Belfast Telegraph

Rea shines with his anarchic turn

RECITATIONS, readings, reflections and music – once the staple fare of domestic social gatherings in the era before television, mp3 and internet.

They were revisited in an hour-long programme assembled for Clandeboye Festival, featuring members of The Field Day Theatre Company.

Nine items were performed in total, including three short poems by Clare Dwyer Hogg, a Northern Irish-born writer. Dig In: Poem For Clandeboye I, the most substantial of these, spoke of the stultifying influence of the past with "too much to sift" and of a need to move life onward regardless. Apt words undoubtedly for a festival which this year contains striking innovations, and perhaps also for Hogg's native region.

Actress Jane Brennan contributed a mesmerising traversal of Samuel Beckett's Rockabye, swaying gently as she conjured the lulling musicality of its speech rhythms into motion.

There was music, too, Neil Martin delivering a brace of evocative mood-pieces based on traditional tunes on cello.

Festival director Barry Douglas was also on hand for the Irish premiere of Martin's piano work Memento, homo, combining elements of French impressionism with a generous slice of Slavic emotional rhetoric.

Best of all was actor Stephen Rea's anarchic rendition of a magnificently garrulous chunk of the Cyclops episode from James Joyce's novel Ulysses.

TERRY BLAIN

Belfast Telegraph

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