Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

When loyalty takes on a new identity

Lyric Theatre, Belfast

Tonight -amp; tomorrow, 8pm

Sunday, 3pm

If you'd had a flutter on which local playwright would next work with Irish language company Aisling Ghear, the odds are that Gary Mitchell wouldn't have been top of the list. Mitchell, whose powerful dramas are set deep within the world of loyalism, has seen his new play, Love Matters, translated into Irish for its world premiere.

Hands across the barricades, and who'd have thought it?

We can measure progress in Northern Irleland not only through politics, but also through art.

Billed as a tragi-comedy, Love Matters centres around Big Ernie, who is due for release from prison - back to the estate from whence he came, where life has continued.

But things have changed big time since he last strode the streets of Rathcoole. While he's been behind bars, his wife has been seeing the 18-year-old son of the detective who put him there. Set against a feud between loyalists and the PSNI, Love Matters tackles a whole range of themes surrounding loyaIty, trust and forgiveness.

The performance is in Irish, with a live translation into English. Expect fireworks, fury and the odd gunshot, in this unusual presentation of life on the front line in a working-class estate, written by someone from one side of the peace wall, and produced by those from the other side.

See www.lyrictheatre.co.uk for details.

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