Well we got this decade's Open Mic's of to a brilliant start. A full house for Liz Weir's first visit to Abbey Lane and Armagh Theatre Group coincided with first visits by fellow storyteller Joseph Heywood; Thomas Mallon musician /singer; and 'Pat the Novice' yarns of dying priest and philosophy.
The night started with a communal tongue-in-cheek singalong to acknowledge the exit of Britain from EU influence from 11pm that night. We quickly moved on and introduced Liz Weir as our special guest for January. A consummate professional, Liz had the audience on her side straight away and regailed us with wonderful stories of Marriage and hard drinking witches in London and Romance between Fermanagh's kingdom and English aristocrats.
The Open Mic started with the talented Sophie Ross from Keady with an orginal song written by her that day. Not titled before performing the crowd when asked afterwards favoured 'Sometimes' ...brilliant singer who should go far. Next up Mark Brownlee ;poems inspired from songs, Jimmy Rafferty; 'Barred of Armagh' which mentioned 40yrs of recent local history, Thomas Healy on tin whistle and Cornet (but not at the same time); Laurane sang Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond beautifully, Joe McCool with a passing joke;Joseph Heywood's story The Coyote and the stars;Theo Sinton from Magherlin, on guitar singing Murl Haggard's 'Today I started loving you again' and wise words in 'Faster horse, younger women,older whiskey, more money' ;Malachi with his 'Fund me a lift' poetic plea for MOT. Thomas Mallon from Keady singing/guitar cover Lion's roar (First Aid Kit) class act; 'Pat the Novice' from Crossmaglen,the dying priest story; At this point Liz was up again with Valentine story, Robbie Burns and her Witches story. Dymphna quickly brought the night back from its heights with her inimitable humour, Tim went shopping with his poem; Damien Mallon sang Nell Flattery's drake;Sophie was back by popular demand and sang 'Rocky Racoon' to rapturous appluse. and our night ended with a poem from Rachel Toner on relationships. A wonderful night which also incuded Mick Mc Connell's AldiLidi song.
Thanks to Liz Weir and Joseph coming all the way from Cushendall and to all who performed. Thanks to Allan on sound/lights and projections; to the ladies at the door,serving drinks and cleaning up and to Tim for keeping them under control. But mostly to our wonderful supporters who make the evening what it is...the BEST Open Mic in Armagh.
'SORRY YOU WERE OUT' By David Braziel
(A first reading by David at Open Mic Night Abbey Lane Theatre Armagh 29/11/19)
April's Open Mic Night was populated with great poets, storytellers , musicians and singers at the top of their game. A poignant poem 'The Message' from David Braziel and an English lesson from Finnish standup comedian Mana Mahfoozi completed another entertaining night for the packed crowd in Abbey Lane Theatre.
Try it....you'll not be disappointed. Next one MAY 31ST.
For a listen to David's poem go to his Facebook page scroll to 'The Message' written after the killing of writer/journalist Lyra McKee.
For an English lesson go to youtube Mana Mahfoozi 'the shit'
Some of those who braved the stage last Friday night after our guests, the McGrath Brothers from Donaghmore were. Mark Brownlee, Rachel Toner,Cathy Carson, Sue Divin, Dymphna Ferran,Kate McLaughlin, Jimmy Rafferty and finishing with the McGraths singalong melody. Cost at door?....£5!
Tartan adorned the tables and the sweet smell of Haggis filled the air in Abbey Lane Theatre as our Open Mic/ Burn’s night got underway.
The Saltier flag rippled on the screen as the Proclaimers ‘walked 500miles’ then forgot something and had to walk back ‘500 more’. After a short biography from
MC Malachi, our mystery piper struck up ‘Oh flower of Scotland’ and the vegetarian Haggis was served with glee to all in attendance!
Peter Kelly commenced the entertainment with a rendition of Burns’ Peggy Gordon. Kevin Mc Eneaney recited ‘Sweet Afton’ and duet with Peter on ‘Marie’s Wedding’ with great gusto.
Our first guest Karen Mooney from Moira read her own poem ‘A tribute to Rabbie Burns’...... then Pat Fairon took the class with the Lost Vocabulary of Ulster Scots pertaining to Burns’ era.
His well constructed flash cards tested the knowledge and memory of the pang’ fu d (crammed) audience. Not a pechin (cough) nor pluff (short, sharp breath) was heard from his attentive class.
Our Burns’ section was rounded off by Mark Brownlee reciting ‘Ae fond kiss’ a favourite of Burns aficionados.
