Art Beat: Array Collective and the Turner Prize, Stephen Sondheim, NI Opera and Into The Woods – plus Goldilocks and the Three Bears (and May McFettridge …)

Opera music


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Array Collective’s Turner Prize-winning installation, The Druithaib’s Ball

THE Turner Prize, now in its 36th year, is the enfant terrible of art awards, with nominees such as Tracey Emin’s My bed and the Chapman brothers’ trafficked Goyas (neither won).

Array Collective from Belfast won the 2021 title (and £ 25,000) with Druithaib’s ball, an Irish political ad recreation with banners on conversion therapy and reproductive rights.

The team of 11 artists beat a field of collectives, something Sunday opening hours critic Waldemar Januszczak called it “social engineering,” but perhaps appropriate for these times of Covid-19 where we have all tried to come together.

The end of the individual artistic effort is up for debate. The Array winners celebrated, how else, with a few “au shebeen” pints late Wednesday …


The great Stephen Sondheim, who passed away last week. His Into The Woods will be performed by the Northern Ireland Opera at the Lyric Theater in February. Photo by Yui Mok / PA Wire

TIMING is everything in the theater. What the late Stephen Sondheim, who left the world stage on November 26 at the age of 91, undoubtedly knew.

Shows of the big man are popping up everywhere from Manhattan to south Belfast, as the Northern Ireland Opera’s first musical theater production coming to the Lyric Theater in February is In the woods.

It suits the dark season with its reworking of Grimm’s fairy tales like Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel, indicating childhood stories cast a long shadow. Rumors say it could turn into a Sondheim trilogy.

Word and riffing Jimi Hendrix noted that death could be a decent career development: “Once you’re dead, you’re meant to be.”

This is clearly not the case with Sondheim, whose long career has given us the words of West Side Story, plus the ultimate urban and bittersweet harmony in our lives via A little night music, Sweeney todd, so much…

Sondheim’s titles like Marry me a little reveal this Cole Porter style genius. While you are debating the version of Send the Clowns you prefer (Glynis Johns is still good), consider his musicianship and major-minor pleasure in Sorry-Grateful.

Radio 3 Lunch revealed that Stephen Sondheim had produced a production of We ride happily and advising the cast, “Don’t worry, God is here,” not totally seriously.

Cameron Menzies, Artistic Director of NI Opera, said: “We hope to create a magnificent tribute to one of the greatest songwriters / lyricists of all time. There really is now a giant in the sky.

On the way to the Grand Opera to see Goldilocks and the three bears. Or Goldilocks and the three bears and May McFettridge, whose comic timing remains sparkling.

This circus-based story is cheesy, but in a good way. The villain of the play is the evil circus owner, Countess von Vinklebottom (Anne Smith). Although on a smaller scale than the pre-Covid outings, Goldilocks works well.

Highlights included two authentic and exciting circus acts – David Robert balancing on a very high stack of wobbly sets and an incredible juggler Alfio.

The story included a message in favor of the wildlife, but we also received thanks from the audience and a beautiful score, ranging from period references to 42nd street to the daring version of the company hot stuff.

On foot. There are scenes in the movies that you remember and Beware of the weather, the new project designed by Ruairi Conaghan for Stage Beyond, Derry’s awe-inspiring theater group for adults with learning disabilities, provides one.

It’s in the segment halfway touching, like the others on memory, with Shania Irwin. She’s on our human journey, battling anxiety, hoping to play in The Wizard of Oz but remembering the difficulties she faced.

We see her red tartan shoes walking up the steps to her dream hearing. Mr. S could have done something with it.

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