dhéanamh, ach amháin Julie Andrews. Níl aon dabht ach go léiríonn Emily Blunt nach bhfuil sé sin fíor mar bhí sí go hiontach sa scannán seo. Tá go leor cosúlachtaí idir an dá scannáin, go háirithe na hamhráin agus mar sin, tá sé saghas athráiteach in áiteanna. Ach é sin ráite, is scannán greannmhar agus taitneamhach é atá foirfe do pháistí agus do dhaoine fásta araon agus níl dabht ar bith ach go mbeadh miongháire ar dhaoine tar éis an scannáin seo a fheiceáil.

Tamara Ní Shíocháin

Ráta 4.5/5

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Simon Callow performs Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”: Dec 11th, 8PM.

Simon Callow performs Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”: Tues, December 11th @ 8PM.

       I think I would travel to hear Simon Callow read the telephone Directory- I’m sure he would make it sound interesting. I’ve seen him live onstage a number of times in London and never saw him give a poor performance – for me, he is one of the treasures of the English-speaking theatre. When I think of him I think of all that is splendid in theatre. He has adorned the stage for more than forty years since his debut at the 1973 Edinburgh Festival – that debut was in a Scottish 1552 play, “The Three Estaites”, which I saw performed (abbreviated) at this year’s Edinburgh Festival.

Callow was born in London in 1949 of English, French, German and Danish ancestry, but spent some of his childhood years in Africa. He studied at Queen’s University, Belfast. After some further acting in Lincoln and in the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, he arrived in London’s West End in 1975. Important roles soon followed and in 1978 he played the role of Titus Andronicus in Shakespeare’s gory play at one of my favourite theatres, The Bristol Old Vic – a theatre which has given us some of the greatest actors in the English-speaking stage. (In 2017 I saw there a superb production of Eugene O’Neill’s magical and monumental play, “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”, starring Jeremy Irons). Callow joined the National Theatre in 1979, where he played Orlando in “As You Like It” and Mozart in Peter Shaffer’s “Amadeus”. Later on, in the glorious film of the latter (because of the soundtrack, if nothing else – Mozart’s heavenly music), he gave us a memorable Emanuel Schikaneder, that theatre manager, librettist (he wrote the libretto of Mozart’s immortal opera, “The Magic Flute” – many regret that task wasn’t assigned instead to Lorenzo da Ponte  but that’s for another day!) and man of many parts. Simon also acted in a 1983 BBC Radio production of the play with its original cast– a recording of same is one of my most treasured possessions. He has made acclaimed appearances on TV and in movies and reading Audio Books, in Voiceovers, and TV serials and series.

His 1984 autobiographical and critical book, “Being an Actor”, was described by Sir Ian McKellen, as:- “The most honest book ever written about us all”. His attack on the excesses of modern Directors, both theatrical and operatic (he is also an acclaimed Director of opera), will bring joy to many of us who love both, as we suffer at times from the rampant self-promotion of those Directors who seem to think they are greater than Shakespeare, Mozart, Beethoven, Miller or whoever. His account of the week he spent as an ageing Michael MacLiammor’s Dresser is magical. And somewhere along the way, he found time to write a massive and acclaimed four-volume biography of another theatrical giant (in every sense!), the great but unfulfilled master, Orson Welles.

The story of Callow’s venturing into acting is often told; of his writing a fan letter to Sir Laurence Olivier, during the great man’s tenure as Artistic Director of The National Theatre. Olivier replied that he might like to come and work in the theatre’s Box Office. He did so and what he saw of the actor’s life led to his adoption of the profession.He has had a long association with Charles Dickens’s life and characters. Quite a few years ago, I saw him in “The Mystery of Charles Dickens” by Peter Ackroyd, and he was just masterly to behold

“A Christmas Carol“ is simply one of the most widely known stories ever written – its main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, has gained his place in the English language; since Dickens’ day, misers have so often been described as ‘Scrooges’, even by those who never read a word of the story. He has been, on countless occasions, given life in Film, in Cartoons, in the theatre, on TV and in countless other media since the story was written in October and November of 1843 and published in December of the same year. It’s a glorious tale of selfishness and greed but also of fellow feeling and redemption, that’s sure to “warm the cockles of your heart’ in these dreary December days.

