Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Whale of a time to be had in Belfast

The sign of the Whale, Baby Grand, Belfast

Friday, March 12, 8pm

Here in Northern Ireland, we like our heartbreak to come dosed with a large sprinkling of humour. Straight tragedy seems a bit — well, tragic — to us.

Belfast playwright Jimmy McAleavey knows what his home audience demands, and his new play — set in his home town in bomb-blasted 1977 — promises laughter and tears in almost equal measure.

There should be plenty of pithy one-liners and toe-curling puns, too. For the central character in The Sign of the Whale is Dermy, a war-weary sub-editor who spends his working hours thinking of snappy headlines to signpost the latest terrorist atrocity.

A career based on murder and mayhem has left Dermy (played by Miche Doherty) with a black hole where his heart should be, and when we meet him, he’s on the brink of a breakdown.

Enter upbeat teenager Tony, who still believes the Troubles should be packed up into a kit bag and left in the past. For him, the best is yet to come.

So far so predictable. But what’s this? A killer whale puts in a cameo appearance in Belfast Lough — as big a symbol of Northern Ireland’s past as we’re likely to see on stage this year — prompting our odd couple to take the plunge and search for it, and while they’re there, for a shared future.

The play runs at the Baby Grand until March 20, but if you miss it in Belfast fear not — Tinderbox Theatre Company will also be bringing their production to several other venues around Northern Ireland later this month, including Coleraine’s Riverside Theatre.

Tickets £10.75 & £12.25,

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Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant


Don't bring your work home with you. Although you're wonderfully efficient in your job, you require different skills when dealing with friends and family. Be generous with your praise, resources and encouragement. Someone who is struggling needs moral support. Giving a lecture about personal responsibility will not help. Instead, lend a sympathetic ear. Ask questions. Picture things from the other person's point of view. A receptive attitude will strengthen your relationship.More