Taking a PUNT on gambling fever

Developed through Belltable: Connect professional development
Pius McGrath lays his cards down

HONEST Arts Theatre Company merited an Irish Times Theatre Award nomination for its 2014 show ‘Waiting in Line’. Know that they rate with the best.

Set up by life and artistic partners Tara Doolan and Pius McGrath, these two pack a formidable  skillset that combines technical production for hire, at home and abroad, and the creation of new work.

Honest Arts favours gritty social realism as theme, and life in the 21st century’s fast lane. Literally. ‘Waiting in Line’ fashioned digital scenes and character changes that moved like sheet lighting, unified by lives signing on.

Lack of judgement is a key principle.

Their latest show on the road is PUNT. It stages tonight, Friday 17, in Friar’s Gate, Kilmallock at 8pm and comes to Belltable next year. PUNT is a product of Belltable: Connect theatre development and premiered for Limerick Fringe Festival.

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‘Punt’ in this sense has many senses: a pun on currency, on taking a punt in gambling, and possibly, being the maker  of your own sinking… punt.

McGrath is actor/ writer/ techie/ and  Doolan is director/ writer/ techie. There is an excellent record of support for other artists and curators and with McGrath on the Limerick professional stage since student days as Prince Charming, that man knows powerful performance craft.

PUNT is a one-man show that is written by Doolan and McGrath, acted by him, directed by her and co-produced.

Briefly: “This is a story of gambling culture in Ireland. With the arrival of modern technology, it’s a look at how it has infiltrated local culture as sub culture around the country. With smartphones, gambling is now everywhere.”


A man’s life is introduced to us, by flashback, intercut and narrative, from age six into his current late 20s. He has become hijacked emotionally, socially, financially and perhaps irrevocably by his compulsion for betting.

Honest Arts points to many things driving the prevalence and secrecy of this furtive fever: TV and online advertising and apps; the vacuum created by the ban on alcohol sponsorship; increased affluency; that the GAA reports a 30 per cent rise in its players seeking professional support in accessing help.

“Addiction is quite prevalent in small towns around the country. Gambling is starting when people are quite young and PUNT is about when it goes from being a harmless punt to problem”.

What is problem point? “When it starts to impact what you do everyday, that’s when”.

Book in advance on www.friarsgate.ie and tel. 063 98727