First Night Review – Cupid Wore Skirts

They NAILED it!

What a triumph! What a delightful, laugh-out-loud funny and enjoyable night. Lisacul Players excelled in their latest production, the Sam Cree play “Cupid Wore Skirts”. The Wednesday and Saturday performances have long since sold out but if you can get to the Centre on Friday I would heartily recommend you book some tickets and do so. The full house on Wednesday (19th April 2017) had a great time – gales of laughter and huge applause a common theme.
Without too many SPOILERS, I can say that the action revolves around the Coulter family where Dad (Andy, played by Johnny Loftus) runs an antiques business while the rest of the family are trying a bit of match-making to source him a new wife. Andy has way and above the biggest part in the play, appearing in all scenes – though he struggles to get a word in edge-ways alongside the superbly feisty, chain smoking, much married Gladys (Suzanne Roddy) – and getting a hard time in most of them. Johnny rises to the challenge brilliantly and his expressive face and hilarious body-language keep him on top of scenes even where he is not speaking. His part is well peppered with some cracking lines and he delights the audience throughout.

He is wonderfully supported in all this tomfoolery by Michael Muldoon (Granddad) who gets laughs from the get-go, bumbling around the stage checking on his various secret stashes of booze, or mishearing comments and instructions. Granddad is especially brilliant when told not to answer the phone. Andy’s boy-band style, music-fan, son, Brian (Derek Marren) is excellent as a mischievous and sometimes petulant teenager; watch out for him coming back from the butcher’s and, later, making ‘helpful’ suggestions to rescue his Dad. Of more practical use is his married and now pregnant daughter Daphne (Eva Flannery) who sets all these adventures in train in the first place and later organises the ‘all-comers’ final get together. Looking on is Aunt Harriet, a rather awe-inspriring mix of commanding and vulnerable, brilliantly played by Cáit Deane. Her excellently timed entrances, usually when other players were up to some mischief and unaware of her arrival, had the audience gasping and crying “oh no!” with pure gleeful delight. “There’ll be a scandal if HE accepts!”

Into this mix are thrown the three very different prospective wives who answered Andy’s call (or was it Brian’s?). Gladys I have already described. She was joined by Vanessa Anderson as voluptuous, blonde, Swedish sex-bomb singer Ingrid Hanson – in pure comic-farce joy. Look out for her teaching Andy to ‘Twist’ and, later, winning Brian over to her side by stroking his ear. Last but by no means least among suitors is a fantastic performance by Geralyn Gallagher (she of the false-teeth robbing antics in last year’s ‘Wake in the West’), who arrives staid and (allegedly) pure but….. um……. (no spoilers?) doesn’t necessarily keep that going. That was mighty good dandelion wine, Miss Stanfield!

Finally, arriving in the nick of time to save the day, comes Michael McCarthy as Ronnie. His whole scene is belly-laugh, rolling in the aisles material, particularly where he has Johnny Loftus ‘follow’ him.

Credit too, must go to backstage team wrapped around this production, doing such a brilliant job in advance of the show-dates and behind the scenes while you all enjoyed the performances. Producer Tom Coppinger and Assistant Producer and Stage Manager Elizabeth Care worked tirelessly and very effectively to make it all happen. The beautiful set was put together and decorated by Michael O’Neill and Tommy Regan who also built the excellent, modular and reuseable stage itself. Thank you to everyone who loaned props and the ‘antique’ furniture. Sarah McElhone looked after this department. Make up was beautifully applied by Mary, Rebecca and Emily Maxwell, Serena Roddy and Katie Flannery. There is also an army of ‘front of house’ support looking after seating, box office, raffle tickets and prizes, and programmes etc – Martin Tynan ‘manages’ Margaret Tynan, Rose Morley. Caroline Higgins, Nora Reid, Pat Carty and Foróige Club members here, among others. Mike Carty looks after the introductions.

This all makes for a superbly enjoyable evening which the team delight in presenting and audiences lap up.

Matt Care