Thursday, May 20, 2010

Whistle Down the Wind Review

The Irish Times' Sara Keating attended the Andew Lloyd Webber show in the Grand Canal Theatre and she was suitably impressed:

Premiered in 1996, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Whistle Down the Wind has had a chequered history; it has been reworked three times since its failed opening, and, for many critics, has been consigned to the graveyard of musical theatre. However, Bill Kenwright’s 2001 production made a convincing case for its reappraisal. Kenwright is also responsible for this new production, and his confidence with the material is evident everywhere, especially in his exuberant skip through the storyline, which weaves an excess of pondering themes like the threads a technicolor dreamcoat.
Set in the bible-belt deep American south, there is more than a touch of Joseph to Whistle Down the Wind . Based on the 1961 film of the same name, it mixes religious symbolism and iconography with ironic musical tropes, as an escaped felon is mistaken for Jesus in a small-town being torn apart by the evils of modernity. Kenwright makes no apology for the preposterous plot, and allows the more ridiculous moments (and musical numbers; Tyre Tracks and Broken Hearts , anyone?) to have their time.
The Grand Canal Theatre accommodates an impressive range of set changes, lit with red and blue stained-glass effect, although perspectives occasionally seem slightly askew. Carly Bawden’s Swallow is the star of the show, capturing the innocence of her character in the purity of her soprano, while Jonathan Ansell growls and prowls across the stage as the masquerading Jesus.
An enormous chorus of children complement the leads in a variety of numbers, and Kenwright choreographs their exits and entrances with impressive skill.
There are some memorable musical numbers in the score ( No Matter What , made famous by Boyzone, and the title track), but the inconsistency of tone is mirrored in the inconsistent musical motifs, which veer from early rock and roll to gospel, while referencing Lloyd Webber’s own repertoire.
However, without a single new song, the second half of the show flags and is nothing more than an extended finale.
It’s all good fun, though, as all contemporary musical theatre must be; camp and knowing, while taking its duty to entertain very seriously.

By Sara Keating (Irish Times).

Aviva Stadium

The official opening of the Aviva Stadium took place on Friday and by all accounts it is a beautiful thing to behold. We are really excited. It has felt like centuries since the old Kitty O'Sheas (now Gasworks) was thronged with punters cladded in green jerseys. Anyway here is a list of all the facts on the stadium...just in case you were interested. Thanks to the Irish Times for the info.

HISTORY: Lansdowne Road stadium first opened for athletics in 1872 and when it closed it was the oldest sports stadium in Europe. Work started on the Aviva stadium in May 2007 and the venue was officially opened on Friday May 14th, 2010. The project architects were Populous (formerly HOK Sports Architecture)/Scott Tallon Walker, while the main contractor was John Sisk Sons.
Total cost (inclusive of €191 million of government funding).
Stands – the south, east and west stands have four tiers. The bottom and top tiers provide the main volume of spectating facilities, the second tier is for premium ticket holders, and the third tier houses corporate boxes. The North stand comprises one low-level seating tier because it is close to nearby houses.
63,802 sq m
The area occupied by the stadium.
Highest point above the pitch.
Length, north to south.
Width, east to west, excluding podium and grand stairs.
People employed over a three-year period.
Work hours during construction.
5,000 tonnes
Of structural steel used.
Cost of the naming rights which were awarded to Aviva on February 12th, 2009.
Seating capacity. All seating is under a roof, but the roof does not extend over the pitch. There are 36 corporate boxes, with seating for 850 people. Premium seats total 10,000.
Wheelchair positions.
CCTV cameras.
Beer taps, capable of delivering 90,000 pints.
Camera positions. There are three television studios.
The number of press facilities.
Car parking spaces: 200 (100 for disabled drivers). Meals served on match day 2,300. Restaurants : three, with nine kitchens and 69 kiosks or bars. Catering staff: 900. Chefs : 48. Stewards : 700. Gardaí on duty inside ground : 50.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Things to do this Weekend

Well thank Crunchie it's Friday again. The sun is shining in Dublin...for the moment anyway and the Aviva Stadium is officially opening so there is plenty to smile about. But what are we all going to do this weekend. We'll I’m going to give you some food for thought. Personally I'm probably going to settle for the new Robin Hood movie staring Russell Crowe, which has received mixed reviews. But if I was heading out this is what I'd be thinking about:

1. Cathy Davey, Olympia Theatre, Tonight - One of the best Irish female artists of all time, well in our opinion anyway. Loving her new single "Little Red" from the newly released album "The Nameless" which looks set to be No.1 in the Irish charts this week...well done Cathy. The Olympia is a great venue for live music. Cost (€26-€28).

2. Book Sales for Older People Living in the Docklands Community, National College of Ireland, IFSC, Friday 14th May 11am – 7pm Saturday 15th May 10am – 5pm - Irish author, Sheila O'Flanagan, will launch a two day book sale on Friday at the National College of Ireland (IFSC Campus). Five organisations from the Docklands Seniors Providers Forum (Age Action, Care Local, Friendly Call Service, Lourdes Day Care Centre and NASCADH CDP) and the Docklands Seniors Forum have joined forces to raise much needed funds to continue their work in the Docklands community. A worthy cause...and we love books.

3. Interior and Arts Fair 2010, RDS, Friday - Having just finished the re-design of our new Lansdowne Suites we feel we have a bit of knowledge on this subject. The RDS is located just short stroll from the hotel so drop in for some lunch and a sociable on the way by.

