MAKEUP · HAIR · DESIGN

RECENT THEATRE WORKS

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TRANSLATIONS
BY BRIAN FRIEL

A CO-PRODUCTION WITH

LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

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ABBEY THEATRE | DUBLIN

It’s August 1833. The pupils have gathered in a hedge-school in the townland of Baile Beag/Ballybeg. This Irish-speaking community in Donegal, has become the unlikely focal point for a changing world.

Progress is coming. Tensions are growing. There are plans for a new English-speaking national school and a group of Royal Engineers have arrived to map the area.

23RD APR - 29TH MAY 2022

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THIS SH*T HAPPENS
ALL THE TIME

LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

A young woman falls in love. Her girlfriend’s jealous ex-boyfriend responds with murderous intent. In 2022 he'd be arrested but in Belfast 1992 homophobic hate crime law doesn’t exist. This Sh*t Happens All the Time is a powerful new one-woman play from Amanda Verlaque, which uses personal experience to explore misogyny, coercive control, and queer-baiting to ask why the privileges and protections granted to most of society remain disgracefully out of reach for Northern Ireland’s LGBT+ community.

22ND MAR - 2ND APR 2022

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INTO THE WOODS

NORTHERN IRELAND OPERA

‘Careful the things you say: children will listen!’

In a whirlwind quest to make their dreams come true, our cast of storybook heroes, heroines and villains learn to be very careful about what they wish for. Once upon a time, they all go into the woods on very different quests, all hoping to live happily ever after – just like in the fairy tales. But in these woods, nothing is straightforward… and what you think you want isn’t always what you end up getting.

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LA BOHÉME

NORTHERN IRELAND OPERA

Four struggling bohemians – a poet, a painter, a musician and a philosopher are living together in Paris, when one freezing Christmas Eve their lives are changed forever. A girl named Mimì knocks on their door looking for a candle light, and she and Rodolfo fall in love.

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OLD FRIENDS AND OTHER DAYS

NORTHERN IRELAND OPERA

The viewer is instantly plunged into an atmospheric, decaying, beautiful world where ambiguity reigns supreme and the stream of consciousness is governed by the world of song. Is it a sanctuary to enrich your senses or could it be purgatory?  Our four muses take us through these fleeting moments of reflection, discipline, loneliness and joy, where they tempt and entice us to reminisce on what has gone before.  What happens once everyone’s suitcases are packed? Where will our muses take us next?

ROUGH GIRLS

LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

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BBC

“Football, life, theatre” is the unholy trinity that breathes robust, raucous, vinegary life into Tara Lynne O’Neill’s Rough Girls at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast.

Last seen on the Lyric stage in 2019 as Willy Russell’s titular Shirley Valentine, the return of the Derry Girls star marks her debut as a playwright with an ambitious piece for 11 women—a remarkable, applaudable statement of intent in itself—about the short-lived fortunes of Belfast’s first all-female football team.

O’Neill folds her trilogy of metaphors into a tale that surprises—and shames—with its unearthing of a long-forgotten story of proto-feminists at the end of the First World War staking their claim in an antagonistic male-dominated world.

BY TARA LYNNE O'NEILL

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SADIE

LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

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BBC

The international premiere of a searing new play from David Ireland centres on a Belfast woman reflecting on her turbulent life amidst the Troubled past.

Sharp-witted cleaner Sadie develops an intense, dysfunctional yet passionate relationship with a much younger man, triggering a psychological showdown with the remnant demons of her past. She confronts these ghosts, calling out their contribution to the path life took her down.

KISS ME KATE

A CO-PRODUCTION WITH

NORTHERN IRELAND OPERA

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LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

Kiss Me, Kate, Cole Porter’s iconic musical comedy follows a fiery couple of co-stars feuding both on and offstage in a production of Shakespeare’s Taming Of The Shrew.

Showbiz shenanigans together with a jazz-inflected score form a sparkling tribute to the golden age of theatre in all its greasepaint and glory. Kiss Me, Kate’s award winning music and razor-sharp wit are catapulted into the limelight by a cast performing show-stopping numbers including Too Darn Hot; Another Op’nin’, Another Show; Brush Up Your Shakespeare; and So In Love.

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PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD

A CO-PRODUCTION WITH

DUBLIN THEATRE FESTIVAL

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LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

A Lyric Theatre and Dublin Theatre Festival co-production in association with Belfast International Arts Festival

Pegeen is fed up. She’s not getting younger and is desperate to escape the confines of a life stuck in the middle of nowhere. When the stranger Christy Mahon arrives at her father’s shebeen, with a story that sets the village talking, he is welcomed with admiration by the locals, even Pegeen. But all is not as it seems, and soon the playboy’s past threatens to catch up with him.

PETER PAN

LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

Paul Boyd’s new musical adaptation of Peter Pan is a thing of beauty. It keeps faith with both the narrative of JM Barrie’s story of the boy who refused to grow up and the spirit of Mabel Lucie Attwell’s charming illustrations for its first edition.

