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Peter Pan Lyric Theatre

A Night To Remember ….in August

On the ball, Matthew McElhinney and Matthew Forsythe On the ball, Matthew McElhinney and Matthew Forsythe
By Ciara Quinn

THEATRE-goers will enjoy A Night in November in August as part of the Féile an Phobail drama line-up.
Marie Jones’ play, directed in this 2019 interpretation by her son, Matthew McElhinney charts the story of dole clerk Kenneth Norman McAllister, a Protestant who has always followed the rules and has “cleanly discriminated” against Catholics throughout his life. We meet him in all his brown, beige. vanilla glory, brown jacket, tie, shirt, pressed trousers and good, sturdy work shoes as he takes his place behind his desk, Monday to Friday, as the jobless file in looking their benefits.
This 25th anniversary tour comes after the play was first performed at Whiterock’s Dubblejoint Theatre as part of Féile which has in the past featurd such notables as Dan Gordon and Marty Maguire in the demanding role of Kenneth.
An acceptance into the local golf club is, for Kenneth, like winning a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket, and he takes great delight in informing his Catholic boss of the news, knowing his superior will never get to tee off on the hallowed green despite numerous applications.
It’s during the now infamous and politically charged 1993 World Cup qualifier at Windsor between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland that Kenneth, attending with his bigoted father-in-law, begins to change his mindset.
Gerard McCabe from Soda Bread Productions, who is producing the show, says it’s a “live’ reminder of how far we have come as a society”.
“I can’t believe the play is 25 years old, it still works today,” he said.
“The play is very relevant, probably now more so than ever, especially when we hear the speeches coming out of Boris Johnson, the now Prime Minister. The play shows a time in history of the bitterness of some people captured through Marie’s writing during that football match. I know there is a percentage on both sides of people who still hold a bit of resentment but hopefully the majority of us have moved on and this piece shows what can happen when we do move on.
“This is the first time I’ve done something like this, something on this scale, and it’s the same show, basically on people’s doorstep at the Devenish. We finished a fantastic run at the Lyric Theatre, the Féile is also part of our tour before we head to Derry. The Irish Arts Centre in New York came to see it in the Lyric and there is talk of taking it over to the States for the Irish Arts Festival in February.”
Gerard continued: “If people with tickets for the 80s Night which is happening as part of Féile want to come to the show first, then we wanted to put it out in the Andersonstown News that they can get a ticket half price if they show their ticket at the door or contact us via sodabreadtheatre@gmail – we can give them a code when booking.
“We are really looking forward to bringing the piece to the Devenish and hearing people’s reaction to the work.”

A Night in November will be performed at the Devenish Complex on Sunday, August 4. Doors open at 7pm. The performance will start at 7.30pm.
Tickets are priced at £12 and £15 and are available on the door or visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/a-night-in-november

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