Fantastic music, drama, comedy and -panto! - coming to a stage near you.

Arts Column - November 17th, 2016

Fantastic music, drama, comedy and -panto! - coming to a stage near you.

Pierre Bensusan, who has been voted the Best World Guitarist by Guitar Players Magazine, plays the Regional Cultural Centre on Friday.

This week's highlights

Les Misérables, Holy Cross College Strabane’s school musical, opened last night at The Alley in Strabane and runs there until Saturday.

Similarily, When The Bogside Spinster Met The Carndonagh Stud had its opening night last night in The Millennium Forum, Derry and it’s also running there until Saturday.

Also tonight (Thursday), Vein, featuring saxophonist Greg Osby, perform at The Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny while guitar virtuoso Pierre Bensusan is at the same venue on Friday night.

There's more great music on Friday night, with one of Ireland's finest traditional accordion players, Dermot Byrne, joined by Steve Cooney on guitar and Trevor Hutchinson on bass, at Ramelton Town Hall.

Hot For Theatre’s Luck Just Kissed You Hello is at An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny on Friday and Saturday.

Also on Friday, Damien Dempsey plays McGrory’s in Culdaff before travelling down the road to play The Balor, Ballybofey on Saturday.

Also worth a look is Waving Not Drowning, Bread and Roses Theatre Company’s new production of short plays, sketches and songs confronting mental health issues which is at An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny next Wednesday, November 23rd. 

Christmas is coming

The start of the Christmas season for me is always the start of the Butt Drama Circle Christmas panto here at The Balor. It traditionally opens on the last Saturday in November and serves as a timely reminder that a) I need to get started on the Christmas shopping and b) that I’ll have no time over the next two weeks to do any shopping because I’ll be too busy with the panto.

This year's Balor panto is an old favourite, Cinderella. It's a captivating re-telling of a time honoured classic that is sure to enthral the bright-eyed dreamer in all of us. Can Cinderella be united with her Prince Charming or will her wicked stepmother manage to dash her hopes? Packed with brilliant comedy, stunning song and dance routines, dazzling costumes and delightful sets, it’s an unforgettable evening of hilarity for all the family.

The Butt Drama Circle Christmas Panto is a Twin Towns tradition. As a result it’s always hugely popular, so you’re advised to book early to avoid disappointment. The panto opens on Saturday, November 26th and closes on Friday, December 9th. The Saturday and Sunday shows are 4pm matinées while there’s 8pm starts on weeknights.

Admission is a very affordable €10 for adults, €6 for children with a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) costing €30. Tickets from 074 9131840 or

Luck Just Kissed You Hello

The death of an overbearing father is the background for a challenging study of gender politics in Hot For Theatre’s Luck Just Kissed You Hello at An Grianan Theatre this week.

Laura returns home for the death of her father but Laura is now Mark, having undergone a sex change.

As Mark sits in a hospital waiting room with his gay brother Gary and childhood friend Sullivan, recollections of their father, both shared and differing, and the struggle to come to terms with Mark’s new identity, explore the role that memories and perception play in the process of coming to terms with who we are.

Written by Amy Conroy (who also stars) and directed by Caitriona McLoughlin, it’s a beautiful, relentless and fiercely funny play described by The Guardian as a "blistering exploration of masculinity".

The show contains strong language and adult content, so it comes with an over 16’s age rating. Tickets are €15/€10 from 074 9120777 or online at

Virtuoso Reality

There’s a double helping of music virtuosity at The Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny tonight and tomorrow with two gigs featuring musicians at the very peak of their genres.

Vein are a jazz trio comprising Michael Arbenz on piano, Thomas Lahns on bass and Florian Arbenz on drums. For tonight’s RCC gig they’re joined by Greg Osby, one of the most important saxophonists of todays jazz scene. Greg has been performing with all the jazz greats since the ‘80’s and his experience is very much incorporated into his style, distinctive and modern yet always respectful or tradition.

Together with Vein, he forms an exciting and unconventional quartet and a great musical match.

Tomorrow night features acoustic guitar virtuoso Pierre Bensusan. Dubbed ‘The Mozart of Guitar’ Pierre was voted the Best World Music Guitarist by Guitar Player’s Magazine readers poll. His music has simply been described as "How the guitar would want to sound if it could play itself".

Both gigs start at 8pm, tickets €12/10 from 074 9120777 or at the door.

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