sat 13/04/2024

Northern Ireland

The Heist Before Christmas, Sky Max review - the Santa Claus wars

Not just one, but two Santas in this agreeable seasonal romp. It’s set in small-town Northern Ireland, where single mum Patricia (Laura Donnelly) is struggling to bring up her two young sons, Mikey (Bamber Todd) and Sean (Joshua McLees). Her job at...

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Ulster American, Riverside Studios review - knockabout comedy with an acid bite

David Ireland’s Edinburgh Fringe hit Ulster American is essentially a play about a play that a Hollywood big name has been cast in by a leading English theatre director. Appropriately, it stars two actual Hollywood “big names”, Woody Harrelson...

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Album: David Holmes - Blind on a Galloping Horse

It’s always encouraging to a have a musical rallying call in times of political strife. A song for a better future to encourage those on the right side of history not just to march but to dance as well.As Emma Goldman, the Russian-born anarchist of...

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Album: Ash - Race the Night

Northern Irish rockers Ash appeared in the mid-Nineties, channelling The Ramones when the UK was in thrall to either bangin’ club music or Britpop. They had a good commercial run, longer than almost all their contemporaries, mustering 18 Top 40 UK...

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Album: Kaidi Taitham - The Only Way

The broken beat movement, centred on West London around the turn of the millennium, wasn’t super press friendly. Its complex rhythms were eclipsed in the populism stakes by its close cousin UK garage, and serious commentators didn’t really know what...

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Akedah, Hampstead Theatre review - long-separated sisters reunite to battle over their past

Michael John O’Neill’s first full-length play, premiering at the Hampstead's studio space downstairs, is a puzzler. There’s the title, to start with, a Hebrew word that means “binding” and is a reference to the story of Abraham preparing his son...

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Album: Two Door Cinema Club - Keep On Smiling

Three and a half years on from 2019’s False Alarm, Keep On Smiling comes album number five from Northern Ireland trio, Two Door Cinema Club. Known for having more bounce to the ounce than your average band, their brand of guitar-flecked electro pop...

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Prom 31, Alder, Ulster Orchestra, Rustioni review - a summer night's dream

The Ulster Orchestra’s Prom finished early to accommodate a late-night concert by the esteemed Tredegar Band – but by then, we’d already enjoyed one spectacular brass showcase. Under its justly-praised chief conductor Daniele Rustioni (formerly...

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Album: Van Morrison - What's It Gonna Take?

The mystifying chasm between Van Morrison’s personality and music became total with last year’s Latest Record Project Volume 1, as masterfully sung, textbook R&B rolled under biliously paranoid words. This 28-song more than double-album was...

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Here Before review - family values under supernatural pressure

You generally find that a movie with Andrea Riseborough in it is worth a look, and so it proves here. Written and directed by Belfast-born Stacey Gregg, Here Before is a nicely-focused story which plays echoes of the supernatural off against a taut...

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Belfast review - coming of age amid the terror of the Troubles

For all his achievements as actor and director, Kenneth Branagh isn’t immediately thought of as a screenwriter, despite his multiple Shakespeare adaptations. That may all change with Belfast, because Branagh’s deeply personal account (he’s both...

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The 4th Country, Park Theatre review – sympathetic and intriguing

History is a prison. Often, you can’t escape. It imprints its mark on people, environments and language. And nowhere is this more true that in Northern Ireland, where the history of conflict between the Republican Catholic community and the Loyalist...

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