Michael Stranney: Welcome to Ballybeg
- Arusa Qureshi
- 17 August 2017
This article is from 2017
A delightful and wilfully haphazard account of a village and its people
Daniel Duffy's got an important job on his hands. As a representative of the tourist board of Ballybeg, he's here to champion his Northern Irish hometown with a very special video presentation. Readying his makeshift projector (which was once a barbecue), he sets out to prove its status as a tourist hotspot, bustling with culture and activity.
The alter ego of Michael Stranney, Duffy is a charmingly awkward country bumpkin with a wealth of random and surreal stories about his friends and neighbours. When the projector predictably fails, he regales us with pride-filled anecdotes about the village, which we're told was once voted the best holiday destination … by its residents. There are times when the relentless name-checking drags on but Stranney's terrifically deadpan delivery adds an authenticity to his tales of the weird and wonderful characters that reside in Ballybeg.
As the video buffers away in the background, Duffy tells us about his record-holding, Irish reel-dancing grandfather, stopping to imitate his moves to some very fitting music (LMFAO's 'Sexy and I Know It'). A clichéd side-story about a love interest runs alongside the main plot but in the end, we're all swept up in the romance, rooting for our small-town hero and his old-fashioned but delightfully quirky village.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug, 6pm, £7.50–£10 (£6.50–£9).