Review: Give My Head Peace Live at Grand Opera House 2024

The enduring satire Give My Head Peace brings its 2024 stage show to Belfast’s iconic Grand Opera House. A fan since childhood, I was eager to see how the television show’s sharp wit would translate to the stage – and it doesn’t disappoint. While the humour is deeply rooted in Northern Irish politics and local stereotypes, the show’s energy and the cast’s comedic timing ensure a fun night out even if you’re not immersed in local affairs.

Practical Information

The Grand Opera House is easily accessible, close to Great Victoria Street train station and with several paid car parks nearby, as well as some available free on-street parking as the show is after half 6 (though it took my sister four laps to find a spot). I opted for coffee at a nearby cafe before the show, but the theatre itself offers food and refreshments starting about an hour before curtain time. Staff were helpful and efficient, making the arrival and seating process smooth. Be aware that there’s no cloakroom facility, so consider this when bringing bags.


Wheelchair spaces and accessible restrooms are available, and the venue offers a variety of services for patrons with disabilities. A signed performance of Give My Head Peace Live is available on Thursday 28th March. The show featured no flashing lights or loud noises that might be distressing to those with sensory issues.

Production and Performance

The Grand Opera House’s recent renovation is truly impressive, and the ornate details provide a beautiful backdrop for the show. Give My Head Peace opts for a minimalist set design, a wise choice that emphasises the cast’s performances. Lighting and sound were expertly handled, with the actors clearly audible throughout the theatre. While there were no special effects to speak of, the production’s simplicity was refreshing.

The show’s format mixes shorter sketches featuring different groups of characters, with full-cast segments towards the end. Musical numbers are sprinkled throughout, with catchy if basic melodies and playful choreography. The cast isn’t afraid to break the fourth wall, and their audience interaction was brilliant, especially from Tim McGarry and Martin Maguire (standing in for the regular Pastor Begbie as his older brother “Bobby Begbie”).

Tim McGarry also shines in his mid-show stand-up comedy segment. The jokes are a hilarious mix of up-to-the-minute satire and classic jabs at well-known political figures. Even if you’re not a local politics expert, the cast’s delivery and the crowd’s reactions make the humour infectious.

While many of the jokes draw heavily on ‘orange’ and ‘green’ politics, there were hints that the show is aware of a changing landscape, even if mostly focused on familiar ground (or blue-green algae!). It left me wondering how well a younger audience, raised in a more politically diverse Northern Ireland, might connect with some of the show’s classic characterisations.

A highlight for me was Ciaran Nolan’s (Sandy) cover of “Only the Lonely”, which was dedicated to Jim Allister.  His mournful rendition drew plenty of laughs from the crowd, highlighting the show’s ability to blend classic sentimentality with tongue-in-cheek humour.


Give My Head Peace offers fans of the television series a chance to see their favourite characters come to life, while newcomers will appreciate the show’s blend of observational comedy and energetic performances.

The show runs until Saturday 30th March, with a signed performance on Thursday. Tickets are available online at

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