Between 2 and 25 January, music, comedy, poetry, theatre, film and talks will fill venues in Cathedral Quarter six days a week. When did poetry become cool? Every festival programme now seems full of it. And puntastic show titles are definitely on the rise this year.
Tickets for weekday lunchtime shows include lunch and are generally priced at £6.50 (if purchased in advance) or £7 on the door if capacity remains. All shows are in The Black Box on Hill Street unless otherwise stated in the blurb below. Full timetable of Out To Lunch shows on the festival website.
The Whinge, The Nordie and The Geek Ride Again // Friday 2 January at 1pm // Follow-up to last year’s show when these three standups came together. Shane Todd, Ruaidhrí Ward and Lorcan McGrane. The first lunchtime show unusually lasts 75 minutes.
Niamh McGlinchey // Tuesday 6 January at 1pm // Another festival friend returning, the Gulladuff vocalist plays mandolin, tin whistle and guitar and sings folk, country and bluegrass.
Cutting Off Kate Bush // Wednesday 7 January at 1pm and 8pm // Cathy is 27 and having a crisis which she vents on YouTube through the medium of Kate Bush. A one-woman show by Lucy Benson-Brown about family, loss and the musical brilliance of Kate Bush, fresh from Edinburgh Fringe. (Evening performance £9.)
Robin Ince is (In and) Out of his Mind // Friday 9 January at 1pm // Comedian and science enthusiast (Infinite Monkey Cage on Radio 4) presents an unhinged comic lecture looking back on 100 years of psychiatry, psychology and skewiff brain dabblings.
Hollie McNish and Abby Oliveria // Saturday 10 January at 2pm // Labelled as “literary, poetic and pop”, Hollie McNish wowed the CQAF audience in May 2014 and is back with more in January. She’s supported by Derry-based performance poet Abby Oliveria. Tickets £5.
Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy? // Sunday 11 January at 7.30pm // An animated documentary from the director of The Science of Sleep (reviewed back in 2007!) on the life of controversial MIT professor, philosopher, linguist, anti-war activist and political firebrand Noam Chomsky. “A dazzling, vital portrait of one of the foremost thinkers of modern times, but also a beautifully animated work of art.”
Shlomo // Sunday 11 January at 8pm // Beatboxer and World Loopstation Champion Shlomo “gave up astrophysics to perform his amazing vocal pyrotechnics”. Having performed with Bjork, Jarvis Cocker, The Specials and the Mighty Boosh, now it’s the turn of a Belfast audience. Tickets £10.
Simon Armitage // Tuesday 13 January at 1pm // Audiences are promised “a relaxed lunchtime reading” from the playwright, novelist and poet who recently published an anthology of his work – Paper Aeroplane: Selected Poems 1989-2014.
Owen Jones // Tuesday 13 January at 8pm // Author of The Establishment: And how they get away with it Owen Jones offers “a biting critique” of the “powerful but unaccountable network of people [behind the UK democracy] who wield enormous power and reap huge profits”. “In claiming to work on our behalf, the people at the top are doing precisely the opposite.”
Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel // Wednesday 14 January at 1pm and 8pm // A comedy play spin in the inimitable style of Jane Austen and based entirely on audience suggestions. No two shows are ever the same. Evening tickets £9.
Martina Devlin // Friday 16 January at 1pm // Author Martina Devlin’s tale The House Where It All Happened takes readers back to 1711 Ulster Scots Islandmagee where eight women are accused of being witches by a pretty young newcomer. Ireland’s version of the notorious Salem epidemic.
The Sea Road Sessions // Saturday 17 January at 2pm // With band members from Sweden, Scotland and Ireland, this new six-piece group brings together established traditional/folk musicians with “formidable talents and diverse repitoires”: singer/guitarist Kris Drever (Lau), accordionist Alan Kelly (Eddi Reader), guitarist Ian Carr (Kate Rusby), banjoist Éamonn Coyne (Salsa Celtica), flautist/singer Steph Geremia (Alan Kelly Gang) and bassist Staffan Lindors (Sofia Karlsson). Tickets £10.
John Shuttleworth – A Wee Ken to Remember // Wednesday 21 January at 1pm and 8pm // Intending to share fond memories of his favourite past weekends, a typo on the poster means John is touring with a homage to his next-door neighbour and agent. A brand new show from a comedy great. Evening ticket £10.
Ellie Taylor – Elliementary // Thursday 22 January at 1pm // Another Edinburgh Fringe performer now touring with her show, Ellie Taylor will be tackling feminism, love, life and Matalan as best she can from the perspective as the presenter of BBC Three’s Snog Marry Avoid … Don’t buy a ticket expecting Sherlock Holmes!
Arco String Quartet // Friday 23 January at 1pm // Four members of the Ulster Orchestra, with a wide repertoire of classic, easy listening, jazz, pop and show tunes for a Friday lunchtime.
Oh Susanna // Saturday 24 January at 2pm // Massachusetts-born and Vancouver-raised Suzie Ungerleider mixes folk and country with blues and songs that tell stories of troubled souls who rebel, of small town joys and pains, of simple feelings and strong passions. Tickets £8.
Lots of other great events, including sold out ones featuring restaurant critic Jay Rayner, Tony Law, Young Fathers and many more.