ArtBeat: striking canvases by Adrian Margey, BBC Centenary, Ulster Orchestra, Conor Mitchell, Rosemary Jenkinson, Into the Woods and Patrick Duffy
HOW do artists get out of confinement? Safer than our governments, it seems.
Adrian Margey, the Portrush artist who makes you see Northern Irish landscapes through a different, slightly tawny palette, is hosting his comeback show at the Drawing Office at the Titanic Hotel this weekend (adrianmargey.com).
No sinking feeling but, as he says, it’s great to be back after two years. So, has confinement proved to be stimulating? “It gave me time to reflect, to produce new works. The Titanic is very bright.”
Striking canvases in this sale exhibition (£400-1,000 for original oil paintings, £200 for prints) show a Belfast cityscape, with the Lagan winding through it.
Water is very difficult to apply to canvas (I’ve tried) but Mr. Margey’s best advice: “It’s really easy, just a few horizontal strokes, then a vertical or two.” In the right shade, of course.
The Ulster Orchestra kicked off the BBC’s 100th birthday party. It took over from the BBC Northern Ireland Orchestra and our great musicians provided a local programme.
Sorry to say it (and I’m sure it’s me) but the Hamilton Harty was, I felt, disappointing even though he was a very popular composer in his time. Much more bouncy was Democracy Dances by the super talented Conor Mitchell.
As John Toal pointed out on Radio 3, he resembled the great American composer John Adams in his rhythmic approach. Significant, in any case, and Mitchell’s Abomination: A DUP Opera over the conversion therapy row, soon returns to Belfast. Fair play to Stephen Nolan, whose interview with Iris Robinson provided plenty of citations for the job.
Argument-themed, a good literary falling out follows Rosemary Jenkinson’s publisher’s possibly misguided decision to withdraw her first novel contract after arguing in a hard-hitting Fortnight article that writers here should leave The Troubles. Outside of free speech, what about the memo saying “No publicity is bad publicity”?
Problem in the land of theaters. Really Sorry to Hear Five Star Performance of Stephen Sondheim’s Magical Musical In the woods cut short at the Lyric last Saturday by spectators who misbehaved.
It can happen, but they missed a treat in the subtle second act. Apparently, the MAC decided some time ago not to continue hosting the wonderful Maggie Muff, whose releases have moved to GOH. Indeed, the stalls may not have always been left as the public had found them…
Storm Franklin not only felled trees, it delayed the start of Catch Me If You Can with Patrick Duffy at the Grand Opera House. Due to opening on Monday, production was delayed as the set was stuck on a boat somewhere between Stranraer and Belfast.
But Duffy and his co-star – and real-life partner – Linda Purl (ex-Happy Days) are good sportsmen and make repeat reading of AR Gurney love letters. It was funny, tender and belied the idea that America is a classless society. No reviews allowed (it’s not, honestly…) but if we had reviewed I would have given it full marks.