Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Marie takes centre stage in every way

Mairead Quigley plays Calamity and Damien Lavery is Wild Bill Hickock in Newry Musical Society's production of Calamity Jane at the Town Hall next week
Mairead Quigley plays Calamity and Damien Lavery is Wild Bill Hickock in Newry Musical Society's production of Calamity Jane at the Town Hall next week

Belfast playwright Marie Jones is in for a busy summer. Not only is she working with fellow writer Martin Lynch in adapting her award-winning drama Stones In His Pockets for the big screen, but she’s also got a few appointments on stage over the coming months.

The Grand Opera House is reviving Jones’ comedy Women on the Verge of HRT, which features Marie herself, alongside Dan Gordon.

The show plays for a couple of weeks in June, after which Marie and husband Ian McElhinney can grab a couple of weeks rest before the drama starts again.

In August, the pair head back to the GOH where McElhinney will direct the missus in the Charabanc classic Lay Up Your Ends.

Jones also features on stage in September — not personally this time, but when Paddy Kielty returns in her popular show A Night in November.

In fact Jones is providing the entire dramatic output at the Opera House for its new season, except for one show — Agatha Christie’s Spider’s Web, which will keep audiences guessing in September.

Agatha Christie is one for the adults — but there’s entertainment galore for younger theatre-goers next week when Belfast Children’s Festival begins.

Cahoots NI is already on the road around the country performing The Family Hoffman’s Mystery Palace, a children’s circus cabaret. The show rolls up at Clifton House in Belfast on May 21, and stays there until May 24 before continuing its tour around schools.

This weekend, Hansel and Gretel are at the Waterfront Hall.

No prizes for guessing who they meet there ...

There’s another Story of a Family at the Old Museum Arts Centre next weekend, when Italian company Compagnio Rodissio tell the tale of mum and dad and a little girl, who invite us to their dinner table, and serve up a slice of family life that is as tasty as it is familiar.

And nature, science and poetry meet in St Kevin’s Hall in Kalejdoskop — a lifesize kaleidoscope where everything is transformed into patterns.

You can follow your guide through crooked doors, along narrow tunnels into a chamber of curiosities.

This Danish show promises a performance like no other, and runs from next Friday through to Monday.

What about us? I hear the grown-ups cry.

Well, on Monday, Newry Musical and Orchestral Society are offering trips to Deadwood with their new production Calamity Jane.

Mairead Quigley makes her debut with the company as Calamity, in a show fairly packed to the brim with great songs.

It runs nightly until next Saturday in Newry Town Hall. The stage coach pulls in at 8pm.

grania.mcfadden@ntlworld.com

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