So said an email to the Community Centre yesterday. And the Lisacul Players very nearly did, with a full house on Tuesday and standing room only on Thursday and Friday for their production of A Wake in the West, by Michael Joe Ginelly.
We asked a member of the first night audience to review the play for us, so here’s his take on it:
They Did Us Proud! The Lisacul Players on their opening night last night in Lisacul Community Centre staged a hugely enjoyable presentation of “A Wake in the West”, by Michael Joseph Ginnelly, to a packed and delighted house. This represents a very welcome return of the Players after a lapse of 26 years, spurred back into life by the very successful production of a ‘mock wedding’ in 2014 and headed up this time by Producer Tom Coppinger.
The Players vary from experienced actors like Tom himself and Johhny Loftus (who plays village drunk Barney), through to relative beginners (Claire Corrigan playing young and hopeful lover Joan) through to complete novices who report having last been on the stage in a school Nativity (Cáit Deane, Geralyn Gallagher and Martin Tynan). However none of them let lack of experience get in the way of an excellent performance and last night was a real peach.
The audience started laughing and reaching for the tissues before the proper action started, as volunteers Suzanne Roddy and Mike Carty did their superb introduction, pencilling in descriptions of main players and setting the scene as well as pointing up the locations of the loos and reminding everyone to turn off mobile phones. And the laughter never really stopped; for the novice actors there was a quick lesson in having to pause while the hoots of laughter abated before they could carry on with their lines.
The Programme notes that the play is about the wake following the death of Tom Healy (Martin Tynan) and that “neighbours Rose (Geralyn Gallagher) and Margaret (Cáit Deane) come to pay their respects, although Rose has a far more sinister motive for her presence, which leaves Margaret speechless and Tom toothless”. The antics of these two ladies will delight and amaze you. Act 2 sees the 3rd comedy highlight, with the arrival of village drunk, Barney (Johnny Loftus) who plays an absolute blinder, a superbly tottery, rambling, shambling character given to flights of philosophy as well as random confusion (“why would you want to know the weight of a bishop?”). He also has an excellent look of disgust at the tiny measures of whiskey he gets served in those pint glasses.
Running through all this rib-aching lunacy the rest of the cast must struggle to keep straight faces, but they hold it all together and the whole stays on course. Tom the Corpse is generally, as you’d expect, inanimate, but even he has his moments. His daughter Mary (Vanessa Anderson) races around keeping the wake together and coping with all the madness. Dr John (Tom Coppinger) appears at crucial times but then nips off stage to be Producer and sort lights and sound effects. Girl next door, Joan (Claire Corrigan) plays a very convincing sweet-heart waiting for her young lover, Martin (Derek Marren) to return from the USA. Martin has some superb lines in Acts 2 and 3 when the family back at the house are learning of the fate of the doomed “burial at sea”. Michael McCarthy, as the Priest, Fr. Cassidy, is brilliantly ponderous and pompous as he gives his opinion on everything from psychiatry to shared parenting.
All in all it is a cracking night out and I am sure the last 2 houses will love it as much as we Opening Nighters did. It left me buzzing with delight and dying to tell everyone about how good it was. I must not forget to mention the team behind the scenes, all of whom, I know, worked very hard to get this play onto the stage and without whom it would not have shone the way it did – continuity, sound and lights, set construction and painting, stage management, props, make up, catering and all those who have provided props, costumes, raffle prizes and ‘ushering’ on the night. Thank you all so so much. I have not enjoyed a play so much in decades.