Arts Column with Conor Malone

Arts Column with Conor Malone
This week’s highlights include the panto at The Balor, The Wizard of Oz, Puddle Alley Theatre Group’s comedy Bookworms at An Grianan, comedian PJ Gallagher at An Grinana, Conal Gallen’s A bit on the Side at the Alley in Strabane, Derry’s panto Jack & The Beanstalk at the Millennium Forum and the Harlem Gospel Choir at An Grianan.

This week’s highlights include the panto at The Balor, The Wizard of Oz, Puddle Alley Theatre Group’s comedy Bookworms at An Grianan, comedian PJ Gallagher at An Grinana, Conal Gallen’s A bit on the Side at the Alley in Strabane, Derry’s panto Jack & The Beanstalk at the Millennium Forum and the Harlem Gospel Choir at An Grianan.

It’s panto time here at The Balor and The Wizard of Oz is in full swing. It runs until Friday December 5th. Both Fridays and the Saturday and Sunday shows are fully booked so tonight (Thursday 27th), next Wednesday December 3rd or Thursday December 4th are your remaining options for tickets.

Elsewhere tonight, Puddle Alley Theatre Group bring their comedy Bookworms to An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny.

Comedian PJ Gallagher is at An Grianan, Letterkenny on Friday. There’s more comedy in The Alley, Strabane with Conal Gallen’s A Bit On The Side, Donal O Kelly performs Joyced! At The Playhouse in Derry and The November Revelry takes place at Voodoo Vintage in Letterkenny. It’s also panto season at The Millennium Forum in Derry. Jack & The Beanstalk opens tomorrow Friday November 28th and runs until January 4th. Check with the venue for dates, times and prices.

The Harlem Gospel Choir are at An Grianan, Letterkenny on Saturday while local outfit The Pox Men launch their new album at Greenroom Live upstairs in Voodoo. Roy Chubby Brown is at The Millennium Forum, there’s jazz and soul at The Playhouse, Derry in the company of Dana Masters & Linley Hamilton and Brassneck Theatre Company’s brand new comedy The Holy Holy bus is at The Alley, Strabane.

Bugsy Malone opens at An Grianan, Letterkenny on Tuesday December 2nd. It’s there at 8pm nightly until Saturday 6th and there’s also a matinee on Saturday afternoon at 2.30pm. And the Ulster Orchestra visit The Alley Strabane for some Christmas tunes on Wednesday December 3rd.

Bugsy Malone

At An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny’s big in-house production of Bugsy Malone hits the stage this week.

Fans of the Alan Parker film are no doubt familiar with the storyline. It’s set in New York in 1929 and loosely based on events from the US prohibition era of Al Capone. Two gangs are in a vicious turf war with Dandy Dan’s gang gaining the upper hand as a result of getting their hands on the ‘splurge’ gun – a weapon that shoots whipped cream. As a result, Fat Sam and his bumbling buffoons are in real trouble. Enter one time boxer Bugsy Malone, Fat Sam’s last chance of survival.

The 1976 movie was a huge hit due to the novel idea of having children play the role of gangsters – most notably the young Jodie Foster’s memorable performance in the role of the femme fatale Tallulah. This stage version directed by Kieran Kelly does the same thing with a cast of over 70 local young performers ready to blow you away. Featuring well known hit songs such as ‘Bad Guys’, ‘Fat Sam’s Grand Slam’ and ‘So You Wanna Be A Boxer’, Bugsy Malone is filled with singing, dancing and, of course, plenty of splurge. Bugsy Malone opens this Tuesday 2nd and runs at 8pm nightly until Saturday December 6th.

at An Grianan Letterkenny. There’s also a matinee show at 2.30pm on Saturday afternoon. Tickets are €15 (€12 concession) for all shows except for Thursday December 2nd. This is a fund raiser for St Eunan’s GAA club with all tickets €20. For bookings and more information contact An Grianan on 0749120777 or visit their website www.angrianan.com

Annie Takers?

One of the big successes of 2014 here at The Balor was Balor Developmental Community Arts Group’s production of The Sound Of Music. It played to packed houses over 9 nights last April and May, receiving rave audience reviews. The creative team of director Kieran Quinn and musical director Denise Roper will again collaborate on a production of another much loved musical – Annie – set to hit the Balor stage in April 2015.

Balor DCA are hosting a public meeting next Monday night December 1st at 7.30pm at The Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey. The meeting is open to anyone who’s interested in getting involved either onstage or behind the scenes. The parts available are for girls aged 6-14 years and for adults. There won’t be auditions next Monday – anyone that attends will be given a piece of music to take away with them to prepare for the audition proper.

So, if you can sing, dance or act why not come along and see what’s what? It could be the start of some of the most fun you’ve ever had.

Angels Of Harlem

The world famous Harlem Gospel Choir are the prestigious visitors to Letterkenny this week as they bring their inspiring soulful music to An Grianan, Letterkenny.

Founded in 1988, the choir draws its core singers from various black churches in the Harlem community. From it’s debut gig at New York’s Cotton Club, they’ve gone on to perfrom for Nelson Mandela at Yankee Stadium and for the Pope in Central Park.

Probably best known in Ireland for their collaboration with U2 on the song I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For from the Rattle and Hum album, they’ve also joined forces with The Chieftains on their US tour, so there’s a definite Irish connection there.

The Harlem Gospel Choir play An Grianan, Letterkenny this Saturday November 29th at 8pm. Tickets are €30, available from An Grianan on 0749120777 or online at www.angrianan.com

Last Stop For The Holy Holy Bus

Recommended viewing this weekend is The Holy Holy Bus at Strabane’s Alley Theatre - a hilarious tale following the madcap adventures of four women on a pilgrimage tour bus leaving Belfast to see the holy sites of Ireland.

Director Tony Devlin and production company Brassneck have been responsible for some fine shows in recent years – A Night With George, The Sweety Bottle and Man In The Moon spring immediately to mind.

The cast – Stella McCusker, Caroline Curran, Roisin Gallagher and Clair Connor - also have considerable pedigree. Stella won the Irish Times Best Actress Award in 2010 of her performance in The Beauty Queen Of Leenane while Caroline starred in the recent hit production of 50 Shades Of Red, White and Blue.

This is the last stop on what has been a very well received tour for a show that will have you laughing, crying and maybe even praying for a little bit of divine inspiration yourself. The Holy Holy Bus is at The Alley, Strabane this Saturday November 29th at 8pm. Tickets are £12 sterling available from The Alley on 048 7138 4444 or online at www.alley-theatre.com