The regular Open Mic got underway with the amazing Cathy Carson. What a talent this lady is, a great writer and actor with a delivery that stops a room.
Her two pieces, ‘Wake up call’ and ‘November Sun’ had the audience spellbound and will live on in the memory of great moments at these Open Mic’s.
Dymphna got the short straw as she had to follow Cathy, but no other could do it better, with her poem where she weaved the unlikely combination of ‘Donald where’s your trousers?’ and Brexit!
A new face to Abbey Lane is Stephen Edwards on guitar who sang Neil Young’s ‘The damage done’. Karen Mooney gave us her incisive poem ‘ A More Sustainable Future’ a metaphor of present day life
cleverly set in a garden. Michael Callaghan then had us all singing along ‘She’s my girl, she’s my world’.
Jack Watson, another welcome new comer, gave us Cassius’ speech from Julius Caesar. Delivered with aplomb, this young actor from Armagh captivated the room with his performance.
Regular contributor, Thomas Healy, came to the stage with a poem and song. This young man’s writing and voice are going from strength to strength. Malachi rounded of the night with his story
‘A hell of a Day in Heaven’ a very true, funny story of his ordeal in the Mournes with a Perfect Modern Family!
Thanks are due to all who helped out Monique, Felim jr, Peter, Colin, Aisling and Bridie. The more hands the easier the task.
Which reminds me of our new competition ‘Family saying and quotes’. This is where we stop for a moment and all have a chat about old saying that yourself or your family or friends used.
Some appropriately from Robbie Burns himsel started the conversation. Tonight’s winners were Marie Crowley and Pat Fairon. But I think all of us were winners tonight as the entertainment was 1st class.
Next date Feb 22nd and our guests are ‘Dirty Words’ aka Colin Hassard vocals , Ashley Manners guitar and Seonaid Murray sax . A selection of songs and poems from ..’’Two of the best on today’s scene’’NI Poetry News.
Pablo Doherty kicked off our last Open Mic of 2018 in great style. Our guest Poet from the shores of Lough Neagh near Lurgan fitted in his energetic performance while also being the taxi driver for his son who played at Holme Park the same evening. It's how busy Daddy/Poets juggle opportunities and parental duties these days. In a twenty minute slot he managed to touch on just about every subject from Family life to Brexit to Sport and even a mention of Santa! On twenty one minutes he grabbed his bag and coat and bolted out the door waving a farewell to all. The son's team were beaten but Pablo was on a high from staring in Abbey Lane. Well done Pablo!
We also had great contributions from Hilary Good, Michael O'Callaghan,Rachel Toner before the break. Afterwards Armagh Ukelele Jam and T J Smart nearly stole the show with our night's MC Felim Rafferty finding difficulity getting them stopped. Dymphna Ferran, Tim Hanna Joe Mc Cool and Malachi all with stories and poetry. We then had a very sad announcement by Felim saying the famous Limerick Laugh's competition and the Appulse Meter would be put to bed tonight. The winner in a very close run event, picked totally by random (reverse alphabetic order) was Tim.
The Management will be working to publish a booklet of Limericks featured in the three years of the compo and have it for sale as a fund raiser to the new extension......watch this space. Thanks to all our contributors and guests over the year and all being well we'll see you back on 25th Jan 2019! Merry Xmas and Happy New Year from all at Armagh Theatre Group.
We end this year's sessions of Open Mic's next week, 30th Nov. Over the course of the year we have had great entertainment from all our contributors. Those brave souls who find themselves standing on stage, behind the Mic. Or sitting on the famous painted chair and giving us their 'all'.
To our guest artists throughout the months, to the JHISS and the now famous July Open Mic, but especially all our supporters and contributors who reguarly fill Abbey Lane on the last Friday's to launch into poetry, stories, song,music and written. Mainly because of an enthusiasm,a burning desire to entertain, and be entertained....THANK YOU.
We finish the year, as we started in January with Mel McMahon, by welcoming another poet from Lurgan, spoken word artist Pablo Doherty. Like Mel Paul's work shows incisiveness of the world we live in delivered with humour and fun. So, usual warning of limited seats, nibbles and wine but unlimited talent!
Pablo's window https://www.facebook.com/pabloshoutingatthesea/.
