helen oscar
Movies, Showbiz, Theatre

Helen Mirren will reign again as Queen Elizabeth | Jamie Tuohy

Helen Mirren is set to reprise her role as Queen Elizabeth, but this time it will be in a stage play, entitled The Audience. Image

The actress, who won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in The Queen will take to the West End stage next February, in a play directed by Stephen Daldry at the Gielgud Theatre.

The Audience will depict vital conversations between the Queen and her twelve Prime Ministers and will portray the Queen from the time she acceded to the throne, aged 25, right through to her 80s.

Helen will play the 25-year-old Elizabeth, and despite being 67-years-old herself, she said she isn’t worried about appearances, as she will use the Queen’s accent change to reflect the passing years.

Mirren said, “Her voice has changed, and I can use that — she had a terribly posh voice when she was young,’ Mirren said, skilfully mimicking the youthful Queen’s cut-glass received pronunciation.”

“But now even the Queen, while she isn’t quite dropping the ends of her lines — though her grandsons do! — there’s a tiny bit of estuary creeping in there. I can use all that to signify the age range, and we’ll come up with other things.”

The play, which will feature “explosive conversations” with everyone “from Churchill to Cameron” will open at the Gielgud Theatre on 15 February and will run until June 15.The press release promises that “each Prime Minister has used these private conversations as a sounding board and a confessional – sometimes intimate, sometimes explosive.”

Sounds fantastic!

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les mis
Books, Movies, Reviews, Showbiz, Theatre

Les Misérables extended trailer released | Jamie Tuohy

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In a newly–released behind-the-scenes trailer for Tom Hooper’s movie musical version of “Les Miserables”, it has been revealed that the cast all sang live during the making of the movie, as opposed to miming over a pre-recorded track.

The movie is a who’s who of Hollywood, with Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman starring in this movie adaptation of Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel. Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Barks and Amanda Seyfried also represent the next generation of Hollywood’s finest actors and actresses.

The extended trailer, which is a follow up to May’s teaser release, which featured Hathaway giving a beautifully raw and emotionally evocative performance of I Dreamed A Dream, shows how Hopper deviated from traditional musical production.

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The actors agree that singing live adds spontaneity to the performance and allows them to focus solely on the acting, rather than acting to suit the pre-recorded track.

It looks like a stunning film, and I smell Oscars – most likely for Hathaway, who plays the doomed Fantine.

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DERMOT MOTY8
Lifestyle, Men's Fashion, Movies, Music, Showbiz, Television, Theatre

The Winners: GQ Men of the Year Awards 2012 | Jamie Tuohy

London’s Royal Opera House was the venue for the 2012 GQ Men of the Year awards last night, as the great and the good of the showbiz word descended on the venue for the annual ceremony.

Katherine Jenkins, Tinie Tempah, Lana Del Ray, Gary Barlow, David Gandy, Jessie J and a plethora of famous faces were out in force to celebrate the awards which recognise the contributions of various different men from the worlds of politics and entertainment.

Katherine Jenkins turned heads in a risqué Stella McCartney gown and despite the night being all about the gentlemen, her arrival caused a flurry of photographers to furiously snap her every move, as she emerged for the first time, in the wake of the allegations of her affair with David Beckham.

Katherine vehemently denied the reports and looked sensational in her black dress – even if cyclist Victoria Pendleton did have a near identical one on, albeit in a shorter version.

Amidst the high octane glamour of Jessie J, Katherine Jenkins and Kelly Brook et al, Lana Del Rey dazzled in a white satin dress and was awarded Woman of the Year.

Last year’s most stylish man and all round GQ favourite Tinie Tempah secured the award for Solo Artist of the Year, but relinquished his most Stylish Man of the Year accolade to X Factor presenter Dermot O’Leary.

Dermot (whose style I will coincidentally be blogging about in the next few days) scooped the Most Stylish prize for being, “the best-suited male on primetime television” and for his championing of British tailoring.

