Arts Column with Conor Malone

Arts Column with Conor Malone

The California Feetwarmers play The Balor on Saturday



This Week’s Highlights

Flook’s Brian Finnegan and Lunasa’s John McSherry head The Finnegan McSherry band who play The Alley Theatre in Strabane tonight.

The genius of short story writer Frank O’Connor is celebrated in God Bless The Child at An Grianan Letterkenny over two nights – Friday and Saturday.

The Balor, Ballybofey hosts The Late Late Show Ballybofey, a local twist on the iconic chat show on Friday, while Saturday at the same venue will be a lively affair with 7-pice ragtime, Dixieland jazz masters The California Feetwarmers taking you back to somewhere reminiscent of 1920’s era New Orleans.

The California Feetwarmers

One of the hottest properties on the US revival scene, The California Feetwarmers, arrive in The Balor, Ballybofey this weekend.

This amazing 7-piece band are masters of Ragtime, Dixieland Blues and Early Swing – think 1920’s era New Orleans or, if you’re a Boardwalk Empire fan, the music and all round vibe in one of Nucky Thompson’s speakeasies.

We’re talking sousaphone, clarinet, trombone, trumpet, washboard, banjo and guitar here as the Feetwarmers dust down and re-work old classics, re-visiting material from The Blue Ridge Playboys, Scott Joplin, The Memphis Jug Band and Emile Grimshaw’s Rag Pickers. It’s as if among all the instruments they also have packed a time machine that will take you back that one of the 20th century’s greatest and most enjoyable musical eras.

The band are phenomenally popular. They’ve built a strong coast to coast US following and Feetwarmers Fever has followed them across the Atlantic with them playing to over 1000 revellers as they sold out Glasgow’s Old Fruitmarket venue during the city’s Celtic Connections Festival last year.

The California Feetwarmers play The Balor, Ballybofey this Saturday, June 25 at 8.30pm. Tickets are €15 available from The Balor Box Office on 0749131840 or online at

Short Cuts

Frank O’Connor stands right up there in my eyes with the Irish literary greats of the 20th century. He was a master of the short story and his childhood stories are universally regarded as being classics of their kind.

This weekend, three of his funniest - First Confession, My Oedipus Complex and The Genius – are brought together within a single full-length play entitled God Bless The Child at An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny.

Adapted for the stage and directed by Patrick Talbot, God Bless The Child is richly evocative of Ireland in the early decades of the 20th century. Both funny and moving, it features memorable performances from Ciaran Bermingham, Shane Casey and Gary Murphy.

God Bless The Child is at An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny this Friday and Saturday at 8pm nightly. Tickets are €20 (€15 concession) on 0749120777 or at

No Rest For The Wicked

Belfast’s Brassneck Theatre Company have developed a deserved reputation for quality theatre through their steady output of excellent new work. The hard hitting 1981 springs to mind, as does The Sweety Bottle, Man In The Moon and The Holy, Holy Bus.

The latest off the Brassneck production line is Che Guevara’s Night Off. Written by Grimes and McKee, directed by Tony Devlin and featuring Broadway and West End star Ryan Molloy (from Jersey Boys), it’s set in the West of Ireland where a fogbound plane has had to make an unscheduled stop with Che Guevara – the world’s most wanted man – on board.

It’s hard work being top of the CIA’s most wanted list, so all poor Che wants is a night off but there’s a cow to be milked, a dance to organise, a motorbike to repair and a hint of love in the air. A reluctant Che finds himself at the centre of a wild night’s craic with fiddles, fugitives and more than a drop of the black stuff.

Che Guevara’s Night Off is at The Alley Theatre, Strabane this Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are £12 sterling available from 048 7138 4444 or at

To Whom It Concerns...

There’s a fun fundraiser at The Balor, Ballybofey tomorrow night as The Late Late Show Ballybofey puts a Donegal spin on the iconic chat show format.

Donal Kavanagh will take the chair previously occupied by Gay Byrne, Pat Kenny and Ryan Tubridy. His guests for the evening will include Finn Valley AC and Irish Olympic Team supremo Patsy McGonagle, Lottie Dolls’ Ian Harkin and Father Eddie Gallagher.

There’ll be entertainment from comedian Conal Gallen, The Smith & McCarron School of Irish Dancers (fresh from their World Championships victory), fiddler Paddy McMenamin and much much more.

The Late Late Show (Ballybofey) takes place on Fridayat 8pm at The Balor Arts Centre. Tickets are €10 on 0749131840 or online at All proceeds going to St Mary’s National School, Stranorlar.

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