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On the couch

There was something magical about Taken. Not whimsical, unicorn-y, prancing through the forest magic. More the  “how on earth did a film with such a simple premise turn into something so satisfying and, well, great?” kind,With its inspired casting of a highly respected actor in the lead role rather than Vin Diesel’s cheapest non-union Mexican equivalent, Pierre Morel’s fast-paced revenge thriller turned into one of the most surprisingly entertaining and satisfying flicks of the last couple of years.So, obviously, they made a sequel.Whether you enjoy Taken 2 or not depends largely on three possible criteria – how au fait you are with action films and their tropes; if you have kids or a spouse   and if you can tolerate the fact that, despite its quality remaining the same, plotwise it’s basically a retread of the original. Taking up a few months after the original, Taken 2 asks an interesting question – what about the minions? Having kicked, shot, stabbed, stomped …

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A Beautiful Affair for Lisdoonvarna

ALMOST 40 years after a group of musicians from Clare and Leitrim came together to form Stockton’s Wing, the band returns to county for two gigs at The Royal Spa Hotel, Lisdoonvarna on March 8 and 9.A bountiful trip to the All-Ireland Fleadh, held in Ennis in 1977, brought together Maurice Lennon (first place in senior fiddle), Kieran Hanrahan (first place senior banjo) and Tommy Hayes (first place senior bodhran) but it was the sessions played in the town over the course of the festival that brought the lads together.Initially accompanied by guitarist Tony Callinan, the line-up expanded to include Paul Roche (All-Ireland champion on flute) and later, Mike Hanrahan, who replaced Callinan. Enda Scahill will join the band during their Lisdoonvarna gigs.Maurice Lennon, who will take part in the March gigs, remembers the early years of Stockton’s Wing when, as a 19-year-old, he worked as a barman in Brogan’s in Ennis. He pulled pints behind the bar, rehearsed with …

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Write around the world

A NEW book by Kilkee’s Peadar King, What in the World? Political Travels in Africa, Asia and the Americas is being launched as part of the Ennis Book Festival on March 2.It comes on the back of his TV show What in the World? that has been shown every year on RTÉ since the late ’90s. “What it is really, is a reflection on that experience, an account of the people we met and the places we went to. It tries to locate those places and those experiences in some kind of political context. “For example, in Latin America we were interested in looking at the political change that has taken place and the drift to left wing parties and left-wing governments, how that’s impacting on the poor, indigenous people and people who have been excluded heretofore by the dominant political classes in those countries.”A former pupil of St Flannan’s College, he went into teaching and worked at the Vocational …

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New chairman eagerly awaits Doonbeg Drama Festival

WHEN the curtain is pulled back on opening night of the Doonbeg Drama Festival on Saturday, March 2, it will herald the start of the 52nd festival in The Long Village. John Keane has taken over as committee chairman, succeeding John Igoe, who is one of five people involved since the maiden festival in 1961. “The five people who have been involved since the start are Johnny Igoe, Murt McInerney, Cissy McMahon, JJ Downes and Marie Shanahan. Murt is Festival director and treasurer, Johnny has taken over the PRO’s job and Cissy McMahon is Vice President. JJ Downes and Marie Shanahan are still actively involved in the committee,” Mr Keane explained. The new chairman has been actively involved with the committee for 20 years and remembers festivals from his childhood. “Drama takes over here for the month of March. It’s a huge part of the parish and it has been for the last 52 years. I remember when I started …

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Phil still has a lust for life

SEVENTY one years old now, Phil Coulter’s energy levels are still high and he is starting a national tour that will come to Limerick’s Lime Tree Theatre on February 28 and Glór on March 15.Coulter’s lament on the state of Derry in the early ’70s, The Town I Loved So Well, is iconic and he says it is a song he’s particularly proud of. Another song, Free the People, was written a little earlier about internment, but he says it was a less considered work. “I was in Derry on the weekend that interment was introduced, I was based in London at the time and working on and off in the United States. I happened to be home visiting family and in common with everyone else in Derry I was shocked, horrified and enraged because internment was, as history has proven, a very blunt instrument. “The British intelligence was very scattered, very sparse, so they threw the net as wide …

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Learn a Rainbow of skills from the Theatre of the Oppressed

ALâ (Adult Participatory Theatre, Arts and Education), in conjunction with Clarecare, will present a five-day Rainbow of Desire Theatre of the Oppressed facilitation skills training course this March 6 to 10 in Ennis at the Rowan Tree Hostel, Harmony Row. Facilitated by Gavin Crichton, this five-day national course explores Rainbow of Desire techniques from Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed. Skills include warm-up and improvising techniques that concentrate on exploring the internal oppressions that people carry in their heads.The techniques explored will help clarify questions we may need to ask ourselves. What oppressions are submerged in a person’s internalised voices and responses? How can we expose and confront these oppressions and the conflicting desires that underlie them? How can we unpick everyday actions, rituals, words and history that enable oppression to happen?Augusto Boal was a Brazilian theatre director, writer and politician and was the founder of Theatre of the Oppressed, a theatrical form originally used in radical popular education and …

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Skull in Connemara coming to Glór

MARTIN McDonagh is recognised as one of Ireland’s most important living playwrights and the uninitiated in Clare can see one part of his celebrated Leenane trilogy at Glór next month.Decadent Theatre Company will perform A Skull in Connemara, and director Andrew Flynn says the play combines the grim with the hilarious. “In all his work there is darkness there, but it is very, very funny. We’re into our third week at the moment, we did two weeks in Dublin and we’re in Tallaght at the moment and the audience are lapping it up.”A Skull in Connemara was first performed by Druid in the late-’90s and is the middle part of the trilogy, sandwiched between The Beauty Queen of Leenane and The Lonesome West.It tells the tale of a man with one of most melancholy jobs in Connemara. “The basic story is set in Leenane, it’s about a man called Mick Dowd,” explains Flynn.“He has a job every year that doesn’t …

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Final countdown for Me and My Girl

It’s that time of year when routine goes out the window for all members of Ennis Musical Society. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that it’s the time of year that members of Ennis Musical Society adopt a different routine – a routine of late nights, long rehearsals and forgetting about all other interests in an effort to produce the best possible performances from their annual musical production.Between March 5 – 9, the society will bring 1930s Musical, Me and My Girl, to the stage at Glór for five appearances, commencing nightly at 8pm. “This is a hugely entertaining comedy,” explains Kate Corrigan, chairperson of Ennis Musical Society, “a sort of collision between Only Fools and Horses and Downton Abbey. You can imagine what will ensue. This show will leave you with pains in your jaws”. Set in the lush surroundings of Hareford Hall in Hampshire, the plot focuses on Bill Snibson, a London Cockney from the most common …

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