The Web The­atre, New­tow­nards, Wed­nes­day, 1pm & 6pm

Belfast Telegraph - - LIFE -

This the­atri­cal de­tec­tive story (above) for any­one aged over seven com­bines mu­sic, glam­our, magic and a lit­tle mur­der…

A phone rings in the dead of night. Sam Sullivan, a small­time pri­vate eye, hears a fright­ened voice on the end of the line. “Some­one’s try­ing to kill me.”

The voice leads Sam to a strange trav­el­ling show at the edge of town where he meets es­capol­o­gist Felix and his as­sis­tants — one of whom ap­pears to have mur­der in mind. Sullivan is plunged into dan­ger and a case with more twists than a corkscrew.

For de­tails, tel 028 9181 0803.

The­atre Niche, Mar­ket Place The­atre, Ar­magh Thurs­day, 8pm

When a mys­te­ri­ous new beauty en­ters high so­ci­ety, the in-crowd are bent back­wards try­ing to find out ex­actly who they’re deal­ing with.

Os­car Wilde’s satire pulls apart the in­tri­ca­cies of eti­quette and flips ex­pec­ta­tion head over heels.

Ex­ploit­ing themes of stereo­type, su­per­fi­cial­ity and sac­ri­fice, the pro­duc­tion com­bines Com­me­dia dell’arte and ex­ag­ger­ated chore­og­ra­phy to recre­ate the fast-spin­ning world of whis­pers be­hind the fans.

For de­tails, tel: 028 3752 1821.

Gra­nia McFad­den

Craig David is in a good mood. And why wouldn’t he be? Barely a year since the re­lease of his num­ber one al­bum, Fol­low­ing My In­tu­ition, he’s pre­par­ing to re­lease a fol­low-up, The Time Is Now, in Jan­uary. His club night, TS5, is now a jug­ger­naut of an event and there’s a unan­i­mous sense that he’s re­in­stated him­self back into the main­stream.

“The last year has been amaz­ing,” he says. “Some of the things go­ing on ... and then to think that the last al­bum only came out a year ago. I think it was be­cause I was in a re­ally cre­ative place. I still am.

“Off the back of the al­bum drop­ping, the arena tour… I hit the ground run­ning and didn’t stop. I was in the stu­dio and car­ried on through Christ­mas, New Year’s, and all of a sud­den I had all th­ese songs.

“I thought, ‘You know what? We could ac­tu­ally re­lease an­other al­bum with this’. Times have changed from peo­ple wait­ing for a cer­tain pe­riod of time. If you’ve got it and you’re not rush­ing it, then go for it.”

On Fol­low­ing My In­tu­ition there were plenty of nods to the old-school garage mu­sic that David helped to pi­o­neer with his de­but, Born To Do It, in 2000.

On The Time Is Now there’s a clear pro­gres­sion of his sound, which main­tains the best el­e­ments of garage and brings in UK R&B, elec­tronic and grime mu­sic with a smor­gas­bord of guests, from AJ Tracey to GoldLink and Bastille to Kay­tranada.

Some songs, like the catchy, op­ti­mistic first sin­gle Heart­line, have that same up­lift­ing feel as many of the tracks on Fol­low­ing My In­tu­ition. Oth­ers, like Live In The Mo­ment, fea­tur­ing US rap­per GoldLink, have a harder, sex­ier tone. If you were scep­ti­cal about David’s come­back be­fore, you won’t be when The Time Is Now drops next year.

Mak­ing an­other al­bum af­ter Fol­low­ing My In­tu­ition felt “re­ally or­ganic”, he says, and would have hap­pened re­gard­less of whether he’d made it to num­ber one in the al­bum charts. And the fea­tures on this record hap­pened al­most in spite of that.

While David prob­a­bly had his pick of artists want­ing to fea­ture on The Time Is Now, he chose to work with artists who are still grow­ing — who still have a buzz around them.

On Get In­volved he switches up the dy­namic of the record en­tirely with JP Cooper, where he sings a steely warn­ing about a girl who’s “not quite right”. David says it re­minds him of the vibe of Eminem’s Guilty Con­science.

“I feel like a lot of th­ese artists on the al­bum are al­ready stars in their own right, just give them time, and I’m so grate­ful to be a part of what they’re do­ing,” he ex­plains.

So David will be­come one of a few artists who are cham­pi­oning an al­bum of col­lab­o­ra­tions with ex­cit­ing new stars, rather than those who are al­ready es­tab­lished, plac­ing The Time Is Now along­side records such as Mura Masa’s self-ti­tled de­but, Kay­tranada’s 99.9%, and Calvin Har­ris’s Funk Wav Bounces Vol 1. “On this lat­est record, Calvin could have done a fall-the-floor EDM record,” David nods. “But he was like, ‘You know what? I’m gonna do Slide’. Frank Ocean. Com­pletely curve­ball and still smash it. That’s some­one who lives this, it’s not a hobby for him. And I think that’s kind of the way I live this mu­sic. From Rewind to all the way now.”

He’s touched at the thought that he’s re-es­tab­lished him­self as a cred­i­ble artist fol­low­ing one or two bumps in the road — no mean feat in an in­dus­try that’s for­got­ten the next big thing by the mid­dle of next week.

It’s slightly de­press­ing to think about how a man with a rub­ber mask (Leigh Fran­cis of Bo Selecta fame) man­aged to ob­scure an artist who, in 2000, had just re­leased one of the most ex­cep­tional de­but al­bums of the year.

Yet David, who is nat­u­rally pos­i­tive, does not ap­pear to re­sent how hard he’s had to work to get to where he is now.

“What I love is that I know what’s go­ing on be­hind the scenes. The TS5 house par­ties… build­ing that for three or four years to where you’re stand­ing in front of a Glas­ton­bury crowd like it’s a rave, do­ing a 25-minute show and think­ing how far this has come,” he says.

“I think this mu­sic has given me the chance to not only have a jour­ney with peo­ple who have grown up with my mu­sic, but also have a whole new gen­er­a­tion who have dis­cov­ered it.

“For me that’s so ex­cit­ing, to see peo­ple who are gonna hear UK R&B and hav­ing young kids say­ing, ‘This is dif­fer­ent’. Most of the younger gen­er­a­tion have only heard my dance stuff.”

David’s TS5 sets are un­de­ni­ably thrilling. At Hack­ney club Shapes in 2015, when the mu­sic in­dus­try and his fans were buzzing at hints of a come­back, he played his classic tracks, hinted at new ones and re­worked hits by other artists to a ca­pac­ity venue, with a su­perb un­der­stand­ing of his au­di­ence’s crav­ing for nos­tal­gia and the new.

“It does feel TS5 gave me such a new lease of life,” he says. “I’d play Mu­sic Sounds Bet­ter With You over Wild Thoughts, do a freestyle and the crowds…” He stops, smil­ing at the mem­ory.

“The one I was do­ing in Ibiza, the age range is like 18 to 35. So when you’re see­ing 18-yearolds go­ing mad for the Star­dust thing… cool guys giv­ing it some­thing, girls with their friends. But Mu­sic Sounds Bet­ter is Nineties… so it’s the same mind­set that I was in when I was do­ing Rewind — I was test­ing songs.

“See­ing some­one’s face light up, or if they’re not re­ally into it, you need that, be­cause oth­er­wise you’re out of touch with what peo­ple are feel­ing.”

The sin­gle Heart­line is out now. The al­bum The Time Is Now will be re­leased on Jan­uary 26

Thrilling come­back: Craig David and (be­low) the singer and DJ on stage

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