Drama of sexual desire and deception gets new lease of life from Galway group
Patrick Marber’s play, Closer will be staged at the Town Hall Studio from June 5-8 in a new production from local company, Anam Theatre.
Directed by Sarah O’Toole, Closer is a savage and melodramatic exploration into the anatomy of modern romance. Set in 1990s London, the play follows Alice, a one-time stripper, and Dan, an obituary writer, who are in a relationship. Dan takes a shine to Anna, a photographer, and unwittingly sets her up with Larry, a dermatologist.
This quartet of strangers, who are adrift in a cosmopolitan world, one of computers and the internet, seek to connect but find themselves caught in a web of sexual desire and betrayal.
Closer was hailed as one of the best plays of 1990s, one that “wired itself into the cultural vocabulary in a way that few plays have ever done”, according to the London Observer. It was also made into a popular film starring Jude Law and Julia Roberts.
This production includes two well-known Galway actors. Grace Kiely, who nominated for an Irish Times award for her performance in The Mai last year and Martin Maguire, who previously appeared in Mephisto’s productions of The Honeyspike and Almost a Fantasy. Newcomers Róisín Eyres and Cormac Culkeen will also feature.
Closer’s director, Sarah O’Toole is a former member of Galway Youth Theatre and a graduate of the Gaiety School of Acting. She worked as a theatre actor in Dublin as well as appearing in the film Disco Pigs and RTÉ’s Fair City, before going on to train as a director on Middlesex University’s MA in Theatre Directing course. As part of her studies she spent time training at the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts in Moscow.
Since returning to Galway Sarah has been involved with Anam, which stages original, classic and modern plays.
The company is influenced by the theatre philosophy of Michael Chekhov and is “committed to exploring great writing in order to present simple, elegant and truthful work”.
As well as working with Anam, Sarah teaches beginner and specialised drama classes for adults with Galway Actors Workshop and teaches acting and playwriting at NUI.
l Closer runs from June 5 to 8 at 8.30pm in the Town Hall Theatre Studio. Tickets €15/12, available from http://tht.ie, 091 569777, or at the box office.
Marian Choral Society to bring Evita to life in Tuam
After more than four decades of performing on stage, the Tuam-based Marian Choral Society are embarking on their latest challenge, with plans to stage Evita in the autumn.
While they have announced details of the new production, they have yet to ringfence a cast for the epic. Auditions will take place over the coming weeks.
Chairperson Stuart Barrows told The Tribune that it was an exciting challenge for the group and expressed his delight that so many new members had joined the society.
The Marian Choral Society welcome back Ronan Lardner as Director for Evita, as well as Shane Farrell as Musical Director. And Jay Molyneux is on board for the first time as Choreographer for this production.
The musical will run from Tuesday, October 31, to Saturday, November 4, and will be staged in St Jarlath’s College Hall, Tuam.
The Marian Choral Society had never missed an annual production since their formation back in 1977 – until Covid struck. The pandemic meant that they had to abandon their plans for a couple of years – similar to other artistic groups.
Covid brought to an end a proud record of 43 consecutive productions, during which time they never missed a year. In fact, in 2013, they embarked on two shows to mark Tuam’s 400 celebrations.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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‘Bring a cushion’ and enjoy Bach’s masterpiece at Galway Cathedral
Galway Cathedral is the venue this Saturday evening, March 25, for a performance of Bach’s St Matthew’s Passion from the Irish Baroque Orchestra (IBO). It will start at 7.30pm.
Conductor Peter Whelan will direct the IBO and the vocal ensemble Sestina Music, with the solo parts being performed by members of the choir and the role of the Evangelist taken on by tenor James Way. This concert of sacred music is being presented by Music for Galway as part of its Bach Season.
The renowned baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach wrote hundreds of sacred pieces while he was director of church music at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig from 1723 until his death in 1750. The St Matthew Passion, which was first performed there on April 11, 1727, is his most elaborate work, with big parts for four soloists.
Its story was drawn mostly from St Matthew’s Gospel but the pieces that Bach put to music were written by various contemporary poets.
This epic work was performed on several occasions during the composer’s lifetime but was then forgotten for nearly 80 years, until Felix Mendelssohn discovered it in the 1820s and performed an abbreviated version in Berlin in 1829.
Mendelssohn would later perform it in Leipzig, with much of the original score restored and it’s now an integral part of the sacred canon. For this Saturday, the advice from Music for Galway is to “bring a cushion and experience this exceptional work performed by outstanding cast”.
Tickets are available from Music for Galway’s website www.musicforgalway.ie or by phone on 091 705962 and cost €30/€27 and €12 for full-time students of all ages. There’s a concession rate of €25 for Music for Galway Friends. To learn more about becoming Friend, visit the website or phone the office.
Sunshine feeling as Raines launch debut album ‘Reverie’
Reverie, the debut album from Galway folk-Americana group the Raines is being officially launched this Friday, March 24 following a musical celebration Galway City on Tuesday evening to mark its release.
The Raines, comprising Ruth Dillon, Yvonne Tiernan and Juliana Erkkonen, have been making waves on the music scene since 2019 and their last five singles have reached Number One in the iTunes charts.
Although they only joined forces four years ago – just before Covid – all three have a long track record in the business.
Ruth (vocals, guitar, ukulele) toured and recorded with singer Dolores Keane, is a former member of the roots group, The Molly Hicks, and has released three solo albums. Yvonne (vocals/ukulele/percussion) has toured internationally with numerous bands, most notably as lead singer with The Chieftains while Juliana (fiddle and vocals) has long been at the forefront of Ireland’s Americana music scene and has released eight albums with a diverse range of acts.
Reverie, with its terrific songs and beautiful harmonies, demonstrates the deep connection between the three women and showcases their unique blend of music.
As Ruth explained: “We worked hard to bring an album that is full of connection, [that is] textured and melodic but that would also honour our own individual voices and styles.”
Guest musicians on Reverie include Cesar Benzoni (mandolin), Sam Wright (bass and bodhrán), John O’Dwyer (bass), Wil Merrigan (bass), Cormac Dunne (drums), Tom Portman (slide guitar and dobro), Justin McCarthy (slide guitar) and Liam Bradley (drums).
The album was recorded by Ivan O’Shea, with additional recording by Cesar Benzoni, Liam King and Justin McCarthy. Except that is for Juliana’s playing and singing, which she recorded in her own studio.
“It has been a such a rewarding experience, as I composed and recorded all my violin/strings and vocals in my own studio which I have been developing over the last few years,” she said. “I am incredibly proud of how it turned out”.
Award-winning producer Brian Masterson, who has worked with The Chieftains, Van Morrison, Willie Nelson and The Bothy Band, among others, mixed and mastered the album.
For Yvonne, who has worked in the music industry since she was 17, Reverie has been “a lifetime in the making.
“It a joy to be part of a band that works so well together and to have created this collection of music we love is enough”, she said.
Ruth agreed, saying that, for her, what was most special about Reverie, “is the beautiful musical union and friendship built between myself, Yvonne and Juliana”.
The album is available on https://theraines.bandcamp.com from this Friday, March 24, and from selected retailers nationwide.
The Raines will be playing in Monroe’s in Galway City on June 17 for the Galway Folk Festival. On July 29, they will be in Áras Éanna, Inis Oírr, and on September 21, they will be playing at Clifden Arts Festival.
More information and tickets fortheir concerts is available at theraines.ie.