The Lyric Theatre Belfast is bringing its acclaimed production Brendan at the Chelsea starring Adrian Dunbar to Dublin – the first time the theatre has toured to the city since it reopened in 2011.
The drama about notorious Dublin writer, Brendan Behan, penned by his niece Janet Behan, has just completed a successful five-week run off-Broadway where it received rave reviews, including from the New York Times.
The New York Times reviewer praised the director and star of the show, Adrian Dunbar, whose “performance alone makes Brendan At The Chelsea a must.” It also described the set and costumes as “vividly evocative” of 1960s New York in which the play is based.
Dunbar has been the focus of much critical acclaim, described as “mesmerizing” and “remarkable” while the influential Huffington Post drew attention to his “terrific cast”. Janet Behan, was also praised for delivering “a thoughtful, revelatory – and, ultimately, celebratory – peek into an extraordinary life.”
The New York run at the Acorn Theatre, West 42nd Street, was generously supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the British Council, Culture Ireland, NI Bureau, NI Connections, Tourism Ireland and law firm, A&L Goodbody.
It also received support from the Irish-American diaspora including the Lyric’s patron, Liam Neeson and Oscar-winning director Terry George, from Belfast who attended the opening on 5 September.
The play comes home to Belfast for a limited run on the Danske Bank Stage at the Lyric at the end of October. The cast are then back on the road, touring to the Project Arts Centre in Dublin from 12 to 16 November and final performances at the Millennium Forum, Derry on 19 & 20 November.
Adrian Dunbar said: “It has always been our ambition to take Brendan at the Chelsea to New York – it’s natural home in many ways. After our sell-out run at the Lyric we suggested that it would be a fitting way to thank all our patrons in New York and re-ignite the Lyric touring tradition if Brendan were to return there, and here we are! We are now looking forward to returning to Belfast and especially the Lyric’s first tour to Dublin since the new theatre was built and, of course, Behan’s home city. Thank you Lyric and all our funders.”
The full cast are the talented Belfast actors, Richard Orr and Chris Robinson, Pauline Hutton from Derry and English actress Samantha Pearl.
Brendan at the Chelsea will run at the Project Arts Centre, Dublin from Tuesday 12 to Saturday 16 November.