Liam Neeson visits Lyric Theatre

Published Friday, 03 January 2014
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Hollywood star Liam Neeson has returned to the Lyric Theatre to meet the cast of Philadelphia, Here I Come!

Liam Neeson visits Lyric Theatre
Hollywood star Liam Neeson jokes with Gavin Drea during a visit to the Lyric (© Pacemaker)

The 61-year-old visited the south Belfast venue on Friday, after rehearsals began this week for a new production of the play in which he starred in 1976.

The star, who is the theatre's Patron, chatted to up-and-coming young actor, Gavin Drea, who has revived the part Neeson played nearly 40 years ago as Gar Private.

He also met with Lyric stalwart Stella McCusker with whom he acted and who is also in the forthcoming play.

Philadelphia, Here I Come! is one of Brian Friel's most famous plays and is being revived at the Lyric to celebrate the Irish playwright's 85th birthday in 2014.

Set in the fictional town of Ballybeg in Co Donegal, it is a portrait of a young man torn between his small-town home in Ireland and the bright lights of America. Friel's big trick is to show the two sides of the 25-year-old - public Gar and private Gar - as he faces his dilemma.

Dublin actor Peter Coonan best known for his role as Fran in RTÉ series Love/Hate, plays Gar Public opposite Gavin Drea as Gar Private, who also starred in Love/Hate.

They head up a 12-strong cast. The play is due to open on 6 February and will run until 8 March.

Director Andrew Flynn, who last worked at the Lyric in 2011 when he directed Dockers, said: "It is fitting on the 50th anniversary of this great play that it is being staged at the Lyric. It is always a pleasure to work for such a dynamic and supportive company, but to be directing such a brilliant play with that support is a dream come true."

Last year, Neeson, who starred in the Schindler's List and Taken, made a triumphant return to his hometown of Ballymena when he became the Freeman of the borough.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
4 Comments
Joe.L in Belfast wrote (201 days ago):
Great actor, great guy.
Judith in Belfast wrote (202 days ago):
I have been lucky enough to Liam Neeson quite a few times and each time, including this morning he was an absolute gentleman. He has a tremendous talent and is a credit and an ambassador for Northern Ireland. It shows that talent and goodness can come from this place!
Johnny in Belfast wrote (202 days ago):
Branson in x I'll ignore the ignorance of your comment and put it down to you waking up in the wrong side of the bed! Liam neeson is a fantastic actor, considering he was robbed from getting an Oscar for his potrayal of Oscar Schinlinder in Schinlinders List by Tom banks and the fact he became an immediate on demand actor following this role speaks volumes! Gutted I didn't know he was the lyric of I would have popped down to try and see him! Looking for forward his latest thriller next month, good luck!
Branson in x wrote (202 days ago):
Awful actor.
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