It was a good night for Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams, who both walked home with awards – Outstanding Achievement and Icon respectively.

Sir Salman Rushdie was crowned GQ’s Inspiration and the Legend accolade went to Sir Tom Jones.

Irish actor Michael Fassbender rounded off his successful year by scooping the Actor of the Year award, following his performances in movies such as Prometheus and Shame.

The awards, which were hosted by comedians Jimmy Carr and David Walliams, also saw Dolce and Gabbana winning Designer of the Year, Sacha Baron Cohen walking away with Comedian of the Year, following his movie The Dictator and Bradley Wiggins winning the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic teams won Team of the Year for 2012 and were represented by the likes of Mo Farah, Bradley Wiggins, Victoria Pendleton, Sir Chris Hoy.

Check out a full list of the winners below:

Team Of The Year: Team GB

International Breakthrough Award: Chris Hemsworth

International Man Of The Year: John Slattery

Solo Artist Of The Year: Tinie Tempah

Actor Of The Year: Michael Fassbender

TV Personality Of The Year: Damian Lewis

Comedian Of The Year: Sacha Baron Cohen

Tanqueray Most Stylish Man: Dermot O’Leary

Designers Of The Year: Dolce & Gabbana

Entrepreneurs Of The Year: – Chris Corbin and Jeremy King

Chef Of The Year: Wolfgang Puck

Writer of the Year: Aaron Sorkin

Politician of the Year: Boris Johnson

Alfred Dunhill Cultural Icon: Thomas Heatherwick

Editor’s Special Award: James Corden

Woman Of The Year: Lana Del Rey

Icon Award: Robbie Williams

Inspiration Award: Sir Salman Rushdie

Legend Award: Sir Tom Jones

Outstanding Achievement: Gary Barlow

Lifetime Achievement Award: Bradley Wiggins

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Marilyn_Monroe
Books, Movies, Music, Showbiz, Theatre

Celebrating an Icon: Marilyn Monroe’s 50th Anniversary | Jamie Tuohy

“I’m very definitely a woman and I enjoy it”, so said the iconic actress Marilyn Monroe.

Never a truer word spoken and on the 50th Anniversary of her passing, we remember the life and legacy of the legendary big screen star, whose blonde bombshell figure and pin-up girl looks catapulted her into superstardom and made her one of the world’s foremost sex-symbols.

Monroe, who died at the tragically young age of 36, is as big a star in 2012 as she was back in the 40s and 50s, and half a century after her death, the Some Like it Hot actress is still held up as an icon of both film and fashion.

However, the success Marilyn would achieve later in life was a world away from her tough upbringing in Los Angeles, with a large portion of her youth spent in foster care and orphanages. A childhood which involved a single mother who was incapable of looking after her and an estranged father whom she would never meet, led Marilyn to feel that she was “never happy” or “never loved” as a child.

Nevertheless, despite her childhood hardships, in her teenage years, Marilyn found fame as a model and more notably, as an actress and thus, the shy and timid Norma Jean was transformed into the sensation that is Marilyn Monroe – an intriguing and complex beauty, oozing sex appeal and bursting with exuberance and confidence.

While Marilyn would become known for her iconic portrayals of sultry blondes and naïve materialists, the actress herself, was an incredibly clever young woman who was able to control the image she projected of herself onto the media. She once said, “I can be anyone they want me to be”, proving that she was more than just an actress who could make a name for herself in the notoriously difficult hard to impress Hollywood. Marilyn understood media; she knew its politics and she knew how to be the best. And Marilyn really was the best. The unassuming Norma Jean might be shocked that 50 years after her death, she has remained as one of the world’s most talked about cultural and fashion icons, but somehow, I feel the canny and intelligent Marilyn Monroe would have expected it.

