This new play by Belfast writer Martin Lynch, Meeting At Menin Gate, is the final instalment of The Ulster Trilogy series which explore the state of Northern Ireland today. Presented by Green Shoot Productions, Sam Millar’s Brothers In Arms looked at the views of republican dissidents. Ron Hutchinson’s Paisley And Me examined the loyalist position post-conflict. This third play deals with the issue of victims and survivors, a very topical subject at the moment with politicians at Stormont unable to agree what exactly constitutes a “victim” of the Troubles. The final performance was tonight at the Mac centre in Belfast and I saw it last night (Friday) during Culture Night Belfast, although it was not one of the 250 free events which were part of that festival. Meeting at Menin Gate will now be touring throughout the North. The title comes from the Menin Gate in Ypres in Flanders, Belgium, where a last post ceremony is held every night to remember the tens of thousands of soldiers who lost their lives in World War I.
A powerful and insightful drama, Menin Gate explores the world left behind by the Troubles. In the small Belgian town of Ypres Liz, a Protestant nurse and daughter of an RUC man and an ex-IRA man from West Belfast, Terry, meet during a cross-community trip to WWI battle sites to promote reconciliation and become romantically involved. It transpires that Terry was one of two gunmen who had shot dead Liz’s father at his home which for the purposes of the play is said to be Dromore, County Down but is based on a true story.
Act One is very witty throughout with plenty of Ulster humour. The second act however strikes a very different note which some patrons will find hard to deal with as the