Hilarious and heartbreaking in equal measure, Girls and Dolls is a brutal, gripping, stunning debut play from Lisa McGee, carried brilliantly on the shoulders of the two young actresses. Leona O'Neill. Enjoy reading the Irish News? Categories Arts.
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Leer is also terrific in the cameo roles of Emma's parents and the curmudgeonly old man whom she befriends. There is never a doubt that life will be anything but traumatic for Bernadette Brown's tough but terrified Clare, who grows into the dangerously manipulative woman, played with softly-spoken menace by Mary Jordan.
There is much to reflect upon and admire in this smooth-as-silk Tinderbox production, but within the unravelling storyline too much is glimpsed too soon and its carefully crafted tension and suspense are diluted accordingly. The Ulster Orchestra opened a spread-out, three-concert Dublin season at the National Concert Hall on Thursday with a programme that concentrated on works from Northern Europe.
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The music of the year-old Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara has acquired something of a cult following, and high among the list of his most popular works is the Cantus arcticus of This is, literally, a "concerto for birds and orchestra", with the orchestra clearly taking a secondary role to the tape recordings of the arctic birds. And that is exactly where the charm and success of the piece lies. Rautavaara treats the orchestra as a kind of cushioned platform through which he focuses attention on some of the most ravishing natural sounds known to man.
He shunned sentimentality and sculpted the music with consistent intelligence. There was, however, a lack of light and shade in his playing, and sometimes a want of tenderness, too, though the imaginative touches of conductor Tuomas Ollila's handling of the orchestra did offer an amount of welcome compensation.
Throwback Thursday: Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee's playwriting debut Girls and Dolls
From a 21st-century perspective Sibelius would be easy to view as a kind of proto-minimalist, and Ollila's downplaying of the Fifth Symphony's harmonic churning and his focus on its surface pattern-weaving certainly seemed like a seriously minimalism-aware response. In spite of some surprising lapses by the orchestra's brass players, he managed to bring a persuasive biting edge to the melodic writing, and drove the slow-burning climaxes with a sure sense of timing.
Given that Cork-born soprano Cara O'Sullivan has built an international reputation on the operatic repertory, it was natural that the high points of her song recital with pianist Eleanor Malone were items that smacked more of the theatre than the salon.
Nor did O'Sullivan make any concessions to the confines of the seat concert room of Airfield House. There was wide-eyed whispering in the wild recitatives of Purcell's The Blessed Virgin's Expostulation, playful agility in Schubert's Die Forelle and Der Musensohn, and navigation problems notwithstanding creamy resonance in Rodrigo's Cuatro madrigales amatorios. Yet O'Sullivan had difficulty capturing the easy mezzo voce called for in Schubert's Du bist die Ruh and An die Musik, and in many of the seven songs of Poulenc's cycle La court paille.
Los Gatos, Saratoga: Girls and dolls focus of special summer camp – The Mercury News
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