Sorry if I repeat a word I’ve been known to use here previously  – but Simon Callow in “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, just two weeks before Christmas, has to be Unmissable. Watch a master ply his trade!

Jim Ryan.

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King Lear, NTLive Preview

”Ian McKellan reigns supreme in this triumphant production”. (Evening Standard)

Sir Ian McKellan, one of England’s greatest-ever actors, was born in Burnley, Lancashire in May 1939. He is, therefore, ideally qualified age-wise to play Shakespeare’s ageing king, who’s about to abdicate and thus set in train a cruel and calamitous train of events. I saw him undertake the role some years ago and wasn’t convinced that I saw Sir Ian at his best. Happily, his current assumption of the role in London’s West End is being hailed as a triumph. After so many years as a great of Stage, Screen, Radio and Television, I believe we have a treat in store at SGC. He is an actor I have seen live in the theatre on quite a few occasions and he rarely fails to excel. The review quoted at the head of this piece is representative of many such favourable assessments of the production.

The great Shakespearean scholar, A C Bradley, wrote:- “’King Lear’ has been described as Shakespeare’s greatest work, the best of his plays, the tragedy in which he exhibits most fully his multitudinous powers; and if we were doomed to lose all his tragedies except one, probably the majority of those who love him best would pronounce for keeping ‘King Lear’”. Late in his life, Richard Burton said that one of his great regrets was that he would never play Lear; it’s a tumultuous role demanding energy and the physical strength to carry his daughter, Cordelia. Lear is the Everest for actors who continue to act in later years.

‘King Lear’ can, in a good production, provide a memorable evening’s theatre that asks questions about human nature like no other play I know of. It has suffering, evil, reconciliations, cruelty, one of drama’s loveliest creations, Cordelia, and one of its great villains, Edmund –  along with some of the most magical poetry ever written. No one should lightly pass up a chance to see this towering play.

Shakespeare, the great poet/dramatist, has been on a pedestal for four centuries:- “He was not of an age but for all time”: (Ben Jonson, 1573 – 1637); “He was the man who of all the modern, and perhaps ancient poets, had the largest and most comprehensive soul”: (John Dryden, 1631 – 1700); “Our myriad-minded Shakespeare”: (Samel Taylor Coleridge, 1772 – 1834); and “Shakespeare, the nearest thing in incarnation to the eye of God”: (Sir Laurence Olivier, 1907 – 1989). For many, he is the world’s greatest dramatist who has created some of the greatest roles. Hamlet, Lear, Macbeth, Othello, Falstaff, Coriolanus, Iago and Prospero amongst the men; Lady Macbeth, Rosalind, Cleopatra, Portia,, Juliet, Desdemona, Viola, Volumnia and Olivia are marvellous females.

‘King Lear’ is seen by some as one of the great dramas of world literature and its author’s masterpiece. Such was the fascination it held for the composer, Guiseppe Verdi, that he expended more energy and thought on a ‘Lear’ opera (which never materialised) than on any of his operas. Shelley, described it as “the most perfect specimen of the dramatic art existing in the world”. A couple of centuries ago, that supreme essayist, Charles Lamb, dismissed it as the story of “an old man tottering about the stage with a walking-stick, turned out of doors by his daughters on a rainy night … The Lear of Shakespeare cannot be acted” – Lamb was wrong; it has had many memorable productions.

