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“MACBETH” Live from RSC, Stratford-upon-Avon

Wed April 11th @ 7.15pm

A production of “Macbeth” from Stratford is something to look forward to eagerly. The story of an essentially good man who, we are not sure why, turns to monstrous deeds, is endlessly fascinating.  The play is one of the most popular of all tragedies; it’s one of the most often filmed and most frequently staged of all its author’s plays.

“Macbeth” was always a joy to teach; a rivetting, fast-moving and easy-to-follow story with no subplots, enough action and violence to satisfy even the most bloodthirsty – and two of the most intriguing and repellent charters in all drama. Then, there are the mysterious witches and, above all, some of the greatest poetry ever set down. It’s also one of the shortest of all Shakespeare’s plays

The events of “Macbeth” move swiftly and unrelentingly from the meeting of “brave Macbeth”, the heroic, loyal defender of his king, to a conclusion of tragedy, cruelty and disloyalty. We are witnesses to the physical and moral destruction of somebody who is admired and trusted, brought low by the promptings of a ruthlessly ambitious wife; or, perhaps, by the evil promptings of the witches; or are these external agents merely catalysts that release hidden evil lurking within his psyche. Directors undertaking this play have come up with a myriad interpretations as to why such evil is released during the play.

How does Macbeth descend in a short period of from a loyal subject of King Duncan to being a regicide. It’s true that the witches first plant the seed in his mind but he is abhorred by the very thought of it. We soon encounter one of the greatest monsters in all literature, his wife, Lady Macbeth.

As the play opens, Macbeth is returning in triumph with his fellow soldier, Banquo, having defeated a rebellion against his King and country. On the heath, they are confronted by three witches (although they never refer to themselves as such, rather as the ‘weird sisters’ – from the Old English meaning ‘fate’ or destiny) who tell him that he “shalt be king hereafter”. He is horrified at the very thought of what the fulfilling of the prophecy might entail but is strangely engaged by it. He writes an ambiguous letter to his wife; she thinks him “too full of the milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way (i.e. act ruthlessly)”. She prays to the spirits to make her an inhuman monster free of all human feelings. Almost immediately she is bent on a murderous course and goads him, with taunts of unmanliness, into killing their guest, the King.

This evil act only leads to further atrocities. Ironically, while he revels in evil, she is destroyed by it. It has been said that the Macbeths are the perfect example of a couple who as a couple are capable of depraved deeds of which neither, acting alone, would be capable. The actress, Harriet Walter, says; – “None of it would have happened if either had been acting alone”.

“Macbeth”, Live from the Bard’s home town, is a must see for lovers of great drama.

By Jim Ryan

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Verdi’s “Macbeth” from Covent Garden: Royal Opera House

Wed April 4th@ 7.15pm.

Opera and theatre lovers are in for a special treat in early April – Verdi’s “Macbeth” from Covent Garden, followed a week later from RSC, Stratford-upon-Avon, by the great drama on which it was based, Shakespeare’s ‘Scottish play’; a play whose name many in the theatre will never speak because of their fears that to do so is to invite ill-luck. Verdi and Shakespeare are giants of the theatre and the former was a great admirer of the bard’s plays – he composed two other operas based on Shakespeare’s plays, “Falstaff” and “Otello”, and for much of his life grappled without success with an opera based on that tumultuous drama, “King Lear”.

“Macbeth”, broadly the same as in Shakespeare’s play, premiered in the Teatro della Pergola, Florence, on March 14th, 1847, the composer’s tenth opera. Although it wasn’t a great success originally, it was soon being performed throughout Italy and then all over Europe and is performed regularly all over the world ever since. I was performed in Dublin in 1869, with the legendary Pauline Viardot as the heroine. When Verdi was planning the opera, he wrote to his librettist, Francesco Maria Piave:- “This tragedy is one of the greatest creations of man”. He continued to revise it for many years after its first performance. It’s interesting to note that at the time of the opera’s composition the play had not been performed in Italy and was best known there as a ballet.

The role of Macbeth is a typical Verdi baritone role – his major aria, ‘Pieta, rispetto, amore’, which comes near the end of the opera, is a lament for his decline into evil. The role of Lady Macbeth (the theatrical couple are immortalised for me in the nineteen-seventies TV recording made by Judi Dench and Ian McKellan) is extremely difficult to cast. Verdi asked for a soprano voice that is dark and even ugly – she must ‘snarl’ her way through much of the opera and her voice must be flexible and of enormous range; the one and only Maria Callas was possessed of all the requirements. Matthew Boyden writes of the relatively primitive recording of a 1952 La Scala, Milan performance: “Despite the poor recorded sound, this set comes close to dramatic perfection”.

