Belfast Telegraph

Feast at festival

By Grania McFadden

The diverse menu offered by the 2007 Belfast Festival at Queen's is worth perusing

It doesn't seem a year since we were all gearing up for another Belfast Festival at Queen's.

Suddenly, the 2007 programme has been launched, and it's time once again to scour the brochure and book tickets before the 'sold out' signs go up.

There's plenty of serious drama on offer this year - a taste of life through the eyes of a Slovakian emigrant, Shakespeare's bloody tale of ambition and betrayal and harrowing stories of apartheid perpetrators and victims - as well as theatre with a bit of a laugh from local company Tinderbox.

Fresh from its award-winning success at the Edinburgh Fringe, Truth in Translation makes its Northern Ireland debut at the Lyric Theatre during the festival. The production follows the story of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission through the eyes and ears of interpreters who translated proceedings into South Africa's 11 official languages. This piece of musical theatre runs from October 24-November 3.

Seeing life through other, unfamiliar eyes, is a theme of this year's festival theatre. Sclavi/The Song of an Emigrant presents a drama through the eyes of an economic migrant who returns home after many years in America. Drawing on old Ukranian songs and the letters of emigrants and Josef Capel's Horbuda, this dance-theatre piece takes the stage at the Waterfront Hall Studio from October 23-26.

If it's a road trip you're after then you could cadge a lift with Greig Coetzee for Johnny Boskak Is Feeling Funny. Greg embarks on a love story, a quest for faith and a car chase across South Africa. It's a mini-rock opera for the spoken word or a road movie for the stage, brought to life with projections of South African landscapes and live music from guitarist Syd Kitchen. You can travel across the world with Greg when he pulls up at the Old Museum Arts Centre from October 23-27.

Following on from the success of the critically acclaimed History of The Troubles Accordin' to My Da, co-writers Conor Grimes and Alan McKee present a 'serious comedy' about drink, denial and desperate measures, The Duke of Hope. Catch it at Queen's Drama Theatre from October 19-November 3.

Rosie Kay Dance Company's The Wild Party captures all the energy, debauchery and sleaze of the golden age with its tales of sex, jealousy, contempt, brawls and clinches, all played out to the music of a live jazz band. The Old Museum plays host to this wild show from October 30-November 3.

Crumlin Road Gaol is the haunting backdrop for a tale of ambition and betrayal as Replay Productions and the Old Museum Arts Centre and Belfast Festival present Shakespeare's Macbeth. If the story doesn't send shivers up your spine, the setting will. This unique production runs from October 22-November 3.

This will be the Lyric's last festival for a couple of years, as the doors at Ridgeway Street close in December, and the theatre is to be demolished, making way for a brand new venue for drama in Belfast.

So no better time to look back at the cream of professional drama in Northern Ireland over the past 40 years. The Lyric will be hosting LyricFest on October 27 and 28. A number of rehearsed readings including Deirdre by WB Yeats, Tea in a China Cup by Christina Reid, Goodnight Irene by Jennifer Johnston and We Do it for Love by Patrick Galvin will share the stage.

Then, on the evening of October 27, seven directors, seven writers and 28 actors present seven new short plays, rehearsed in the space of just 24 hours. Is that possible?

Finally, if you're finding it hard to wind down during festival nights, you might want to slip Under the Covers, a series of late-night readings at Queen's Drama Studio from November 1-3. Included are Philip Ridley's Murcury, Debris by Denis Kelly and Dinner by Moira Buffini. Three emerging directors present their favourite contemporary plays for your pleasure. The only thing missing is hot chocolate and marshmallows ¿

Belfast Telegraph


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