A keen reader of James Joyce, Monroe was a student of the University of California, where she read literature and art appreciation. It is believed that at the time of her death, Marilyn had a personal library of over 400 books, with titles such as Das Kapital by Karl Marx and Aristotle’s Metaphysics.

People are fixated on figuring out exactly who Marilyn really was: a Hollywood superstar with bags of charisma and talent, or an enigmatic and often misunderstood actress? In truth Marilyn was both, and more. She said it best herself, when she told her friend Susan Strasberg, “I’ve got many strings to my bow.” Fashion houses, models, actresses and bemused fans from every corner of the globe strive to emulate her look. Over the years, there have been hundreds of documentaries made about the star, thousands of books written and many movies created about Monroe, but none of them come close to capturing the sheer magnetism of her irrevocable presence.

“We all lose our charms in the end”, Monroe sang in what is assuredly her most famous song, Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend from the 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, however Marilyn’s star hasn’t suffered at the fickle hands of time. From her humble beginnings as Norma Jean, she went on to become of the most iconic superstars the world has ever seen. In the 50 years since her death, Marilyn has continued to be one of the most charming and talked-about screen sirens ever to emerge from Hollywood. It’s a charm, which will undoubtedly persist for another 50 years.

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Arts, Hamlet, Lifestyle, Theatre

Absolut Fringe 2012: What I’m hoping to see!

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From the 8-23 September, Dublin is the place to be with the ABSOLUT Fringe Festival taking place over the course of the fortnight.

The festival, which is in its 18th year, is Ireland’s largest multi-disciplinary arts festival and promises to bring the very best in contemporary and innovative performances to venues all over the city.

The 2012 Fringe Festival will be a haven of artistic creativity, with everything from art, theatre, comedy and circus performances being held in a wide variety of venues ranging from traditional theatres to quaint cafes.

This year’s Fringe Festival looks bigger and better than ever before and it’s a must-see event for all the family! Here are some of the performances I hope to attend:

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U-R-Amleth

Everyone knows that the origins of Shakespeare’s stories weren’t always from the complex workings of his inner mind. He borrowed from legends, some may even say he plagiarised, and this show asked if Shakespeare was a “literary genius or a thieving shit?” This play by Jason Byrne, Gavin Kostick and Conor Madden (who has played the Danish prince with Second Age theatre company) explores the man who inspired Shakespeare’s multi-faceted protagonist – Amleth. For Hamlet nerds such as myself, this is a must see!

Tickets are €10 and it’s taking place in Bewley’s Café Theatre. For times and dates, check out:

http://www.fringefest.com/programme/u-r-hamlet

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FOIL, ARMS AND HOG…CYMBOLOGY

The Irish Times are calling this “the funniest shit ever” and this comedy show has sold out at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival for the last four years! The show promises to offer “wickedly twisted characters, unpredictable scenes and high energy performances” and without knowing much more, I’m heading to the International Bar to check it out!

Here are the statistical deets: http://www.fringefest.com/programme/cymbology

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Death of a Tradesman

No, I haven’t got the name wrong. This is not Arthur Miller’s play with the wrong name. This promises to be a fantastic play about an Irishman who dreams of dollar bills, but is running low on luck and funds. It’s about Willy, a 54-year-old tradesman who has a “bad back and a short fuse”. No doubt a product of recessionary Ireland, Death of a Tradesman is about “an army of men and the live register.” This should be an interesting and poignant production. I’ll definitely be going to the Project Arts Centre to check it out.

http://www.fringefest.com/programme/death-of-the-tradesmen

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Reviews, Showbiz, Theatre

“Greener” – Review by Jamie Tuohy

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Greener is Fiona Looney’s third and final instalment in the trilogy which saw Dandelions and October become smash hits in 2005 and 2009 respectively. The play tells the story of Jean (Deirdre O’Kane) and Nóirín (Pauline McLynn) who are neighbours and best friends and deals with their disillusionment with their own lives, as Nóirín’s son Davey, played by Fair City’s Ryan Andrews prepares for his Leaving Cert and possibly emigration. Their marriages are unsatisfactory, their lives are suddenly aimless and the whole play focuses on the idea that the grass is always greener on the other side, or as Nóirín says, “there is a party going on somewhere that I haven’t been invited to”.