In composing “Macbeth”, Verdi tried to capture the power, the despair and the ferocity of one of the most intense and unrelenting plays ever written. He focused mainly on the three great entities in the play, Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and the witches. Due to the difficulty in filling the main female role, it’s not too often we get the opportunity to see this great opera. It should provide a thrilling evening. With the great Anna Netrebko (whom I saw on stage in a number of roles) as Lady Macbeth and Antonio Pappano conducting, it should provide a thrilling evening of opera. (Jim Ryan),

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Learmhais Tomb Raider

Gnáth-scannán aicsin taitneamhach go leor é an leagan nua de Tomb Raider. Déanann sé cúis ó thaobh radharcanna cruthaíocha, ach ná bígí ag lorg aon chruthaíochta ó thaobh scéil de.

An bealach is fearr chun cur síos a dhéanamh ar an laoch so ná, b’fhéidir, “an leagan baininscneach de Indiana Jones”. Feictear na clichés céanna i saol Lara Croft ó thaobh cultúracha iargúlta, cairdeas idirnáisiúnta cé is moite de na clichés sin, agus fiú amháin an t-amlíne céanna le Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) – tagann an príomhcharachtar ar a (h)athair (a bhí ar iarraidh) i lár misin chun oibiacht a bhfuil cumhacht ornádúrtha aici a aimsiú. Gheofaí a rá gur cóip iomlán de phlot Spielberg atá sa scannán so, scéal a bhí suimiúil sna 80idí ach nach bhfuil mórán gliondar ann san ath-dhéanamh.

Cé go raibh an dá scannán (Tomb Raider 2001 agus an leagan is déanaí) bunaithe ar shraith cluichí ríomhaire le scéalta eachtraíochta éagsúla, agus cé go bhfuil láthair agus oibiacht osnádúrtha difriúil ar an scannán seo i gcomparáid leis an gcéad scannán i 2001, feictear dom go bhfuil an bunscéal céanna athráite ann, agus do chuir sé sin mearbhall orm. Nár fearr aidhm agus fadhb éagsúil a thabhairt do Lara an lae inniu, in áit an scéil céanna? Táim cinnte go bhfuil níos mó sa chúlra ag an sraith cluichí sin ná athair Lara a aimsiú agus a bheith idir dhá chomhairle ó thaobh a shaol a shábháil – arís agus arís.

D’ainneoin easpa cruthaíochta, caithfidh mé dhá rud a mholadh sa scannán so: an stiúrthóireacht agus an ghrianghrafadóireacht – tá aicsean le feiscint ó thús go deireadh, rud a chuireann cluiche i gcuimhne dúinn gan stró, ach gan a bheith iomarcach ó thaobh cleasanna dochreidte de. Gheofaí níos mó ábhair a aimsiú do na “Mythbusters” i scannáin Indiana Jones nó James Bond. Maith siad! Tá an t-aicsean agus na radharcanna troda inchreidte don chuid is mó, ach fós an-spéisiúil. Tá na radharcanna go léir go hálainn, ag cruthú atmaisféir draíochtúil i ngach uile cuid den scannán. Ar iomlán, molaím an scannán so dóibh siúd atá ag lorg siamsaíochta simplí agus radharcanna spéisiúla. Níl an scannán so domhain in aon chor, ach seans gur fearr mar atá.

By Natália Uí Fhaoláin

3/5

Is Monster Family a Graveyard Smash?. Check out our review.

Monster Family is a new animated horror/comedy adventure movie which is a joint UK and German production from the book Happy Days by writer David Safier. The movie features an impressive voice cast which includes Jaspn isaacs. Nick Frost and Catherine Tate.Emily Wishbone (Emily Watson is the owner of a struggling bookshop and mother of two troublesome stroppy teenagers. The family seem to be stuck in a rut and Emma’s attempts to get her family to spend more time together seems to be going nowhere. In one last effort to reunite her family Emma make costumes for a Halloween party and drags along her family. Everything doesn’t go to plan though as while at the party the family catch the attention of a real life monster who with the help of a witch turn the entire Wishbone family into Monsters. Their only hope of returning to their normal selves is to find happiness as a family.The movie seems a little lazy script wise as the plot seems like there wasn’t a whole lot of time gone into it. Saying that the voice cast of largely British actors who do a great job holding things together quite well. The humour is very much old school slapstick and has very little decent laughs.  Teenagers and up may find this one a little basic but it seems like both animation and plot wise this movie is centred towards the younger viewer and should do more than ok with that audience in particular.

