Arts Feature: How to shake off the cold and boredom in Belfast this Easter

By PETER MCLOUGHLIN

Happy Easter everyone!

We at the Gown understand, implicitly, that one must prioritise discipline in one’s chosen degree to ensure prudent progress in life (the old ‘differed’ rather than ‘immediate’ gratification conundrum).  Yet each and every one of us must occasionally unwind; whether a quiet night in the Movie House, or a 5 hour dance session in the Limelight is your preference; over the next two weeks, Belfast has plenty to offer.

Here is a brief run through, by type, of what you can do with your evenings away from the library.

Music

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Monday 1st has an incredible selection of shows that will ensure you get your necessary chocolate-binge-guilt cardio on the dance floor.  You have Subculture at the Mandela hall; Todd Terji, Bicep & Space Dimension Controller at the Limelight and a set by Sasha at Stiff Kitten to choose from.  Like buses, eh?

On 3rd of April The Vaccines play at the Ulster Hall; on Thursday 4th you have another night of fantastic variety: Sketchy at Stiff Kitten, Gabrielle Alpin at Mandela, or a collection of great local artists (Ram’s Pocket Radio, Runaway Go & Versechorusverse) at the Oh Yeah Centre.

If you like Jazz, Peter Brötzmann & Paal Nilssen-Love play at the Crescent Arts Centre on Friday 5th; and over the week-end Bastille play the Mandela hall – though that unsurprisingly is already sold out.

The band who describe their sound as ‘everyone high-fiving everyone,’ Fang Island, play bar sub is Queen’s student’s union on Wednesday 10th.   If you, like me, like to high-five strangers…

Local band Ed Zealous play a show at Stiff Kitten – to mark the release of their latest epic single, ‘Medicines’ – on Friday 12th April.  I’ll be heading to this one as it is not to be missed.

At the Barge on Saturday 13th you have the excellent BYO night Floating Speak-easy, or you can check out Lower than Atlantis at Mandela hall.

As always, every night of the week there are acoustic nights and tribute bands in bars like the Empire; Hudson; Kelly’s etc.  Any night you want you’ll find something to move/groove to in Belfast.

Film

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Monday 1st also marks the release of the heralded Good Vibrations, playing at both the QFT and the Movie House over the next two weeks.  It’s supposed to be really, really good.  If you’re heading out on the 1st, the perfect cool-down the day after might be a few hours in a dark room with this feel-good Northern Irish film.

Other than that, the QFT has In The House starting the same day, a highly-rated German film; and from Friday 5th a film with the always excellent Christopher Walken and Phillip Seymour Hoffman starring, called A Late Quartet.  All three films run until the 11th April, so the potential is there to catch them all.

The Movie House has a few good films showing too; with Trance and Side Effects both showing over the next few weeks and well worth a watch.

Add to that the upcoming Belfast Film Festival, and, again, there is a vast array of worthwhile film to distract you for a few hours.  If you’re stuck in the library all day, but can’t afford the time/cost of a night ‘out;’ little is more relaxing and cost-effective than an evening in the cinema.

Theatre

Similar to film; but more visceral and often more rewarding, the options to enjoy an evening of theatre are extensive and, importantly, first-rate over the coming weeks.

Simon Callow’s one man show ‘The Man Jesus’ is showing from 3rd to 20th April – review coming soon! – and at the MAC from 4th-6th you can choose from either Wilde’s legendary Lady Windermere’s Fan or the intriguing David Meade show.

Another one man show, I, Malvolio, is running from 9th to 12th at the Lyric, and for two days only at the Crescent Arts centre you can catch Four Farces, which is, literally, four one-act farces.

Finally, opening at the Grand Opera House on 10th April; a ballet version of The Great Gatsby is sure to be as brilliant as that sounds.

Exhibitions

The Andy Warhol exhibition at the MAC is still going strong, and there is a Craft exhibition on Waring Street.  The Ulster Museum is always a safe bet for an afternoon dandering too.

Whatever you decide to do to shake off the cold and the shackles of monotony, I hope you love it.

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