When Nóirín’s husband Frank (Lorcan Cranitch) wins the lottery, the sudden change in fortune transforms not the characters, but their prospective situations, and not in the way one would think. The promise of extensions and new dishwashers becomes overshadowed by the undercurrent of deception, which is present at every juncture in the play. Indeed as the play progresses, lies and deceit come to represent the very foundation on which the drama is built – with everything from lustful texts to dead cats being emblems of secretive and untoward behaviour.

Without revealing the whole plot of the play, Greener is essentially about marriage. Neither Jean nor Nóirín appear to live fulfilled or happy lives, satisfying themselves with weekly gossip sessions over OK! Magazine and the derision of snooty neighbours. Jean is worried about her husband Colm’s (Declan Conlon) distance and lack of communication, but it is McLynn’s character that is presented as the housewife who is not only at odds with herself, but with life in general. As her son is reluctantly preparing for his Leaving Cert, she has to deal with the prospect of him leaving and is left unsupported by her passive husband. In this way, her whole raison d’être is questioned. The lottery win which O’ Looney throws into the mix complicates rather than alleviates problems and as this is juxtaposed with an affair, the play presents an unflinchingly honest, yet humourous account of married life and all its accompanying troubles.

Fiona Looney’s writing is spot on – she has a keen sense of the laughter, strife and complications that can emerge from domesticity. To quote Ann Marie Hourihane, “Fiona Looney understands that the domestic front is where a lot of wars converge”. There is no pretension about this play and that is why it works so well – it combines comedy and heartbreak in a clever and accessible manner. I went to see Greener fully expecting a play which catered only for women, specifically those of Jean’s and Nóirín’s epoch and had somehow imagined it to be an Irish Desperate Housewives, replacing Wisteria Lane’s glamour with Barry’s tea and doilies. And in a way, it kind of is an Irish Desperate Housewives – just much more relatable and in truth, funnier. Okay, the ‘murder’ within this play isn’t exactly a mirror of the high-scale criminality carried out by Bree and her mates and the affair is rather lacklustre in comparison to Gabby’s infamous tryst with her gardener, but the sensationalist ingredients are essentially the same.

At times, the relationship between Nóirín and Jean can be overly reliant on gags, but there are incredibly funny one liners, which for me, overshadow any repetitive gossip sessions. One remark from O’Kane caused raucous laughter throughout the Gaiety, as she commented on David Beckham’s endless tattoos, saying “if I got my hands on David Beckham, I wouldn’t know whether to ride him or read him”. It’s probably the kind of stuff you know your mother talks about, but you never want to hear and Fiona Looney exposes all of these witticisms and much more in her new play. Not only is Dalkey “too organic”, but neither Ryanair nor Sinéad O’Connor manage to escape the wrath of O’ Looney’s pen.

Admittedly the target market for Greener is probably the Irish female who would likely be friends with McLynn’s and O’Kane’s characters, but to exploit a battered old cliché, I really feel that there is something in this play for both genders and all generations. When I saw it at the Gaiety, there were mothers and sons, whole families, grandparents and groups of friends all in attendance and we were all united for the two hours and fifteen minutes of the play’s duration through laughter. Ryan Andrews’ character Davey represents the typical teen who would rather do anything to avoid study – playing computer games, eating cake and dashing off to training and he is a fantastic addition to the play, giving a voice to the younger generation in O’ Looney’s account of marriage and the struggle for self-control therein.

Greener is running at the Gaiety Theatre until May 26th and it is well worth going to see – there are also great prices for students and if you get there early enough, like me, you might just get an upgrade!

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