Colette Sheridan tells us her cultural highlights of 2014

Magic Moment: At the launch of her debut collection of subtly-crafted short stories, Waiting for the Bullet, at Triskel Christchurch, Madeleine D’Arcy read the desperately sad Clocking Out, her story about a naive young woman, a lonely outsider, who gives birth in a field.

Colette Sheridan tells us her cultural highlights of 2014

D’Arcy, who reads very well, created a wonderful intimacy with the audience that drew us into the inner world of the traumatised narrator.

Best Play: Enda Walsh’s much-hyped play, Ballyturk at Cork Opera House, starring Cillian Murphy, was the hottest ticket in town.

With us Corkonians proud to be able claim the Hollywood star as one of our own, the actor didn’t disappoint.

He was the best thing about the play, apiece that doesn’t have much in the way of plot, but is reliant on the dynamics between him and Mikel Murfi.

What a mad energetic pair, with Murphy simulating a fit in his startlingly intense way.

Best Film: Ida, an astonishing Polish film, which I saw at Indie Cork, is shot in black and white, a suitably stark medium for this tale of an orphaned novice uncovering the dark past of her family.

Agata Trzebuchowaska plays Anna in a low-key but utterly beguiling performance which takes her from the safety of the convent to the bleak graveyard where her tragic parents are buried.

Best TV Viewing: Captivating reality show, Connected, on RTÉ2 had me gripped, following the lives of six women living in Ireland.

Each member of the group, including an assertive American sex worker living in Cork and a gutsy Dublin rapper, were given a video camera to film their lives.

They chose what was to be screened. I felt invited to view their daily dramas as opposed to feeling like a pathetic voyeur.

Best Read: Colin Barrett’s debut collection of short stories, Young Skins, which won the Guardian First Book Award, is set in the well-trodden territory of small town Ireland.

But the Mayo-born author’s ability to get under the skin of his desperado characters makes this book compelling reading.

Letdown: Corcadorca’s penchant for site-specific theatre always creates a sense of occasion.

Returning to the genre with Enda Walsh’s How These Desperate Men Talk, audiences had to travel to Kinsale and negotiate a steep hill, on foot, in the dark, to get to the venue – a metal perforation factory.

How this desperately unfit reviewer moaned and groaned. Still, it was worth it in the end.

Looking Forward to in 2015: Cork-born director John Crowley’s screen adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s enjoyable novel, Brooklyn, is on my list.

I’m curious about John Sheehy’s forthcoming play, The Hole. Having been enchanted by his two-hander, Fred and Alice, the playwright has a hard act to follow.

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