The plots centre around King Lear and the Duke of Gloucester; Lear’s experiences with his daughters has parallels with Gloucester’s dealings with his sons. Lear, a king in ancient Britain is over eighty years of age, and is about to abdicate. He sets up a ludicrous love test to see which of his three daughters loves him most. He rewards the flattering praise of his two eldest, Goneril and Regan. When the youngest, his favourite, Cordelia, refuses to compete in this charade, he becomes enraged, banishes her and divides her third of the kingdom between the other two.

To  In a rage at his humiliating treatment by his daughters and their servants, Lear rushes out on the stormy, rain-lashed heath where he learns about the worthlessness of worldly power. Meanwhile, the Earl of Gloucester is at the centre of a massive deception. His illegitimate son, Edmund, a ruthless, villain, convinces him that his loyal son, Edgar, is intent on killing his father. Edgar is hunted from court, and wanders around disguised as a naked beggar. The outcome for virtually all concerned is “cheerless, dark and deadly”.

Robert Eager wrote:- “Here is a family tragedy in which fathers are set against children, children against their fathers, brother against brother, sister against sister. It is a story of bitterness, jealousy, hatred, revenge and betrayal. It is about vanity, deceit and death. Opposed to all this nastiness are the virtues of love, loyalty, honesty and compassion”.  This drama of a dictatorial, petty old man deluded by the trappings of power, has scenes of elemental and terrible power. Lear on the heath, Gloucester’s savage punishment and the remorse of a chastened Lear, cognisant of his tragic errors; these are scenes that haunt the imagination. It is arguably Shakespeare’s most memorable tragedy.

‘King Lear’ is a play of redemption through suffering and the attainment of self-knowledge. In 1681, Nahum Tate, rewrote ‘King Lear’ giving it a happy ending, Lear is restored to his throne, Cordelia marries Edgar and all is well. Today we treasure the play as Shakespeare wrote it. ‘King Lear’ live from the National with the great Sir Ian –  miss it at your peril!

[Fogra: The three Oscar Wilde comedies by the Classic Spring Theatre Company that we’ve seen of late at SGC have been, for me, bordering on perfection. Thus, Dominic Dromgoole’s production of “The Importance of being Earnest” on Tuesday, October 9th, bids fair to be one of our 2018 highlights. Put it in your diary!]

Jim Ryan


Sir Ian McKellan as ‘King Lear’, NTLive. Broadcast here live Thurs, Sept 27 @ 7PM. Take a look at the preview.


Léirmheas The Predator

Tá an tsraith ‘Predator’ ar ais le athchóiriú na clasaiceach a thosaigh i 1987. Stiúir Shane Black an scannán ficsean eolaíochta seo agus scríobh sé an script chomh maith le Fred Dekker. Is iad Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, agus Sterling K. Brown na príomhcharactair sa scannán agus bhí ról caimeo ag Shane Black anuas ar bheith ina stiúirtheoir.

Buíochas leis na trí uasghrádú géiniteach, tá na sealgairí is marfaí sa domhan ar ais níos láidre, níos cliste agus níos measa ná riamh. Sa scannán seo, tógtar an fiach as an spás amuigh go dtí na bruachbhailte mar gheall ar bhuachaill óg. Braitheann todhchaí an domhain ar ghrúpa d’iar-shaighdiúirí agus ar bhitheolaí éabhlóideach.

Níl aon dabht ach go bhfuil an scannán seo saghas difriúil ón na scannáin eile mar tá sé greannmhar chomh maith leis an aicsean. Tá go leor gnéithe den scannán go maith ach uaireanta, chuir an meascán de ghreann agus dáiríreacht mearbhall orm. Ach é sin ráite, tá go leor pointí maith ag an scannán, le plota suimiúil, éifeachtaí fhísiúil den scoth agus go leor aicsin.

Tamara Ní Shíocháin

Ráta 3/5

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Léirmheas Black 47

Níl aon dabht ach go raibh 1847 an bhliain is measa i stair na hÉireann agus faoi dheireadh, 170 bliain ina dhiaidh sin, rinneadh an chéad scannán faoin Gorta Mór. Cuireadh Black 47 amach i bpictiúrlanna in Éirinn an tseachtain seo. Bhí sé stiúrtha ag Lance Daly agus tá aisteoirí iontacha sa scannán freisin idir na haisteoirí idirnáisiúnta agus na hÉireannaigh.

