By Joe Barrett
Laois Open Door Theatre make a welcome return to the stage with their rip-roaring comedy drama It’s the Real McCoy on Friday and Saturday 24 and 25 February in the Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise at 8pm.
The theatre group is looking forward to welcoming back its loyal audiences, drama enthusiasts, friends and neighbours in what should be two great nights of entertainment.
What defines Laois Open Door Theatre and its success down through the years is its versatility, its willingness to take on challenging plays by a very hard-working committee who are responsible for the group reaching high standards in all aspects of stage craft.
This year several new faces appear on stage including Vikki Byrne who takes on the demanding role of Madge Molloy – a woman in her 60’s – who has lived over 40 years of her life wondering why her husband Tom Molloy whom she was married to for just five months disappeared without a trace or reason. Needless to say Madge has become bitter about men in general.
Living with Madge is her daughter Maura whom she has reared singlehanded. Maura is played by well know actor Sarah O’Sullivan who is no stranger to the stage. Maura is in love with the gormless postman Martin Daly who is played by Aaron Sheil. This naturally is a cause of concern for Madge. Aaron and Sarah together never cease to enthral an audience and once again take on the romantic interest to the play even if Martin is not “the sharpest knife in the drawer” but they have their plans but how will they tell Madge?
Aaron has many years of experience of both drama and pantomime and is a true natural on stage.
However, Madge’s concern about her daughter’s future becomes the least of her worries as the arrival of the new curate to the parish namely Father Michael McCoy played by Dermot Muldowney who is about to shed some light on the reason why Tom – Madge’s husband disappeared all those years ago and more importantly his wishes to return and face Madge to tell her the circumstances around his hastily exit. Will Madge agree to meet him and if so, will all hell break loose? Tom is played by Michael Creagh a true thespian of drama.
To add to the confusion Madge has to contend with Irelands nosiest neighbours as Nora and Cora O’Hora who always arrive unannounced at the most inopportune moments and usually in the middle of the mayhem that is unfolding on stage. Nora is played by Aoifa Fingleton, and Cora is played by Jane Doheny– two well known and very experienced actors and are the lovable duo- a laugh a minute.
With two love stories, a dominant wife, a frightened husband, a confused curate, a gormless postman and two pedigree gossips, this production has all the ingredients for an unforgettable night of theatre.
It’s the Real McCoy by Tommy Marren is packed with witty one-liners such as, “what’s in the dog always comes out in the pup. He was as lazy as sin. If there was work to be done in the bed, he’d sleep in the wardrobe” and numerous twists and turns that will have you rolling in your seats with laughter.
The cast is led and directed by Eadaoin O’Connell who herself is a very talented actor and has won many awards on stage in the world of amateur theatre.
The set designer is Dan Hooban, a master at his craft and has been building and dressing sets for a number of years and leaves no stone unturned when it comes to detail. Taking on the role of Sound and Lighting is Pat Phelan.
Also involved with this production are the many people who assist at front of house, backstage, on sound and lighting, PR and all the other rolls that have to be undertaken. Involved in this are Kieran Brosnan, Muireann O’ Toole, Mary Delaney, Pat Phelan, Padraig Dunne, Colm O’Toole and Pauline Swayne.