Plays, gospel music and opera: all at the Riverside

COLERAINE’S Riverside Theatre is delighted to announce that it will be playing host to four very different promotions on the main stage this week.

Firstly – country and western and gospel fans will be interested in The Country Gospel Music Show, at 8pm on Wednesday, February 29.

It features a host of your favourite C & W performers from Belfast, headed by CD recording artist Elaine Wood. Elaine is joined in this concert by a backing band which includes two other well-known faces.

Tony Kerr is best known around the province for his great versions of Slim Whitman songs, and one song that he always gets requested is “Precious Lord”. People know Tony as the gentle giant of country music, who invariably has a great story to tell about all his worldly travels.

Eugene O’Dornan performs a great range of music, and he’s best known for a lovely gospel song called “High on a Hill top, we kneel to pray”. He is also an accomplished songwriter with many other artists having recorded his songs.

Elaine Wood has performed a lot of country gospel shows in the past but is also known for her great music from the 50s. People will probably identify Elaine with her hit song “Come home to Belfast”.

And Patsy Cline numbers are always top of the list too. Tony, Elaine and Eugene are backed by a fabulous band, whose members are also great singers and comedy-routine performers.

On Friday, a huge success from last year’s programme is being brought back for those who either missed it, or who would like to see it again.

Singin’ I’m No a Billy, He’s a Tim! is a hard-hitting comedy all about sectarianism and shows what just might happen if you lock up a Celtic fan with a Rangers fan on Old Firm Day! But be prepared for hard-hitting, strong language.

It’s a show which has been touring the UK and Ireland for over a year now, owing to its huge popularity. The show is brought to Riverside from Scotland and the Goldfish Theatre Company.

This Saturday at 8pm sees a new development from a new company: fully professional NI Opera will be presenting its brand new version of a classic – The Turn of the Screw by Benjamin Britten. See a separate feature on these pages.

And finally, a production directed by international Irish actor Adrian Dunbar hits the Riverside stage on Monday and Tuesday, March 5-6 Carthaginians, by playwright Frank McGuinness.

This particular work has often been acknowledged as one of the few enduring plays to have emerged from ‘The Troubles’.

An elegy for Bloody Sunday in Derry, it is the survival of tragedy, of intense grief which becomes the unspoken subject through the personal journeys of three women and three men who camp out in a graveyard awaiting the rise of the dead.

Tickets for all of the above, and for all Riverside’s shows through until this summer, can be purchased online by logging onto www.riversidetheatre.org.uk or by calling the staffed box office on 02870 123 123.