Kilkenny Arts Festival
Thursday, August 4th, to Sunday, August 14th; various locations, times and prices; kilkennyarts.ie
The forecast is stormy and highly charged in Kilkenny this week, as Rough Magic brings its new production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest to the grounds of Kilkenny Castle (August 3rd-6th and 8th-13th; Kilkenny Castle Parklands; 8pm; €28/€25, preview €20, family ticket €80). A highlight of this year’s Kilkenny Arts Festival, Lynne Parker’s production features Eleanor Methven as Prospero; it costars Arthur Riordan, Gina Moxley, Rory Nolan and Ankur Vikal. Another classic revenge tale, this one musical, is Handel’s Semele, performed by Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin in a presentation by Opera Collective Ireland (August 4th, 5th and 7th; Watergate Theatre; 7pm/3pm; €40/€35/€32). Scandal and singing go hand in hand in The Trials of Tenducci, presented by Irish Baroque Orchestra, telling the story of the celebrated Italian castrato Giusto Tenducci, who taught Mozart to sing and was a regular performer in Ireland. The mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught takes on the role of the operatic superstar who led a dissolute life behind the scenes. And there’s more – lots more – so check out the 2022 brochure and book yourself a place at one of the most happening arts festivals around.
Copper Face Jacks: The Musical
Tuesday, August 2nd, to Saturday, August 20th; 3Olympia; various times; prices from €26; 3olympia.ie
It’s more iconic than the Moulin Rouge and more decadent than Studio 54, with more shifting in one night than Love Island could manage in an entire season. It is of course Copper Face Jacks, the mecca for young Dubs and Culchies looking to expand their snogging horizons. Paul Howard’s hit musical is back for another run at the 3Olympia, following a stint at UCH Limerick, and the craic promises to be mighty as two cultures collide on the Copper’s dancefloor on the eve of the All-Ireland final between Dublin and Kerry. When a young Kerry lass falls for the captain of the Dublin team, Gino Wildes, the scene is set for some serious shenanigans that go beyond the pale. Will these two star-crossed lovers bridge the language divide and find true happiness? Can boggers and Jackeens just learn to get along? Johnny Ward returns as Gino, with Fiona O’Carroll from Mrs Brown’s Boys joining the cast for a night that’s more uplifting than a pair of Spanx.
Wednesday, August 3rd; The Belfast Empire; 8.30pm; £25; thebelfasttempire.com
The Aussie cabaret legend Melissa Madden Gray brings her new show, Feline Intimate, to the Belfast stage, courtesy of Northern Ireland Opera, and you know what to expect from the diva from Down Under by now: mayhem, madness, musicality and total magnificence. Meow Meow takes traditional Weimar cabaret and wrings its little neck, delivering a wild and subversive show that features wardrobe malfunctions, tragicomic theatrics and orchestrated chaos, and of course terrific, rafter-raising vocal acrobatics. With maestro Ben Dawson providing immaculate piano accompaniment, Meow Meow will drag everyone from Brecht to Brel to Radiohead through a hedge backwards and seduce audiences with her devilishly disastrous routines and epic fails. Her recent album, Hotel Amour, features collaborations with the pianist Michel Legrand, Barry Humphries aka Dame Edna, the Von Trapps and Rufus Wainwright.
Thursday, August 4th, to Sunday, August 7th; Vicar St, Dublin; 8.30pm; €38; vicarstreet.com
The British comedian, artist, sculptor, film-maker and tormentor of big corporations knows what his fans really, really want, and that’s more, more, more Joe Lycett. So he’s obliging with three nights in Vicar St, plus a fourth added date for good measure. Lycett has been well established as a stand-up comic for yonks, but in recent years he’s made a name for himself as a bit of a disrupter, taking on the litigious fashion label Hugo Boss and greenwashing the oil giant Shell. In response to Boss’s liberal use of cease-and-desist orders, he legally changed his name to Hugo Boss, and he made a video lampooning Shell’s chief executive, Ben Van Beurden. This is Lycett’s first proper stand-up tour in years, and he promises to do what he does best: talking in a queer and comedic fashion to a roomful of happy campers, and delivering more jokes, more anecdotes and more frankly disturbing paintings than ever before.
Madness with special guests Squeeze
Saturday, August 6th; 3Arena, Dublin; 6,30pm; from €49.95; ticketmaster.ie
It’s a double bill of London old boys, as two veteran new-wave bands hit the road after a bit of a delay due to some Covid malarkey. Madness are without founder-member Cathal Smyth, aka Chas Smash, but Graham McPherson, aka Suggs, is still up front, with Chris Foreman, Lee Thomson, Mike “Barso” Barson, Dan Woodgate and Mark “Bedders” Bedford all present and correct . Hit handful: Our House, Embarrassment, Cardiac Arrest, Baggy Trousers, One Step Beyond. Squeeze are minus their old pianist Jools Holland, who went off to present a music show on BBC 30 years ago, and their drummer Gilson Lavis, but are still ably fronted by the crack songwriting duo of Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford. Hit selection: Goodbye Girl, Pulling Mussels from the Shell, Black Coffee in Bed, Labelled With Love, Cool for Cats.