By Bill Tubbritt

Rating 3/5

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I, Tonya Review: Margot Robbie dazzles as Ice Queen Tonya Harding. .

I, Tonya is a new dark comedy film directed by Craig Gillespie and written by Steven Rogers. The Movie follows the life of figure skater Tonya Harding and in particular her connection to the infamous 1994 attack on her great skating rival Nancy Kerrigan. The cast consist of Margot Robbie who stars as Tonya Harding, Sebastian Stan plays Harding’s abusive husband Jeff Gillooly, and Allison Janney who really shines in the role of Tonya Harding’s mother. We are right in the middle of award season at the moment so expect to hear this one being mentioned a lot over the coming weeks.The Movie goes into the back story behind Tonya Harding the person really well as we learn about her abusive upbringing from her childhood right up to and including her marriage to husband Jeff Gillooly. I, Tonya certainly isn’t afraid to cover a lot of the serious issues of life, as well the abusive side to her life we also learn about the social snobbery Harding faced while trying to break into her chosen sport.Despite the serious content I, Tonya is actually a very funny movie which will get a lot of audiences laugh throughout. Most people will be familiar with the story of the 1994 events which truly turned Tonya Harding into a house hold name for all the wrong reason, but many will not know the full details or even the sketchiness of the facts behind them. I, Tonya the movie will shade a little bit more light on the story for many with this both entertaining and funny View.

By Bill Tubbritt

Rating  3.5/5 Book Now

Learmhais The Black Panther

Scannán as an gnáth é seo, ní hamháin mar gheall ar an Afra-thodhchaíochas (rud suimiúil ann féin), ach pléann Black Panther le fadhbanna an fíor-domhain – neamhchosúil le mórchuid scannáin maidir le sárlaoch.

Mar aon le scannáin siamsaíochta eile, níl cruinneas stairiúil nó cultúrtha i gceist le Black Panther – cé is moite den teanga a chloistear go minic ann (Xhosa, fíor-theanga ón Afraic Theas), is domhain ficseanúil a thaispeántar ann: tír saibhir san Afraic dárb ainm Wakanda. Feictear “tír bhocht tríú-domhain” ón taobh amuigh, ach níl ann ach cur i gcéill – cónaíonn pobal Wakanda fé phlús, timpeallaithe ag spáslonga agus teicneolaíocht an todhchaí, i bhfolach ón domhain mór ar eagla go dtiocfaidh eachtrannaigh ar vibranium – miotal ficseanúil an-luachmhar nach bhfuil teacht air áit ar bith eile. Cé gur féidir a rá go bhfuil cultúr Wakanda bunaithe ar steiréitíopaí fé treibheanna na hAfraice – agus níl ganntanas cáinte arlíne mar gheall ar “leithghabháil cultúrtha” – ceapaim féin go bhfuil fiúntas ar an iarracht. Ní féidir a dhiúltú gur céim chun tosaigh é an bealach a thaispeántar Wakanda sa scannán so i dtreo cothromaíochta cultúrtha i Hollywood. Níl sé foirfe, ach ar a laghad níl na afra-charachtair in am an ghátair nó ag obair don tiarna geal sa scannán so, mar a dhéantar de ghnáth i go leor leor scannáin móra. Is iad atá i gceannas orthu féin agus is acusan atá an teicneolaíocht is déanaí ar féidir léi an domhan (agus na daoine geala “sean-nósacha”) a shábháil.

