PETER CRAWLEY DOUBLECROSS
Lyric Theatre, Belfast. Ends Oct 27 8pm (Sat&Sunmat2.45pm)£18/£15 (concessions £10) lyrictheatre.ie In 1986, the playwright Thomas Kilroy imagined the circumstances of two Irish men who re-invented themselves as English nationalists. The first was Brendan Bracken, the British minister for information, and the second was William Joyce, better known as Lord Haw-Haw, the broadcaster and Nazi apologist. How did these two men find themselves on opposing sides of the second World War, two masterminds of propaganda in a battle for the hearts and minds of nations? The first company to puzzle out the conundrum was Field Day – Jim Sheridan directed the premiere production with Stephen Rea, Kate O’Toole and Richard Howard dividing 11 roles between them.
Now, as part of this year’s lively Belfast International Festival, the Lyric Theatre partner with the Abbey to produce the play’s first major revival since that auspicious beginning, directed by the Lyric’s Jimmy Fay. Kilroy said he wrote it in “a rage against the whole nature of fascism”, a force that sadly, seems to be making a comeback. The new production recognises a curious contemporary tension in this play about propaganda and persuasion, or, “how fake news won the Battle for Britain”. In a world saturated with delusions and falsehoods, can such battles be won again?
GrandOperaHouse,Belfast.Oct31 7.30pm £22-£28 belfastinternationalfestival.com In Link Link, a solo performance – with some assistance by an additional species – by the film legend Isabella Rossellini, we learn a little about the star and a lot about the rich inner life and complex communication strategies of the actor’s dog. Rossellini, it may come as some surprise to learn, is not new to meditations on animal behaviour, and not simply because she is familiar with the meetings and mechanisms of Hollywood. An earlier show of hers documented the sexual activities of fauna under the title Green Porno, some of which remains in this performance, which she co-directs with Guido Torlonia.
Here, Rossellini appears in the form of a ringmaster, and her dog, Peter Pan, parades in a succession of intra-species costumes, as they attempt to unravel the cerebral processes of animals. Do they have minds? How have they evolved? And how big is their trailer? More aleatory and amusing than cutesy and contrived, it allows Rossellini to share autobiographical details and anecdotes without taking the vexed “audience with” format. An unusual and starry offering for the Belfast Festival, at the very least it should provide some paws for thought.