TV Watch with Dave O’Connell
If someone suggested that a drama based around the lives of a group of young midwives living in a convent of nuns would provide the perfect formula for Sunday evening television, you’d have made a call for the men in the white coats.
But Call the Midwife has been a phenomenal success – a sort of Walton’s of the delivery room, a gynaecological Glenroe, where even the grit and grime of post-war Poplar cannot cast a shadow over the feel good factor that makes it both compulsive and inoffensive every Sunday night.
The latest series came to an end on BBC1 on Sunday, but it’s already been commissioned for a fourth series to go out next year – and no doubt there will be another Christmas special to whet the appetite before that as well.
That’s down in part to a stellar cast of familiar names like Jenny Agutter, Pam Ferris, Stephen McGann and Cliff Parisi (Minty from Eastenders) but most of all the supremely versatile Miranda Hart as Chummy, the aristocrat who turned her back on wealth and married the local policeman while pursuing her vocation as a midwife.
Then there are the young, impressionable midwives themselves – Jessica Raine as Jenny Lee (in essence, Jennifer Worth, the author of the memoirs on which this is based), Helen George as foxy Trixie, Bryony Hannah as dowdy Cynthia and Laura Main, who starts out as Sr Bernadette but ends up as Shelagh, wife of Dr Turner, after she decides the religious life is not for her.
All of this is set in London’s East End of the 1950s, when poverty and deprivation still abounded in the post-war era. So while the nurses and nuns live in relative comfort at Nonnatus House, their rounds – always made by rickety bicycle over cobbled streets – take them into the tenements and dives where poverty and disease abound.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.
Nutcracker Sweeties at Town Hall Theatre
Ballet Ireland presents Nutcracker Sweeties at the Town Hall Theatre next Tuesday and Wednesday, December 13 and 14, at 8pm nightly.
This re-telling of Tchaikovsky’s evergreen Christmas ballet centres on Ciara and her brother Fionn who go on a shopping trip to a famous department store in Dublin on Christmas Eve. They wander off from their parents and get lost but are rescued by the Nutcracker doll. They are then surrounded by a blizzard of snowflakes before being greeted by the Sugar Plum fairy who leads Ciara into the kingdom of the sweets where the beautiful Christmas windows come to life.
Choreographed by Morgann Runacre-Temple, this production of a festive classic is performed by a cast of world-class dancers and designed to appeal to audiences of all ages, with its magic, costumes and a re-imagined Tchaikovsky score.
Described by The Irish Independent as ‘a treat of a show, full of Christmas cheer’, Nutcracker Sweeties is two hours long, including an interval.
Tickets, €25/€22.50 plus €1 booking fee, are available online at tht.ie, by phone on 091-569777 or at the Town Hall Theatre box office.
Ireland’s three tenors for weekend concert
Billed as Ireland’s Three Tenors, Paul Feery, Conor Gibbons and Philip Fagan, will be in concert in the city’ s St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church this Saturday night, December 10.
Their repertoire includes a wide range of well-known songs, including Caledonia, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Green Fields of France, Nessun Dorma and Have I Told you Lately?. And for the Christmas season, they will be adding seasonal favourites including O, Holy Night.
Ireland’s Three Tenors are the only Irish trio to have performed annually for more than 10 years in venues such as the National Concert Hall Dublin, the Cork Opera House, Dublin Castle, and Belfast’s Lyric Theatre.
The tenors were selected by the Irish government to headline the 1916 Centenary State reception in Dublin Castle on Easter Sunday, 2016. And, when Covid restrictions eased last year, they had a sold-out performance in Dublin’s St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Now they’re back in Galway, with tickets for their concert on sale in the city from Spar, Mainguard Street, and Holland’s Newsagents Williamsgate Street, or online at Eventbrite.ie, where they are €30 + €3 booking fee. The concert at St Nicholas’ starts at 8pm.
Exhibition of postcards art hosted by KAVA
The annual postcard show from the KAVA arts group is currently taking place in Kinvara Courthouse and will be open from Friday to Sunday this weekend. The artwork is anonymously displayed and all pieces are for sale for €30. The artist’s identity will only be revealed when the buyer collects the work.
In the past, this has proven to be great fun and is an ideal way to shop local for a unique, local Christmas present. The opening hours are this Friday and Saturday, December 9 and 10, from 3-8pm and on Sunday, December 11, from 12-6pm. All are welcome.