Theatre Review: Planet Belfast at the MAC

BY RACHEL CHIVERS

The Tinderbox Theatre Company have returned to the MAC with Rosemary Jekinson’s new play, Planet Belfast. The play is contemporary, local and political.  It centres on one couple and their marriage.  Abigail McGibbon plays Alice, who is Stormont’s only Green MLA.  Her husband Martin, played by Paul Kennedy, is a controversial historian planning an explosive new book.  Between these two colourful careers is a rocky marriage and unfulfilled hopes for a baby.  When the couple’s old friend, Claire, gets in touch through Friends Reunited, trouble lands on their doorstep and things soon spiral out of control.   Chaos follows, both on a domestic and environmental scale.  Despite the seriousness of these elements, the dialogue is consistently entertaining and has the audience laughing throughout.

This is a great production, with a small cast and large backstage team.  The set consists of semi-transparent wire walls, which move during scene changes.  Projected video and sounds run at various points, bringing elements of film to the stage.  Music is also a big feature of the production.  Considering the amount that is going on in this play it is incredibly slick, and the talent of the cast shines through.  The audience was mixed, but included lots of students, which is reflective of the young and current feel that this production has.  I’d definitely recommend this.  The tickets are reasonably priced, and the MAC has a well-stocked café and bar, making it a great venue for a cultured student’s evening out.

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