Bhí Martin Feeney (James Frecheville) ag troid leis an arm na Breataine in Afganastáin agus nuair a thánaig sé ar ais go dtí Conamara, bhí gach mac máthar imithe (fuair siad bás den ocras nó bhog said go Meiriceá), a chlann san áireamh. Thug Feeney faoi deara gur bhain roinnt daoine Éireannacha tairbhe as an nGorta mar bhí said ag obair leis na Briotanaigh. Sa scannán, tá sé ag iarraidh díoltas a bhaint amach ach ag an am céanna tá sé ag iarraidh pionós a sheachaint mar thréigh sé an arm.

Is rud an-tábhachtach í an Ghaeilge sa scannán mar úsaidtear an Ghaeilge chun idirdhealú a dhéanamh idir na daoine a bhí ag fulaingt agus na daoine a bhí ag baint tairbhe as an nGorta. Ina theannta sin, is léir go ndearna siad a lán taighde mar go raibh go leor fíricí stairiúla ann. Ach ó am go chéile, tá sé soiléir nach raibh buiséad an-mhór acu go háirithe sna radhairc trodaireachta. Ach é sin ráite, is é an chéad scannán faoin Gorta Mór, bhí an aisteoireacht thar barr agus bhí an cineamatagrafaíocht an-éifeachtach.


Tamara Ní Shíocháin

Ráta: 4/5BOOK NOW

Leirmheas The Meg

Tá Jason Statham mar an carachtair Jonas Taylor a bhfuil ina tumadóir domhainfharraige a bhí ar scor ach anois tá a iarbhean chéile i dainséar go domhain faoi uisce. Mar sin tá air dul ar misean í a shábháil. Ach bhí níos measa fós le teacht. Tá siorc mór millteach réamhstairiúil ag fánaíocht an fharraige. Níl mórán le plota an scannán seo seachas an siorc ag bhaint ghreim as gach uile rud agus duine ina mbealach. Tá foireann ann ag iarradh an siorc a stopadh sula mbeidh ródhéanach. Tá orthu obair le chéile ríomh a bhíonn an domhain ina cíor thuathail. . Li Bingbing iontach mar an carachtair Suyin, fásann an caidreamh idir an bheirt. Cuireann an chaidreamh go mhór le daonnacht an scannán. Is léir go baineadh geit asat ag breathnú ar an scannán seo, mar go bhfuil na íomhánna den siorc comh réadúil sin! Bailigh do chairde le chéile agus breathnaigh ar an scannán gníomhach seo.


Claire Ní Neachtain

Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” PREVIEW

NT LIVE, Wed, Sept 12 @ 7pm.

Ablaze with energy … a delight”; (The Independent): “Giggles galore”; (The Times)

“The Merry Wives”, while it’s never acclaimed by Professors, is one of its authors most popular and most performed plays. It’s also one of the most often filmed (in varying adaptations) of his plays. It’s Shakespeare having some fun and its knockabout comedy has made it ever-loved. There are many ways to acquire money, and Falstaff hits upon a very neat device – in straitened times, he decides to seduce the wives of two wealthy husbands as his means of succour.

In his two King Henry 4th plays, William Shakespeare created Falstaff, one of the greatest comic creations in all drama – a character who, it has been maintained, is more alive than many real life people could ever be. The fat knight is a “lovable rogue”, an indefatigable source of endless wit, mischief and good humour in adversity. Mistress Quickly’s description of his death (in “Henry the Fifth”) is one of the most beautiful and poignant in all literature. For many of us, Orson Welles’ black and white film based, “Chimes at Midnight”, based on the rascally, fat old knight, is one of the glories of the cinematic art.