A combination of glorious sets, costumes and lighting effects, haunting music and expressive choreography successfully achieves a tricky balancing act between vintage and modern.

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DRIVING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS

LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

Placing us in the highest pub in Ireland – not the Ponderosa, by the way, but Stuart Marshall's superbly designed Dander Inn, surely called so because you just "dander in" and stuff happens – is the doorway to a collection of initially wry wit which ultimately develops into full on laughter. All this is accompanied by the music, and sometimes acting, of musical director Rod McVey, whose consistent involvement with the ensemble is the icing on the Christmas cake.

SHIRLEY VALENTINE

LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

What on earth could be done with a new production of Shirley Valentine that has not already been done before? Cushioned by Willy Russell’s sharp, perceptive, tuned-in writing, the easy option would be to find a good actor and let the script do the rest. But, in the hands and imagination of Patrick J O’Reilly, whose directorial vision hinges on physical expression and a restless determination to go the extra performance mile, Oisín Kearney’s 1980s Belfastised version sings sweetly off a different song sheet.

It is to the immense credit of the professional discipline of Tara Lynne O’Neill that she delivers, with irresistible brio, a vulnerable woman whose personal journey connects deeply at an individual level.

You couldn’t not love her as, meticulously choreographed by O’Reilly, she beats a familiar daily path around her cell-like kitchen, a domestic drudge, longing to cut loose and rediscover the spirited, mischievous girl she used to be.

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GOOD VIBRATIONS

LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

The hit production Good Vibrations, adapted for stage from the popular film, starring Aaron McCusker (Bohemian Rhapsody, Shameless) and directed by Des Kennedy (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) follows the life of radical, rebel and music lover Terri Hooley (Aaron McCusker) on a mission to create an alternative Ulster, by uncovering some of the best punk bands of the 70s. This is the feel good, rebellious, two-fingers-up production and must-see lockdown theatre.

A STREET CAR NAMED DESIRE

LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

Set in the stifling heat of New Orleans’ Latin Quarter in the 1940s, A Streetcar Named Desire follows wilting southern beauty, Blanche DuBois (Aoibheann McCann), as she attempts to escape her former life and past trauma. Blanche takes up residence in her sister Stella’s (Meghan Tyler) cramped two-room apartment, much to the irritation of her boorish and abrasive brother-in-law Stanley.  But as details of Blanche’s past come to light, she incurs the suspicion and then wrath of Stanley (Mark Huberman), and her sense of reality begins to shatter.

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THE 39 STEPS

A CO-PRODUCTION WITH

BRUISER THEATRE COMPANY

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LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

Based on the 1935 Hitchcock adventure film and the book by John Buchan, The 39 Stepsfollows the adventures of the dashing hero Richard Hannay as he grapples with dastardly murderers, double-crossing secret agents and devastatingly beautiful women. Narrowly escaping from a succession of hair-raising escapades and hooting with laughter as he and his fellow characters deliver some of the funniest one-liners.

THREEPENNY OPERA

A CO-PRODUCTION WITH

NORTHERN IRELAND OPERA

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LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

Underneath Polly Peachum's clean cut image lies a young woman with a risk-taking streak. She plants her affections on the cheek of bad lad Mack the Knife (or Macheath) who seems to have his wicked way - criminally, sexually, or both - with half of London. 

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SWEENEY TODD

A CO-PRODUCTION WITH

NORTHERN IRELAND OPERA

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LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

The murderous rise and fall of Fleet Street’s demon barber is staged almost as a rollicking farce, with some potent individual performances. Blood spurts from severed jugulars, dead bodies thud down from the flies, grinders churn out evil-looking pie fillings. You can’t say that Northern Ireland Opera’s new production of Stephen Sondheim’s mischievously macabre melodrama stints on the actualité.

DON GIOVANNI

A CO-PRODUCTION WITH

NORTHERN IRELAND OPERA

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GRAND OPERA HOUSE | BELFAST

This Don Giovanni is Oliver Mears’s final production with Northern Ireland Opera before he heads to Covent Garden next year to take over from Kasper Holten as director of opera. And I bet his home fans will miss him, particularly because, despite a slightly uneven cast, Mears’s last hurrah in Belfast was a hugely entertaining and witty show, met with chuckles throughout.

Here, Mozart’s opera buffa was staged as a retro cruise-ship comedy, set in the 1960s on a luxury ocean liner (the Seville). Quite a neat idea; the social divide between passengers and staff echoed that of nobility and servants, while the “closed” set-up lent the Commendatore’s murder the air of a whodunnit.

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TURANDOT

A CO-PRODUCTION WITH

NORTHERN IRELAND OPERA

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GRAND OPERA HOUSE | BELFAST

Turandot is directed by Calixto Bieito, a man described by The Guardian as “the Quentin Tarantino of Opera”. Currently working to great acclaim with English National Opera and with a production soon to open at The Met in New York, Bieito is a director with a world-wide reputation for producing opera as spectacle. With aesthetic references ranging from Pedro Almodovar to Fritz Lang, Hitchcock to (yes) Tarantino, this new production of Turandot is without doubt visually stunning.