Portico Arts & Heritage Centre in Portaferry has five fabulous theatre shows coming up in the next few weeks. ‘Years of Our Jimmy’ on Sat 19 Jan is William Caulfield’s hilarious tribute to the legendary James Young. The show combines original and new material to bring back the beloved comedy characters of Lily O’Condriac, Billy Hulk, Big Derek, Orange Lil, Willie Simpson, The Ballymena Man and wee Sammy the Schoolboy. How is Derek’s mammy? Is Emily Beattie still on the scrounge? Has Billy Hulk started any more strikes? Is Willie Simpson ever sober? To find out the answers to these questions and much more in comedy sketches and songs this is a show not to be missed.
Frank Carson: A Rebel Without A Pause arrives on Sat 9 Feb. Belfast funnyman Frank Carson blazed a comedy trail for over fifty years. In this acclaimed one-man show, written and performed by Dan Gordon, we journey with Frank from his Belfast boyhood – where life was so tough even the arms on the chairs had tattoos – through his adventures in the army, and into the world of showbiz where he entertained Royalty, delighted Pope John Paul II and never forgot where he came from. A whirlwind comedy drama celebrating the man, the myth and the mouth – it’s a cracker!
On Sat 23 Feb, Pip Utton brings his multi-award winning show Playing Maggie to Portico. “Master of the self-written character monologue, Pip Utton lifts the genre onto a new plane with his embodiment of Margaret Thatcher” (The Stage). A fascinating exploration of an actor facing the challenge of Playing Maggie. The show includes an in-character Q&A. What would you like to ask Maggie?
Centre Stage Theatre Company brings its new show The Trials of Oscar Wilde on Sat 2 Mar. From the actual transcript of Edward Carson’s brilliant cross-examination, Wilde’s only surviving grandson, and international director John O’Connor, have collected and dramatised Court records, journalist’s notes and newspaper reports of the three trials involving the flawed genius, Oscar Wilde. The review in The Independent stated ‘…the result is as good as being in the gallery.’
Last of the five is Freak Show by Big Telly Theatre Productions on Fri 15 Mar. Freak Show is a highly inventive blast of theatre which collides comedy, visuals and taut poetic text with true stories of people who were displayed as freaks in the 18th Century. Fast talking eejits are hell bent to get rich quick with their bizarre bazaar of curiosities and the unexpected, but they get more than they bargained for in this radical roadshow of revenge.
Music fans are, of course, also catered for. January brings country’s finest Derek Ryan, February sees The Lonesome Ace Stringband from Canada and March features the world’s number one guitarist Don Alder, the splendid Chamber Philharmonic of Europe and the fABBAulous Bjorn Identity.
For further information or to buy tickets visit www.porticoards.com. All concerts always finish in good time for the last ferry. Portico is supported by Ards and North Down Borough Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.