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‘Nobody’s Talking to Me’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

‘Nobody’s Talking to Me’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by November 14, 2018

‘Nobody’s Talking to Me’ is a hilarious, rip-roaring Irish comedy, written by Tommy Marren who wrote last year’s smash hit at the Irish Club Theatre, ‘The Real McCoy’ – which played for three years in Ireland.

Tommy Marren, who hails from County Sligo, was educated at Banada National School and Banada Abbey Secondary School. During this time, Tommy got involved in local drama and the Phoenix Players in Tubbercurry. Over the next decade, he treaded the boards regularly, and then in 1985 he became a co-writer.

Now with his success and numerous awards, he has raised in excess of €150,000 for the Mayo /Roscommon Hospice Foundation.

This wild, two and a half hour comedy is being presented by the Irish Theatre Players, and can be seen at The Irish Club, 61 Townshend Road, in Subiaco. The performances are on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8.00, until Saturday 24th November. There is one Sunday matinée at 2.00 pm on the 18th.

 

The scene: Rural Ireland 1968. Inside the kitchen of a down-market, but clean, country cottage in Sligo.

The set: The walls are white with emerald woodwork (set painting by Jennifer Whyte, Siobhán O’Gara Claire Wynne). The walls have waist high, tongue and groove panelling. The room’s three doors carry on the same rustic style, also painted tongue and groove. A realistic log oven (impressively made of wood by the team) takes pride on the rear wall. There is a dark oak stained, pine dresser laden with pottery jars and religious treasures. An impressive set design by Siobhán O’Gara, solidly constructed by Bobby Donaghy. There were a large number of genuine props to bring it to life (props: Jennifer Whyte, Judy Mcentire, Siobhán Rushe, and Susan Lynch)

There is a circular pine table with four matching chairs, Maggie’s 1960s wooden frame, armchair and a dark wood wotnot, topped with an enamel jug and crockery.

The stage manager, Susan Lynch had an impressive list of minor consumables, clothing, and bunting to cope with.

The impressive lighting design for the play was by John Spurling. The sound design, realistic animal effects, and smooth technical operation were thanks to Josie Hacking. Special artwork was by Harry Davies and Claire Wynne.

 

        Elderly Maggie Conway (Siobhán Wright) enters the kitchen, grabs her knitting, and sits down. The dogs bark, and her crofter husband, Matthew, ‘Mattie’ (Frank Glackin) walks in. He plonks his milking pail in the corner, kicks off his wellies into the middle of the room, and settles down to finish the simple crossword that has challenged him for the past five weeks. The couple do not speak a word to each other, and have not for nine years, eleven months, thirty days and two hours. If Mattie puts the kettle on the stove, Maggie will take it off. The niggling is incessant.

       Pleasant but dim Andy (Brian O’Donovan – could he be a twin of Father Ted’s star, Ardal O’Hanlon?) has called around to see the love of his life, the Conway’s only daughter, Josephine (Hazel Beirne), who has been avoiding him. In addition, living in the croft is Mattie’s peculiar sister, Minnie (Denice Byrne), who is a human mobile pharmacy. Decades earlier, Minnie was in love with Luke Murphy (Gerry Grogan), but Mattie did not approve.

       Sadly, the next-door neighbour, Bartley O’Dowd has died; so his daughter, Kathleen (Scarlett Greenock) calls around for some solace – and to borrow a few chairs for the wake!

       During the church mass, Father O’Toole (Alan Kennedy) excitedly announces to the congregation that today is the Conway’s 50th Wedding Anniversary, but they are missing! With their loving family around them, all should work out – but with the Conway clan, anything can happen.

 

Director Siobhán O’Gara has woven in some hilarious situations, and guided her most talented cast to go just that little bit extra with their comedy delivery. The script was packed with hilarious one-liners, and put-downs. There were two or three laughs a minute at one stage, but it was the tiny nuances of body language that give this production that extra magic. Every cast member knew their character intimately, and what a collection there was: the miserable wife, Maggie, Andy the dim boyfriend, the sister with brain lapses – plenty of laughs. There were periods where, for a few minutes, not a word would be spoken and yet the tears rolled down my cheeks.

This could be as popular as the Irish Club’s award winning ‘The Real McCoy’. The accent may be a little tricky for audience newcomers, but it is about time that everyone learned the brogue. Exceptionally funny.