"Dan Gordon's brilliant two-man play....they constructed a picture of boat-building, male friendship, hardship, humour and heroism as carefully as the men they portrayed built the Titanic"
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DAMIAN SMYTH, ARTS COUNCIL NI AND POET
Whatever it is that strikes you about ‘Belfast’ when you hear the name, one thing is sure to be true no matter how potent the image. It won’t be accurate. It won’t even be close.
Brusque, brutish and violent; or shoddy, second-hand, worthy but dull; or monotonous, relentless, bleak, with the odd flicker of wit and the perpetual hearkening to escape? The Titanic? The shipyard? The Troubles?
No. We give you The Boat Factory – moving, funny, touching, risky, rude and handsome.
Dan Gordon’s play has grown into an extraordinary evocation of a city in a century. The many voices of the script carry echoes of other places, other worlds, other epics, but return eventually to the home place and the amazing eloquence of ordinary people living lives of racy, bracing power and great delicacy of skill.
His own performance as Davy – a role he was literally born to play – is charged and challenged by Michael Condron’s Geordie in a memorable partnership, swapping virtuoso moments and fashioning unmanageable sequences combining high camp with deep feeling.
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has been an audience for several versions of Gordon’s vision and, each time, the insight and vigour and truth of the work has been met with applause and cheering.
This isn’t a play about things or places or buildings or ships. It’s about the one thing that makes even a vexed and bothered place precious and important for us all, hammered into every steel plate and tight in every embrace.
It’s about the last thing you’d expect when you hear the word ‘Belfast’. Love.