4. Dublin Dance Festival, All Weekend, Various Venues - We have to confess that not many of us at the Grand Canal Hotel can dance...although I can only talk for myself when I say that is an understatement. Anyway award-winning dancers from across the globe will be taking the stage, drawing on dance styles and stories from West Africa, Algeria, Vietnam, the Americas and Australia, with Irish participants. The diversity of our world culture and experience is embodied by the artists travelling to Dublin from destinations across the globe to take part in the Festival. Award-winning dancers from across the globe will be taking the stage, drawing on dance styles and stories from West Africa, Algeria, Vietnam, the Americas and Australia, with Irish participants. The diversity of our world culture and experience is embodied by the artists travelling to Dublin from destinations across the globe to take part in the Festival. Check out their website for details

5. Whistle Down the Wind, Grand Canal Theatre, All weekend - already been to see this so cheating a little but i can recommend it to all. Andrew Lloyd Webber Westend hit. Plenty of songs, great orchestra and of course stunning venue in the Grand Canal Theatre.

That's it for this Friday's tips. Have a great weekend and we hope to see you in the hotel over the weekend. Don't forget we will be running the Whistle Down the Wind Package and Shawshank Redemption Package next week while the O2 Shuttle bus will be running for Mark Knophler and the lovely Alicia Keys gigs. Check out for more info.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Good Evening Everybody,

Check out our newsletter for the chance to win a Theatre Package for 2 at the hotel. The package for either Shawshank Redemption or Whistle Down the Wind includes pre-show meal, ticket to the show, night's accommodation at the Grand Canal Hotel and Full Irish Breakfast the following morning.

Click here for more info or go to

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rod Stewart Gig

One of Scotland's favourite son's arrives in Ireland for the first of three gigs at the O2 in 2010. The "Maggie May" singer is a firm favourite in Ireland and graces the famous Dublin venue on the 11th and 12th of May, both of which are sold out. But fear not Rod fans, another gig takes place on the 31st of July. Check out for more details. If you're going to a gig in the O2 don't forget our O2 Package offer. For just €79pps you can enjoy a pre-show meal, return shuttle bus to the O2, night's stay at the hotel and full Irish breakfast next morning. Click here to book.

Interesting Story of the Day

We narrowly avoided disaster this week...or at least that is according to Irish spiritual healer, Joe Coleman. The latest message from the Virgin Mary comes ahead of her next visit to Knock, scheduled for May 11, 2010 at 3 pm. “The oceans will explode - The Atlantic Ocean - Three major volcanic explosions under the sea - Tsunamis both sides of the Ocean between America and Europe. Fire will fall from the heavens. Ireland is under massive threat from the evil one. Pray Pray Pray for peace,” reads part of the message relayed to Coleman from Mary.
This disaster was set to take place two days before her next apparition, which means if Coleman was right, the world would have experienced a seismic disaster on Sunday.
According to Coleman, Mary’s communication line to him and all the disasters she is predicting are all heralding the second coming of Christ." Check out the full story one Irishcentral.

As if the volcano wasn't causing us enough hassle.

Friday, May 7, 2010

What's Going on This Weekend

It is a busy weekend in Dublin this week in terms of entertainment. My own choice would be a trip down to see Jerry Fish and the Mudbug Club in Vicar Street but if the former Emotional Fish front man is not your cup of tea there is plenty more on offer. There is loads of action in the fantastic Grand Canal Theatre over the next three nights. First up is Randy Newman tonight, followed by Ray Davis on Saturday and on Sunday the "American Pie" man himself, Don McClean.
If theatre is your thing then drop down to the Gaiety Theatre where the very well received Shawshank Redemption has returned for another run. The iconic story based on the famous film is on Friday and Saturday and is definitely worth a visit. Indeed there are still packages in the hotel for the show where you can get pre-show dinner, ticket to the show, night's accommodation and full Irish breakfast. Check it out on
World famous rockers KISS bring their unmistakable show to The O2 tonight and there is a shuttle bus available from the hotel. Neil Delamare brings his infectious brand of comedy to Vicar Street on Saturday night and the very interesting sounding "The Story of Motown" takes place in the Olympia Theatre tomorrow night.
Whatever you're thinking of doing why not stop off in Gasworks for a cocktail or if you prefer pull your own pint. It's always worth a visit.
Have a good weekend.

Thursday, May 6, 2010 could get worse

One of the geeks at the hotel couldn't help himself and has been doing a bit of research on the Volcano that is causing travellers so much trouble since April, and what he discovered is a little alarming. I won't bore the pants off you with too much technical information but here we go. The volcano that erupted on the 20th of March is called Eyjafjallajökull (try pronouncing that). The 1821 eruption which lasted just under two years was not an issue for flights because the plane had not been invented at that stage. However an alarming aspect of the eruption is that it was followed by an eruption from Katla, a much larger nearby volcano and this has been showing signs of unrest since 1999. Geologists have concerns that it might erupt in the near future. Monitoring has been intensified following the March 2010 eruptions of a smaller neighbouring volcano - Guðnasteinn - beneath the Eyjafjallajökull glacier. In the past 1,000 years, all three known eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull have triggered subsequent Katla eruptions. The concequences of Katla erupting could be catastrophic for the airline industry as it would eject far more ash into the atmosphere. On 20 April 2010 Icelandic President Ólafur Grímsson said "the time for Katla to erupt is coming close...we [Iceland] have is high time for European governments and airline authorities all over the world to start planning for the eventual Katla eruption". Get your holidays in quick people.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Volcano Disruption

There appears to a break in the clouds...ash clouds that is coming early tomorrow. Unfortunate travllers are having a nightmare at airports throughout Ireland and the UK thanks to a certain volcano in Iceland. Mother Nature obviously keeps forgetting that we are an island nation and flight is a key to our economy. Not to worry. The Grand Canal Hotel will look after you. If you get stranded in the airport at any stage give us a shout and we'll look after you. No rip off republic in this part of Dublin 4. Keep an eye on for updates on rates and for information on the airport.