Prionsa T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) é príomh-charachtar an scannáin, agus é díreach i ndiaidh a athair a chailliúint in ionsaí lasmuigh de Wakanda. Anois filleann sé go dtí a thír dúchais chun an coróin a chaitheamh. Ní bheith aistear gan deacracht aige, áfach, agus a chol ceathrar réidh chun dúshlán a chur air maidir leis an gcoróin. D’fhás Killmonger aníos i Meiriceá Thuaidh agus creideann sé gur chóir do Wakanda deireadh a chur leis an éagothroime sóisialta ar fud an domhain, seachas fanacht I bhfolach ar mhaithe le síochán. Dá bharr, feictear go soiléir go bhfuil coimhlint cultúrtha (idir an prionsa áitiúil coimeádach agus an prionsa “eachtrannach”) léirithe sa scannán níos mó ná aon rud eile. San am céanna, gheofá a rá gur sárlaoch as an gnáth atá I gceist le Black Panther: ní bhfuair sé a chumhacht osnádúrtha trí thimpist, “bhuaigh” sé é agus bhí an duais tuillte aige. Anuas air sin, níl scéal an scannáin chomh simplí le “bagairt ar an ndomhan” mar a fheictear I go leor scannáin sárlaoich. In ainneoin sin, tá príomhcheist an scannáin níos casta: ní “conas an domhan a shábháil”, ach “an fiú an domhan a shábháil”.Ó thaobh ceisteanna sóisialta, is fiú a lua go bhfuil go leor postanna neamhghnách ag carachtair baininscneacha: tá gardaí Wakanda ar fad baininscneach, agus feictear banphrionsa Shuri (Letitia Wright) ag obair mar eolaí agus an saineolas aici fé na gléasanna is déanaí atá ar fáil in Wakanda. Sochaí cothrom go leor is ea Wakanda, ach ní chiallaíonn sé sin nach bhfuil dúshláin le sárú acu – go háirithe ó thaobh caidrimh leis an saol mór lasmuigh. Ar iomlán, scannán álainn is ea Black Panther (cé is moite de na droch-éifeachtaí físe anso is ansúd) a bhfuil go leor aicsin agus scéal suimiúil ann. Fiú mura dtaitníonn scannáin sárlaoich leat, is fiú féachaint ar an gceann so mar gheall ar an mbealach a úsáidtear samhlaíocht chun ceisteanna an lae inniu a phlé.

5/5

Natália Uí FhaoláinBook Now

One of Marvel’s best Super Hero movies in a while. Black Panther Review

The MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) is showing no signs of slowing down in this the eight instalment from this extended super hero franchise. Black Panther is directed by Ryan Coogler from a screenplay by him and Joe Robert Cole. The movie stars Chadwick Boseman in the lead role as T’Challa / Black Panther. We first saw Boseman appearing as the Black Panther back in 2015 in Captain America: Civil War, this movie picks up the Black Panther story from their and leads us into this standalone movie for the character.  The movie has received much deserved praise for its cultural impact and impressive CGI affects with some suggesting it to be one of the best Marvel super hero movies in a long time.Following the death of the former king T’Chaka’s at the hands of Helmut Zemo, his son T’Challa, the current Black Panther, returns to Wakanda to assume the throne. When a powerful enemy suddenly reappears, the new King T’Challa’s rein is giving a baptism of fire as he gets drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of not only Wakanda but the entire world at risk. T’Challa must gather together all his resources to release the full power of the Black Panther if he is to stand any chance of defeating his enemies and securing the safety of his people.

Black Panther may take a little time slowly building up the story in this movie but definitely its worth sticking with it as when it gets going it quickly turns into a very clever and entertaining watch. Visually it looks amazing on screen with the land of Wakanda build superbly, this movie seems to have set out to create a very unique cultural vision for this land and certainly succeeded on that score. Only negative I would say is that although the CGI is mostly very good there are some scenes which do look a little cartoonist at times. Black Panther ticks most of boxes required to make a very entertaining movie and is sure to go down well with cinema audiences.

Bill Tubbritt                               Book Now4/5

Preview of NT Live upcoming Presentation of “CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF”

“CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF”

By TENNESSEE WILLIAMS From NTLive:

Thurs, Feb 22nd, At 7.00 PM.Book Now

In November 1972, I attended my first performance of a Tennessee Williams play, “A Streetcar Named Desire”: presented by Clonmel Theatre Guild and directed by Brendan Long, a poet of the theatre. It was for me a riveting experience, with what is still considered one of the twentieth century’s greatest plays. (Brendan and the Guild in those years gave us production after production, such as GB Shaw’s “Arms and the Man” and O’Casey’s “The Silver Tassie”, which in the near half-century since have never been bettered – priceless memories!) I have a feeling that at that time, Arthur Miller and Williams (two of the three great pillars of American Theatre – along with Eugene O’Neill), were more or less on a parity in terms of how frequently their plays were performed; today, there can be little doubt that Miller’s star shines much more brightly in world theatre.

