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Root Theatre and Ovalhouse


A kaleidoscope of stories from post-Troubles Belfast

An intimate and absorbing insight into the people and city with a past like no other.


  • Audio loop
  • British Sign Language
  • Wheelchair Access
  • Wed 26 Oct – Sat 12 Nov, 8:45pm

No performances Sunday or Monday. British Sign Language 10 Nov, Audio-described 11 Nov

Venue: Downstairs

Written by Stacey Gregg. Directed by Jane Fallowfield.

Ten lives flow through Belfast, like the river Lagan.

'Shoppers drift above, holdin’ hands, delirious. Husbands tugged by wives with fierce to do lists give in to posters of men in cardigans, dangerous and fresh from London, where all the men wear cardigans… A New Belfast aye.'

Ian returns home to find old values and new shopping centres. A woman talks to her son’s ghost amid scaffolding. A taximan picks up a pint of milk for his drunk dad, and a young woman discovers the possibility of love.

An intimate and absorbing insight into the people and city with a past like no other.


Development supported by Watford Palace Theatre. Supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and The Royal Victoria Hall Foundation.


"Blurring dialogue and monologue, Stacey Gregg's lyrical, punchy script is a delight. Sombre one moment, laugh out loud funny the next, her writing lends Lagan its urgency and verve"  * * * * Rachel Segal Hamilton, TIME OUT

"Gregg's remarkable play examines the changing realities and difficulties facing young adults in Belfast, and examines matters of life and love through the eyes of a generation that has had a unique responsibility thrust upon it."  * * * * Dan Griffin, The Irish World

"At just over one hour it is a short but engaging and at times mesmerising production.  Go see it, you won’t be disappointed." Eamon Clarke,

"...a well-crafted production, anchored by strong performances and a sharp script." Amardeep Sohi,

Go See This: Belfast play smashes preconceptions

by Eamonn Clarke @GlasLondon

There’s certainly more to Belfast than bombs and fighting.  But then, sure, you knew that. However, the perception remains abroad that Us Lot are still on a different planet, blowing each other to smithereens.  But as the country moves forward daily in leaps and bounds what better time than now to smash those preconceptions? 

‘Lagan’ is Belfast-born playwright Stacey Gregg’s UK debut play about ten lives flowing through the city like the river itself. Seemingly individual threads moving closer together as we progress through the play. 

Here is a Belfast, “post-Troubles”.  Daily life is the same as elsewhere in the UK: the highly-strung social climber mother and the turbulent relationship between her pregnant teenage daughter and absent gay son; the motor-mouth taximan trying to make an honest living in a town where all the good jobs are taken; a boy and girl in love, protecting each other from the horrors of life, loss and loneliness.

The play’s star performance is given by Pauline Hutton who gives us Joan, the play’s only real nod to the immediate past. She is that wee woman we all know, doddering along with her shopping bags, marvelling at the grandness that is the new Victoria Shopping Centre, haunted by the presumed death of her son in the violence.  The Victoria Shopping Centre, almost a character itself, representative of the New Belfast, a progressive city, a renewed sense of grandeur and economy (“They built a whole friggin’ street!”) is also the scene of one of the play’s devastating moments, a very Irish reminder that we can’t get ahead of ourselves, God gives with one hand and takes away with the other. 

Elsewhere, Ian returns from London, summoned by his mother to help the family face up to the challenge of his pregnant sister who has brought shame upon the house. HIs trip home by train, ferry, train, romantically documents the changes in scenery as he goes, is particularly resonant as a journey some of us have taken countless times since moving to London.  The big smoke has changed him and he resents coming back in this manner, to a town too small to contain him, a place he no longer understands but still has an unexplained connection to, an umbilical cord he just can’t cut. 

The frenetic and engaging taximan cuts to the heart of what this play is about – coping with life, real life. Now that we don’t have the Troubles to talk about any more we have only the common everyday worries of everyone else – jobs, immigration, emigration, family, love, death, grief, guilt, shame – and its refreshing to know that it makes us normal people.  Gone are the old divisions of Catholic and Protestant, Unionist and Nationalist.  We’re a united people now, bound together by the same hopes and dreams.

The set of the play is sparse, the costumes drab.  The focus is all on the words and the acting and the work is all the better for it.  The ten roles are split between just four actors, the only nod to their different parts being different subtle displays of colour.  At just over one hour it is a short but engaging and at times mesmerising production.  Go see it, you won’t be disappointed.

  • Wed 26 Oct, 7:45pm
  • Thu 27 Oct, 7:45pm
  • Fri 28 Oct, 7:45pm
  • Sat 29 Oct, 7:45pm
  • Tue 1 Nov, 7:45pm
  • Wed 2 Nov, 7:45pm
  • Thu 3 Nov, 7:45pm
  • Fri 4 Nov, 7:45pm
  • Sat 5 Nov, 7:45pm
  • Tue 8 Nov, 7:45pm
  • Wed 9 Nov, 7:45pm
  • Thu 10 Nov, 7:45pm
  • Fri 11 Nov, 7:45pm
  • Sat 12 Nov, 7:45pm

Additional information

Post-show discussion 2 Nov:
“From Beirut to Easyjet Top City Pick” What is the new Belfast? A panel discussion chaired by Don McCamphill, about the present and future for a city with a history.

The production of Lagan has been nominated for an Off West End award for 2011 under the following categories:

  • Best Ensemble
  • Most promising new playwright... Stacey Gregg

Click an image to view a larger version.

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