Legend has it that Queen Elizabeth 1, having seen the King Henry 4th plays and having delighted in the ageing knight’s antics, asked Shakespeare to write a comedy around his further exploits – if true, she must have been a mere Princess at the time because all the evidence suggests that the earlier plays were written between 1596 and 1598 and “The Merry Wives” in the years before the turn of the century; and, of course, she didn’t accede to the throne till 1603.We know that she saw the play performed, in 1597.

This hilarious comedy, its author’s only domestic comedy, is the most laugh-out-loud of all his plays – Shakespeare having some fun, in this case at Falstaff’s expense. He had promised something along these lines in the prologue at the end of “King Henry the Fourth: Part Two” but omitted the fat reprobate in the succeeding play. But it must be said that the Falstaff in “Merry Wives” is only a pale shadow of his previous selves.

In the play, convinced that no woman could resist his charms, woos two prosperous married women, Mistresses Ford and Page, and sends them identical letters. They ‘compare notes’ and decide to arrange separate assignations with him so as to humiliate him. Ford, on learning of Falstaff’s attempted adultery with Mistress Ford, goes to him in disguise and pretends that he seeks a liaison with the same woman (his wife). Falstaff tells him of his own plans to meet her. It all ends badly for the would-be seducer and he makes his escape in a laundry basket, later to be dumped ignominiously in the Thames. There are also many episodes around the many suitors trying to win Miss Anne Page and it all amounts to Shakespeare’s happiest play.

But “all’s well that ends well’ and at the end all, including the put-upon hero, are happy. All is forgiven. It has all been a sport. From the famed RSC, it should leave us clutching our sides in laughter. A great author, a marvellous play, a world-famous company and all Live at SGC – what more could any theatre-lover ask for!

[Fogra: My favourite Puccini opera, “La Boheme”, recorded at one of the world’s most spectacular venues, Sydney Harbour, is being screened at SGC on Thurs, Sept 13th at 7pm. It should be a great event for opera lovers.]      (Jim Ryan).


Learmhais Christopher Robin

Bhí cliú agus cáil ar Winnie the Pooh ar fud an domhain agus cuimhníonn a lán daoine Christopher Robin mar an páiste a d’imir leis an mbéar sa “Hundred Acre Wood”. Bhí an scannán stiúrtha ag Marc Forster agus scríofa ag Alex Ross Perry ón scéal a bhí scríofa ag Greg Brooker agus Mark Steven Johnson. Ach, tá an scannán seo difriúil mar is é an chéad uair atá na carachtair cáiliúil sa scannán “live-action” ar an scáileán mór. Is iad Ewan McGregor agus Hayley Atwell na príomhaisteoirí agus guthaigh Jim Cummings agus Brad Garrett na príomhcharachtair.Sa scannán feicimid Christopher Robin agus é fásta suas. Is léir gur chaill sé a shamhlaíocht ach nuair a bhuail sé le Winnie the Pooh gan choinne, athríonn é sin. Chaill Pooh a chairde (Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, Owl, Rabbit, Kanga agus Roo) agus téigh sé ar ais go dtí an “Hundred Acre Wood” le Christopher Robin chun iad a fháil. Nuair a bhíonn siad go léir le chéile arís, téann said go Londain agus taispeánann siad na rudaí atá tábhachtach sa saol do Christopher.Is léamh áilinn ar an gclasaic é an scannán seo, gan dabht. Rud amháin nár mhaith liom ná go raibh an chuid is mó den am scáileáin ag baint le Christopher Robin, Pooh agus Tigger. Bheadh sé go deas chun níos mó faoi na charactair eile a fheiceáíl ach é sin ráite, tá na trí charactar sin go hiontach agus mar sin, ní raibh sé go leor chun é a mhilleadh. Is scannán iontach é do theaghlaigh, gan dabht ar bith.

Ráta 4.5/5

Tamara Ní Shíocháin

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