Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Out to lunch for Elvis

One man and his dog — Stand-up poet Elvis McGonagall will be on the programme of the Out to Lunch arts festival in Belfast this weekend

While Twilight continues to do business at the box office, the Lyric Theatre’s drama studio has taken up the shadowy theme of vampirism for its current production.



A Vampire Story centres around two young women — Eleanor and Claire — who arrive in a small town. Their identities are a mystery — are they sisters? Or mother and daughter? It’s assumed the pair are on the run from trouble, but perhaps they are really vampires?

This dark tale has been woven by award-winning writer Moira Buffini and directed by Anna Newell.

Both are working with 23 students on the actor training programme with the Lyric Theatre, offering the young people a chance to showcase their talent and take a first step on the ladder. Just like the young actors on the programme, Anna and Moira met 24 years ago as aspiring theatre students. This is the first time both have collaborated as a team.

There’s one more chance to see A Vampire Story, which is on stage at the Elmwood Hall in Belfast. Eleanor and Claire will be on stage at 7.30 this evening — after the sun goes down. And while students do their best to break through in theatre here, others are making their mark elsewhere, like Newtownards playwright Billy Cowan.

His new play, Care Takers, has just been selected for Re:Play, a theatre festival staged in Manchester’s Library Theatre.

It is one of just six plays chosen from several hundred, and it has already won great acclaim in Dublin and Dundalk. Billy hopes to see his work performed in Northern Ireland soon.

Finally, the Out to Lunch Arts Festival continues in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, with a feast of entertainment on the menu until the end of the month.

Expect plenty of colour when standup poet, armchair revolutionary and recumbent rocker Elvis McGonagall takes to the stage at the Black Box tomorrow (Saturday). He will be joined by Mark Madden, described as “a stalwart of the Belfast performance scene”.

Meanwhile, Rebecca Vaughan’s solo show about Austen’s Women, in which she explores how Elizabeth Bennett, Emma Woodhouse and even the vile Mrs Norris speak as much for females today as they ever did in Jane’s time, captivated audiences in the Black Box last night.

If you missed the show, despair not. Austen’s Women will be reconvening at the Market Place Theatre in Armagh on Tuesday.

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