While I rate Miller as being one of the world’s great playwrights, I also feel that Williams’ eclipse is to be regretted. “Streetcar” is one of the great plays and “The Glass Menagerie” is one of the most tender and poignant I’ve ever attended. “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” which we saw here in Dungarvan in 2014 from Dungarvan Dramatic club, in a wonderful production Directed by Fidelma Meaney is also a powerful drama – some standout acting performances in that production (it would be invidious to give names) illustrated the power and the passion in this play.

The highly-rated 1958 film, with Elizabeth Taylor, the excellent Paul Newman and the singer famed for singing “A Little Bit of Tear Left me Down”, Burl Ives, (displaying unexpected Thespian skills) gives us a fair of the power of this play.

Thomas Lanier (Tennessee) Williams was born in 1914 in Columbus, Ohio, a clergyman’s son. At twelve his family moved to St. Louis, Missouri. He went to college but left after a few years to work in a shoe company. In 1938 he graduated from The University of Iowa. He won a Theatre Guild Prize for Four One-Act plays in 1939. His life was shadowed by a brutal Prefrontal Lobotomy undergone in 1937 by his sensitive and fragile beloved sister, Rose, who, in disguise, appears in many of his plays – young women who are unable to confront reality or flee into illusion. She is given a beautiful alter ego in Williams, first ‘hit’ “The Glass Menagerie” (1945), a beautiful and poignant play. He wrote prolifically till the end – he died in 1983 – choked to death on the plastic cap of a bottle for nasal spray or eye solution. He was a much-decorated playwright, including The Pulitzer Prize for “Streetcar” (1947) and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1955). For decades, he bestrode American Theatre and perhaps ‘the whirligig of time’ will restore his reputation to its rightful place.

Big Daddy Daddy Pollitt, a rich cotton plantation owner, is celebrating his sixty-fifth birthday with his family. Only he and his wife are unaware that he is dying. One son has five children while the other, Brick, a former football hero, is childless and has taken to liquor. His wife, Margaret, has suspicions about a relationship he had with a now-dead friend male friend – was it homosexual?. When Big Daddy confronts Brick, the latter accuses him of avoiding the truth of his own fatal illness. Themes of mendacity, hypocrisy, homosexuality and hatred all come together in this powerful and sometimes brutal play.

Williams once wrote:- “People are always asking me which is my favourite among my plays … and when I succumb to my instinct for the truth, I say “it must be “Cat”. That play comes closest to being a work of Art and a work of Craft”; he went on to add that Big Daddy was his most satisfying character in terms of Artistic Creation.

With Siena Miller and Colm Meaney, this performance filmed Live in 2017 should be a treat – “The Independent” described it as “a brilliant, lacerating account of the play”. Not to be missed”

[FOGRA: Gounod’s Opera, “Romeo et Juliette”, Live from Barcelona on Tues, Feb 27th, at 7PM,brings us a welcome revival of a lovely opera and genuine lovers of the genre won’t want to miss it.}

(From Jim Ryan),

 

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Fifty Shades Freed Review. The climax to trilogy is here at last.

Fifty Shades Freed is the third and final instalment of the Fifty Shades trilogy taken from the original books by E. L. James. The last movie ended with Christian Greys dramatic proposal to Anastasia Steele and this one picks up quickly from there by skimming over the wedding with an early monologue. This leads us nicely into the movie itself which definitely does not try to reinvent the wheel here as it continues down a similar path to the previous two.After the new Mr and Mrs Grey return from there extended honeymoon in Europe Anastasia quickly has to adjustment to her new husband very busy work schedule and domineering attitude that has been the main problem between the couple since day one. This of course continues in fifty shades freed as Ana finds herself wanting a bit more freedom and space not long into their married lives together. Ana’s old boss from the publishing company also returns to cause trouble as he seems intent on destroying the seemingly perfect lives of Anastasia & Christian.The plot for this one feels disappointingly weak at times and does feel that this franchise has run its course. It’s hard to believe after 3 movies Anastasia still seems surprised when she finds out Christian owns his own Jet. E. L. James has made a lot of Money from the Movies & Books and there is no doubting she is an excellent writer, it just seems she may have gone to the well once too often for this one. With that being said, Fifty Shades has a truly massive fan base that are sure to pack out cinema’s all over the world for this one over the coming weeks.

Bill Tubbritt

Rating 3/5

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