Belfast Telegraph

Best feet forward

By GRANIA McFADDEN

A bit like buses, you wait for a dramatic tribute to George Best, and two come along at once

Audiences at the Sunday in the City event in the Ulster Hall enjoyed a preview of Dancing Shoes, a new musical about Georgie, written by Martin Lynch and Marie Jones, with songs from JJ Gilmour and Pat Gribben. The production will take to the stage at the Grand Opera House in July.

But footie fans needn’t wait long to see their hero portrayed on stage. Dance company Maiden Voyage has devised a drama celebrating Best’s football genius, which has been choreographed by Andy Howitt using music from across 40 decades. Best opens at the Island Arts Centre in Lisburn on February 26.

Few people might raise an eyebrow at the story of Triona Adams, who gave up a career as a theatrical agent to become a nun. But it’s all true. Nun the Wiser visits the Island Arts Centre this evening, and tells how Triona swapped premieres for prayers, and spent a year in a Benedictine convent. Living with 13 strong-minded women, Triona existed on a diet of Spam fritters and Dad’s Army and her story is a mix of wit and wimples.

The Old Museum Arts Centre had its last hurrah at the weekend and until the new MAC is open for business in 2012, OMAC’s resident companies will be looking for somewhere else to ply their wares. Red Lemon Theatre Company is one of them, and it’s already lining up its next production, called Dinner. The company will also be performing in the Black Box and the Ulster Hall's Group Space.

The Grand Opera House is also lining up a couple of shows, including Bulletproof, in which writer Gary Owen has created the fragmented world of siblings Michael and Alex, and focuses on the disturbing subject of suicide.

The main stage at the Opera House next week is reserved for a new play by Edna O’Brien. Haunted focuses on suburban couple Mr and Mrs Berry (Niall Buggy and Brenda Blethyn) who face a crisis in their marriage. Mr Berry is a househusband, stuck indoors, who spends his days fantasising about a better life. His wife is a bossy, working woman, suffering from stress, who is impatient with her husband’s lack of ambition.

Then he falls in love with a young woman, and the Berry household begins to fracture. Curtain up on Monday.

Finally, don’t forget Owen McCafferty’s The Absence of Women, which continues at the Elmwood Hall.

Ian McElhinney and Karl Johnson head the cast in a poignant story of love, loss and loneliness.

grania.mcfadden@ntlworld.com

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