Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 1 March 2015

Review: National Anthem, Baby Grand, Belfast

Debut Bateman comedy is a hit-and-miss affair ... so it is!

A poet and a musician meet to discuss working together. They don't see eye to eye about the project. This is the plot not only for Alan Bennett's new play, but also that of Colin Bateman's debut stage comedy, National Anthem.

The trademark humour from Bateman’s books has an uneasy transition to stage. But he still has plenty of mileage poking fun at Norn Iron's stereotypes, all of whom lean heavily on the past to find a way through to their futures.

Miche Doherty is Dessie O'Hare, a poet who has fled his west Belfast home for the tranquility of Galway, and whose work leans more heavily on nature than nurture. Stuart Graham plays Gary Miller, composer of Irish muzak, whose albums sell in their millions to gullible Yanks.

They've been brought together to compose a national anthem for our wee country. Their pasts are foreign countries they left behind long ago,and they can find no common ground with each other, or with the new Northern Ireland, in which neither of them live.

Director Rachel O'Riordan leads the cast on a merry chase around the stage of the Baby Grand before they find harmony in the middle of the mayhem.

There are fewer laughs than Bateman fans might have expected but when Conor Mitchell’s anthem is finally aired, you can almost imagine how it will sound when belted out at Windsor Park, so you can.

Grania McFadden

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Nightlife Galleries


Latest Entertainment News

Latest Music News

Latest Film & TV News

Latest Eating Out News


Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant


You'll be asked to assume additional responsibilities at work. Be open to acquiring new skills. A negative attitude could result in a job loss. Even if you're unhappy with your current employer, you should take this opportunity to expand your knowledge. The more you know, the greater your value will be to the job market. Pay your dues now as a means to forge a happier, healthier career. The opportunity to join a start up company is around the corner.More