Northern Ireland’s Lyric Theatre continues its strong run of diverse performances over the next few weeks, with a wide range of shows, from theater – ‘Fire Below: A War of Words,’ a play about reconciliation (see information below) to song, with concerts by well-known singer, Barbara Dickson, as well as The Three Tenors, to comedy, a tribute by Dan Gordon about long-time Belfast funny man, Frank Carson.
The tensely written ‘Fire Below: A War of Words’ is a companion piece to Owen McCafferty’s 2012 play, ‘Quietly,’ and focuses on the issue of reconciliation after the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement. The play is a co-production between the Lyric Theatre and the Abbey Theatre in association with the Belfast International Arts Festival. Directed by Lyric executive producer Jimmy Fay, the cast includes Ruairi Conaghan, Cara Kelly, Frankie McCafferty and Ali White. Hurry along as today is the last day to enjoy this fine piece of work.
Veteran Scottish singer Barbara Dickson is known by many, with hit songs including ‘I Know Him So Well,’ ‘Answer Me’ and ‘January February,’ fifteen albums in the UK Albums Chart and a two-time Olivier Award-winning actress. She will be accompanied by talented singer-musician Nick Holland.
Irish-born Dominic, Shane, and Derek, collectively known as ‘The Three Tenors,’ perform around 100 concerts each year including major venues throughout Ireland and the UK such as the National Concert Hall, the Cork Opera House, Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin Castle, as well as on television. While their concert at the Lyric is billed as ‘Celtic-flavored,’ it also includes uplifting songs made famous by superstars including Sinatra (My Way), The Dubliners (Wild Rover) and Pavarotti (O Sole Mio/Nessun Dorma).
Before his sad passing, Belfast-born Frank Carson blazed a comedy trail for over fifty years on television and in pubs and clubs nationwide. In 1976 alone, he did forty-one network TV shows. The Lyric’s one-man tribute show, written and performed by Dan Gordon, focuses on Carson’s life, from his Belfast boyhood through his adventures in the army and into the world of showbiz where he entertained both Queen and Pope.
On a recent visit to Belfast, I had the pleasure of seeing ‘The Weir,’ written by Conor McPherson, a co-production between Decadent Theatre Company and the Lyric. Utterly attentive expressions on audience faces around me illustrated the intense level to which they had been captivated by the ghostly atmosphere created by director Andrew Flynn, set designer, Owen McCarthaigh, lighting designer, Ciaran Bagnall, and sound designer, Carl Kennedy, as well, of course, the fine acting abilities of the five-member cast, Marty Maguire, Patrick Ryan, Frankie McCafferty, Garrett Keogh and Kerri Quinn.
‘The Weir’s is one of those rare plays in which nothing ‘happens’ but such is the quality and intrigue of the dialogue one half expects ‘something’ to happen suddenly out of nowhere. In other words, the magic is in the way the words paint pictures and set off various trains of thought in the listener/viewer, without the need for dramatic action. The fact that cold winds blew hither and thither outside the theater only added to the suspenseful nature of the play and the mood inside the rural Irish pub setting.