THEATRE

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - THE TAKE -

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?

LINK LINK

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.

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