Posts Tagged sectarianism



Black Dingo Productions.
Running time 50 minutes

Just at St John’s, St John’s Church, Princes St, EH2 4BJ (Venue 127)
Fri 1 – Wed 13 Aug 2014

Daily at 14.00

Tickets from

Sixteen-year-old Evan is in big trouble. He’s facing court proceedings over sectarian postings he has made on-line. He is an angry teenager. In a series of monologues from Evan, his mum Liz and his dad Dave, the audience begins to piece together his story and gradually uncover the truth behind his actions.

The atmosphere is heightened by the way the play is staged. The audience sits around the edge of a small side chapel in St John’s Episcopal Church while the players give their take on Evan’s story. You might think that Evan is a bitter young bigoted Rangers fan reared by bigots so what’s surprising about that? He’s only spewing out on-line what has been bred into him. If so, you’ll soon be disabused of that notion.

Euan Brockie brings raw emotion to his role as Evan. Bit-by-bit we see how this quiet, unassuming computer games geek – who prefers to sit at the back in class and keep a low profile – is goaded by the class bully, Mark Dempsey – a ‘shifty, sleekit wee shit’ – into the outburst that brought the police to his door.

A sterling understated performance from Marilyn Wilson as Liz brings tears to the eye as she tries to cope with this new and threatening situation wrestle with her own sense of guilt and responsibility and that of her husband and son.

Adam Tompkins as Dave brings alive a sense of bewilderment and defensiveness as he sees his career as a successful television actor likely to come crashing down around his ears in the face of unwelcome publicity with reporters camping on his front doorstep.

There is often a rush to judgement when people post sectarian, racist or homophobic sentiments on-line. Some of this judgement may turn out to be justified but his play suggests that everyone has a backstory to explain – though not excuse – their action. Thi s thoughtful play demands a thoughtful response. It’s a shame that the audience was so small.

***** Five Stars

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Battle of the Bone (2008)

Battle_of_the_Bone_DVD_coverWritten, directed and produced by George Clarke

Certificate:18. Run time: 90 minutes.

Billed as Northern Ireland’s first kung fu/zombie film, George Clarke has achieved nothing short of a miracle with this fast-paced tale of three friends battling against sectarian thugs and drug-crazed zombies. Owing much to the work of George A Romero and Japanese gore-fest movies, Battle of the Bone was shot on a micro-budget of just £10,000. Despite this, Clarke managed to get a cameo role from popular UTV newsreader Pamela Ballentine playing herself. Most of the shooting of this film was done on location, so virtually no money was spent on expensive sets. Action takes place in the open air, a pedestrian subway, a grain silo and a paper warehouse in the docklands, a city centre multi-storey car park and shopping mall, and culminates on the steps of an inner city church.

The story takes place in Belfast on the Twelfth of July as three friends; David, Scott and Jill, try to get back home to East Belfast in the aftermath of a huge inter-communal riot. All the river bridges are blocked by burning cars except for a pedestrian bridge guarded by a bunch of thugs. David falls foul of these guys and finds himself and his two friends running and fighting for his life though the city docklands.

In the meantime, an accidental spillage of a new drug has turned the staff and inmates of the local mental hospital into crazed zombies. These create havoc as they attack loyalist bandsmen in their practice hall, Twelfth revellers waiting at ‘the field’ to see the bands and a courting couple in the Botanic Gardens.

The three friends think they’re safe having eluded the thugs from ‘the other side’ only to run into a greater danger; the zombie hordes pouring into the city centre.

Battle of the Bone is fast-moving with a pulsating soundtrack that really moves the action along. There’s genuine tension at times, but it’s also a lot of fun with plenty of over-the-top fake blood and gore. It’s obvious that the young inexperienced cast had a ball making this frenetic film.

The last couple of minutes are a wee bit lame but not enough to spoil the fun. The best scene is where two doctors in the ‘nuthouse’ lark about singing and playing the piano totally unaware of the frenzied zombies menacing them. It’s great stuff.

George Clarke has come up with what ought to be a genre classic. If he can do such a fine job with this kind of a budget, what will he be able to do in future efforts with a bigger budget? Things look promising for him and his Yellow Fever Productions.

The DVD bundles an interesting documentary showing how the film was made, a number of deleted scenes and a theatrical trailer with the main feature.

Reviewed by David Kerr

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