Greater Belfast (4 stars)

This article is from 2016

Greater Belfast

credit: Mihaela Bodlovic

Matt Regan hits home in this music-theatre mash-up

An ode to his home city, Matt Regan's Greater Belfast is an exciting, lyrically inventive piece of gig-based theatre. Accompanied by the Cairn String Quartet, Regan spits lines that cover a variety of Belfast icons: sleech, Seamus Heaney, the Undertones, the Titanic – and, almost obliquely, the other T word, which he never says during the show but whose ghost is ever-present.

It's bewitching stuff from the skilled Glasgow-based performer, who's best known for his work under alias Little King (this show has been developed alongside Glasgow's Tron Theatre). Throughout the show, Regan's words, the music and Simon Hayes' exceptional lighting design creates an engrossing atmosphere. But this intensity is disrupted by Greater Belfast's uneven pace. The gaps between Regan's lyrical segments feel overlong, and it has the effect of taking you outside the powerful realm of his words.

Still, it's an accomplished show from a performer who knows how to hit home with perfectly crafted lines. You'll probably get more from it if you're familiar with Belfast as a city – one line about the way the city shimmers on a summer's day as flags catch the light is particularly on point – but even if not, you'll still appreciate the inventiveness of this fine show.

Traverse, until 28 Aug (not 15, 28), times vary, £18.50 (£13.50).

Greater Belfast

  • 4 stars

Little King and Tron Theatre in association with Traverse Theatre A gig like no other; these are songs for a city growing greater and greater. Little King blends poetic storytelling with powerful contemporary composition for string quartet to paint a moving portrait of a city still aching from the violence of its recent…