A Tried and Tested Account of Certain Mysterious Events which have recently occurred in Mersey Street

SPOOKY: Carla Bryson gets to grips with the otherworld as Ruth Gallagher in Fintan Brady's new play, A Tried and Tested Account of Certain Mysterious Events Which Have Recently Occurred in Mersey Street. Based on a true story, the drama is on at The Engine Room, Portview Trade Centre, in east Belfast until Saturday
Robert McMillen

When playwright Fintan Brady first heard the stranger than fiction events surrounding a family of renowned spiritual mediums, the Golighers, from South East Belfast, he knew it was a story he couldn’t let rest in peace. 

His theatre Company, Partisan Productions, empathetically re-imagines the tale into a new fictional play A Tried and Tested Account of Certain Mysterious Events which have recently occurred in Mersey Street. The show opens on the 11th April for a four-day run of performances at the Engine Room in Portview Trade Centre in Belfast.

Partisan collaborator, Reggie Chamberlain-King, had researched the story of the Goligher family for his book ‘Weird Belfast’.  Kathleen Goligher, held séances which were regularly observed and investigated by a Doctor of Engineering at Queen’s University, Dr W J Crawford from 1914.  Crawford attributed levitating tables to the physical force of rods of ectoplasm, exuding from the young lady’s person, which he wrote about in three books that are in circulation to this day. 

Brady explains how he was “intrigued by the story and the need for injured personalities to collude in comfortable self-delusions “.

Using the Goligher tale as a starting point, his theatre company Partisan Productions fast forwards the plot to a 1920's Belfast emerging from the Spanish Flu pandemic and blighted by Sectarian riots. 

James Lecky plays the role of Dr Dawson. Recent events have thrown his life into chaos, and he embarks on a relentless mission to explain the strange phenomena occurring in a small house on Mersey Street.  A young medium, Ruth Gallagher, played by Carla Bryson hosts a strange array of visitors, but which ones are truly of this realm and which are the ‘operators’?  Above all, if there is deception at hand, who is deceiving who and where might it lead? 

Brady describes the piece as an investigation of generosity and explains that “the great thing about stories of the supernatural is that they should always offer more questions than answers” 

In developing the show Partisan embarked on a collaborative community project involving local people from Inner East Belfast.  Working closely with Ballymac Friendship Trust ‘A True and Attested Account’ has offered opportunities in everything from make-up to set building.  The work is assisted by a team of young people gaining accreditation for their work through a programme supported by Urban Villages Initiative

In the true spirit of community arts, admission to the show is free, thanks to supporters including the  Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Urban Villages Initiative, Community Relations Council and the Ballymac Friendship Trust.

Performances will be in the Engine Room of Portview Trade Centre, from 11th April to 14th April at 7.30pm. Designer Conleth White and Musical Director Reggie Chamberlain-King have transformed the cavernous room with deep red lighting, steampunk effects and original music performed by a live band to create an immersive Edwardian tale offering a timeless exploration of human loss, yearning, regret and the need to connect. 

Admission is free but booking is advised.  Contact Karen on 07701008852 or to reserve seating. 


Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe from just £1 for the first month to get full access


Today's horoscope


See a different horoscope: