Set in the small village of Ballycolman where Mrs. Geoghan (Grania Glancy) is anxiously awaiting the return of the prodigal “Pride of the Geoghans,” son Denis.Denis is studying doctorin’ above in Dublin.His sisters Kete (Sandra Butler, the pride of the back road Butlers) Jane, (Fair City starlet Geraldine O’Rourke,) and Baby ( Bernadette Kearns, in a deliciously over the top performance, what else when you are directing yourself,) are somewhat underwhelmed by his imminent arrival. Janes beau Donough, (Steve Jones) Is a long suffering suitor.
George (Guing,) the patriarch of the family is fed up of his bothers failures at the medical exams and is on the verge of revolt. A “wire” arrives giving a cryptic message?? The maiden? Aunt, Ellen, (played with customary aplomb by the matriarch of the Guings, Bernie) is full of del boy get rich quick schemes of goats and co-operative shops. The arrival of the prodigal Denis ( Robert Farrelly who only apperars later in his pajamas, he must have a new clause…) with Girlfriend Delia ( Una Bagge, a calculating strumpet) in tow. But guess who plays the brother Peter, (Sean Horan, never thought I would see Sean on stage, big respect SH) Marie Murphy played a lovely little cameo as the overworked gossipy maid.
When it comes out that Denis has failed his exams again the family come up with a plan to despatch him off to Canada, but they reckon without the counter plan of Mr. John Duffy ( Jimmy Pearse who turns in a whale of a performance, think Jimmy, usual community role but with a hint of J.R , Ewing and Mullion, combined.)
BEDS staging of the play was accomplished and enjoyable. Newcomers, MEN, Steve and Sean are a revelation. The three sisters ( that rings a bell) are a brilliant comic turn. The scene where they are discussing the contents of Vogue before heading down to “Peg Turpins’ Drapery,(could have been Mary Balfe’s if they hadn’t knocked it down) is brilliant, pacy, well timed and very funny. Robert mixes, comedy, whitewash, and pathos and keeps his clothes on. Una is deliciously scheming and is a real cracker on stage. George has a hard part as the straight man but carries it off as perfectly as Bernie, the dippy aunt who like the, Mounities gets her man in the end. Jimmy rules the roost, steals the whole play ( and he only appears in TWO acts.) Look, when Fran Brennan, who plays hard man Mick in Fair City rings me and tells me he will break my legs if I don’t give Jimmy the Oscar, what could I do.
Bernadette Kearn’s direction ( is it auto-direction if you are are in the pay as well?) is great. Lighting, Jim McDonald,is mood perfect. Sound, Dave Butler, is crsip and clear, helping Baby’s singing no end. Jimmy’s dancing, by the way is surely the reason that the production manager lost her heart to him forty? years ago, Well done to all concerned.
If I had my way I would give them all Oscars. But I don’t and for the reasons written before my Oscar goes to ………… Grania Glancy. It’s no stretch of her acting skills to be kind, compassionate and motherly. However to put up with those three straps of daughters, STEAL MONEY, yes Grania steals money in character. I Know, it IS unbelievable. The real stretch of the imagination is of her playing an elderly mother. Well done Grania, it’s easy to see the twinkle that Dr. Denis fotheringale-whatshisname saw in her all those years ago. Buladh Bos Mor.