For 30 years now, director Ken Loach has been making strongly political movies. His latest offering, 'Ae Fond Kiss...', written by Paul Laverty, looks at what happens when a young Muslim called Casim and a young Catholic called Róisín fall in love in modern day Glasgow. Casim is already lined up to marry his cousin from Pakistan. Róisín too has her own cross to bear - namely the Parish Priest who doesn't like the idea of her teaching at a Catholic School while she sleeps around with, as he puts it, "every Tom, Dick and Mohammed". The film stars Ata Yaqub as Casim and Eva Birthistle as Róisín.
Peter Sheridan, Shalinhi Sinha and Evelyn Conlon discuss 'Ae Fond Kiss...'
The Drama: Fair City
With 500,000 viewers every week, 'Fair City' is the drama of choice for most Irish people. That said, soap opera tends to bewilder the thought police of the arts world and drama critics often keep it very much at arm's length. 'Fair City' has been on the air 15 years this month, and last Sunday night an RTÉ documentary looked back at those hectic years, packed with domestic violence, murder, immigration, adultery and death. It's the classic mix of social issues and cliffhangers. Serious entertainment indeed.
The Panel discusses 'Fair City'
The Play: Boston Marriage
A period drama is not quite what you might expect from the pen of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, screenwriter and director David Mamet. But 'Boston Marriage', now on at the Project in Dublin, is just that. Set in a Victorian sitting room with a difference, the play looks at the relationship between Anna and Claire, two ladies living together on the outskirts of high society. A set of coincidences involving an emerald necklace, a young lover, a wealthy protector and the put upon Scottish maid tests their relationship to its limits. Jane Brennan, Ingrid Craigie and Laura Donnelly star.
The Panel discusses David Mamet's 'Boston Marriage' at the Project
The Book: Havoc, in its Third Year
'Havoc, in its Third Year' is Ronan Bennett's third novel and has already been shortlisted for this year's Booker Prize. Set in 1630s England, a turbulent time indeed, it deals with the rise of Puritanism in a fearful northern town. John Brigge is the local coroner - and a Catholic - and someone anxious only to spend time with his pregnant wife. But when he is called to settle a case of infanticide, the suspect being the child's mother - an Irish Catholic - he gets drawn into the full horror and venom of all that righteous Puritan anger.
The Panel discusses Ronan Bennett's 'Havoc, in its Third Year'
The Performance: Niall Vallely
Niall Vallely has established himself as an original and distinctive voice in Irish music. A former member of the Cork-based band Nomos, he's known as one of Ireland's finest concertina players. His band, which features Caoimhín Vallely on piano and Paul Meehan on guitar, are in studio this month recording their next album. But they've escaped tonight to perform for us.