The ‘outing’ of one Janey Dillis

Cora Fenton as Janey
Cora Fenton as Janey

THAT Limerick is such a wellspring for original works, finely crafted and dramatic, is testimony to the talent pool and its audience. Step forward John Sheehy of CallBack Theatre whose plays you know from Belltable, Theatre at the Savoy and when not touring, at their spiritual home of Friars’ Gate in Kilmallock.

His new show, ‘Janey Dillis’, opens there this Thursday June 1 and Friday 2, 8pm.

Partner in life and in CallBack criminality (against the mediocre) is actress Cora Fenton. She plays Janey, a loopy but clued-in lady who has shut her door on the world for 25 long year. Sod the lot of us, she’s cool behind those curtains.

John Sheehy has been ‘theatre artist in residence’ twice already for Friars’ Gate. His name is in the hat for a third run and ‘Janey Dillis’ got off the page with a bursary from Limerick Council.

“Janey has been happy enough to live on her own all these years and then a catalyst is forced upon her. There is an extended power cut and yes, it’s winter, in the middle of quite a harsh winter. She begins to run out of food supplies”.

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Far from being a lost twig on a súgán, “Janey is a big fan of the home delivery. She’s a modern woman with a tablet who orders supplies online. She can navigate the world from there. But the power cut interferes.”

Over 70 minutes, there are conversations between Janey,  jolted into twitchy awareness and vulnerability, and fictional characters in her head to which she gives voice. The playwright intimates they may be representations of her  self, eloquent fragments of a unique mind.

“They often suggest things that scare her. They force the issue of why doesn’t she go outside, what’s kept her from others. I like her because she has a strong spirit.

“Janey has had a lot of knockbacks… and some of her solutions to her problems are unusual to say the least”. Bring it on.

Booking at