We will take this opportunity to wish all our supporters and friends the best of the coming season! (there now, ive said it)
In the great tradition of Co Armagh bards Donald McKenna is up there with the best. Here he regales us with his poem 'The Tragic tale of Tim McCann' at June's Open Mic Night in Abbey Lane Theatre while the summer heat soared to 30o
''Unreal!'' That was the verdict of the comedian Mark Shields (Coalisland) after experiencing his first Abbey Lane Open Mic. It was also the verdict of the big crowd who enjoyed Marks' take on life, especially in a Tyrone shirt. You can take the man out of Tyrone but.... His critical eye exposed traits of himself, family, neighbours, fellow 'islanders and Strabane! All very funny and probably not true at all. Hope to see you back Mark. Damien Mallon, poet,singer read from his collection 'Off the trees'. Beautiful depiction of life in and around Keady, of young love and cowboys and indians That's were a lot of cowboys are from Damien! And from the same neck of the woods Donald McKenna, bard extraordinaire had the audience entralled with his ode to 'The tragic tale of Tim McCann' .Kate McGrail introduced us to technological problems and 'commercial breaks' during here great story of her family's trip to see Pope John Paul in 1979. I'll approach committee to install wifi Kate before next time. No such problems with her rendition of Spancil Hill. As a daughter of the famous Harry, the apple didn't fall far from the tree. Thanks to; new comer Malachy Trainor with poem 'To be performed' orginal work, Bridie Heaney with F Ledwidge's 'June'. Dymphna Ferran's 'Royal wedding', Tim Hanna's dreamteam of NIre taking on Russia in the World Cup and Malachi 's poem ''Im sure I didn't''. Singers Margueirite with 'Limerick your a lady',Michael Callaghan singing Elvis's 'falling in love with you' and Ann Marie McCourt with 'Streets of London' or Paris!
Too all our contributors in the Limerick Laughs competition Goretti, Tim, Byddi, Donald,Kate, Joe,Pat,Dymphna, Paddy, Bridie and all others unmentioned THANK YOU! We finished up with the conclusion of Ann Gilmartin's storytelling tale of 'Our Friend with the black mask' Definitely a NI Screen movie there Ann to follow on from 'Game of Tyrones' sorry Thrones. Thats thon Mark Shiels AGAIN!
With temperatures in the bammy 20's and the long May bank holiday starting, excuses for missing this month's Open Mic were strong and understandable. But the magic of these evenings still enticed our faithful audience to come in the dozens to entertain and be entertained by their fellow attendees.
This month we were entralled by musicians, singers, authors, poets, yarn spinners and the afore mentioned Magician Ed. Our usual 'warm up' act Dynamic Dymphna gave us red hot flushes with some very personal insurance advice! Author of 'From March to November' Byddi Lee read excerpts from this her first published novel which had all the ladies rubbing their hands with glee and all the gentlemen cringing in notional agony...the War of the Sexes continues. Paddy Mohan fought back on the men's side with his guitar and singing.Malachi's poems 'Golden Cow' and 'Ma wee black pan' followed and the first half was called after Thomas showed us his new talent on flute and whistle.
After some complimentary refreshments we introduced this month's guest Ed Masters to resounding applause. His enthusiastic assistant for the evening, Paddy Hamill, played the part like a pro.... Ooing! and Aaaing! in all the right places as Ed showed us amazing card tricks. Helen Donnelly then volunteered from the crowd to assist Ed with a flying table trick after she got over the shock of meeting Ed. We were still trying to figure out how he managed that.! Another first for the OMN's Illusionst and Magician Ed Masters.
Our second author/playwrite was Fionnuala Cassidy from CoTyrone reading excerpts from her latest work for the first time in public. 'Smoke and mirrors' her working title, left the audience wanting more. This evening had another first with Esmee O'Donnell playing her cello beautifully unaccompanied. Marty sang his version of 'Windmills of your mind' and we had the welcome return of Michael Callaghan recently out off hospital to sing from the floor 'My Eileen is waiting for me'. Dymphna won the meal for 2 Limerick Laughs compo and so ended another great night's entertainment in Abbey Lane. Next date Friday 29th June. Limerick Laughs theme for JUNE 'There was a wee woman called June'. Big thanks to all who attended and participated on the night.
Abbey Lane Theatre was packed as April's OMN got underway with internationally renowned guest artists Finbar Magee & Breige Quinn giving us a taste of their vast repertoire. Finbar's witty and thought provoking songs beautifully accompanied by Breige on fiddle had the audience entralled instantly. Their finale 'Facebook Friday Night' will go down as one of the golden memories of Open Mic Night's moments.
OUR NEXT OPEN MIC ....FRIDAY 25TH MAY