Comedy weekend of One Act Plays

Martin Pierce, Anne Carey, Janet Woods, Niamh Donnellan, Barry Danaher, Patrick Woulfe, Suzanne Hickey, Gary Keane and Grainne Hartnett. Pic: Brendan Gleeson

WORKING out of The GAFF theatre hub on Cecil Street, Cecilian Musical Society parts company with convention and their reliable musical theatre platform. Look ahead to a transfer of venue to Belltable this Friday June 8 and Saturday 9 for 8pm’s three comedy shows to emerge from first-time directors in the Cecilian stable, steered by Jason Ronan producer.

You’re watching out for Irish/ Limerick premiers, fully staged, of ‘Give a Little Love’ by Alan Stockdill; ‘Lone Star’ by James McLure and ‘Shakespeare’s a Dick’ by Mark Aloysius Keanneally. Fundraising is one driver; upskilling in theatre proper is the other.


Limerick Post was invited to look-see-hear these works in the making, with savvy GAFF director/ College Player Padhraic Hastings around to bless the house: “Three plays for €15 is only €5 a show. Sure, where else would you get it??!”

Sheenagh Murphy directs the Gay City Roller thrill of Stockdill’s play, Her wish was “to bring back some of the longer-serving members of CMS – because they were the people I had grown up with.

“I wanted a play with a bit of fun and a bit of depth. There’s a lot of music and dancing to it with four girls who went to school together and don’t meet up for 30 years until they attend a Bay City Roller tribute…. There’s a storytelling quality to it”. And, oh joy, five smash hits delivered by the girls in tartan regalia during this 40 minutes of affection.

Sheenagh has brown-nosed around great oul’ faithfuls of theatre such as Maurice O’Sullivan, Torch Players to round out her experience in the director’s chair. It has been a longstanding wish of hers to lead off stage in the putting together of formal theatre and oh boy, with a comedy vein and international scenes to these three plays, each of these Cecililan directors and groupings has their work cut out.

But work hard is what the AIMS winning Society does.

Actor Gary Keane, a man of swagger and poise in ‘All Shook Up’ two years ago, takes us through the Vietnam era ‘Lone Star’. Interestingly, director Martin McNeilus has tripped to Texas himself prior to this staging of the deep-South ‘Lone Star’ which pivots on the touchy relationship between brothers Ray and Roy.

“Roy has served his time in the Vietnam war and comes back to town to find everything is changed. He wants events as he remembered them. He’s also disgruntled with his brother for not getting into army.”

It is clear that Ray is not remotely army material. They boys go hanging out and something happens to Roy’s adored pink convertible Thunderbird with an old foe and drink. Not to be his sole challenge in this familial fun with a ‘homecoming’, with unexpected footsie on the side.

Nigel Dugdale tore up the stage in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ as a psychedelic Herod two months ago. By far the most experienced actor/ singer/ performer in the hall with his West End and professional productions’ past, Nigel is back with Cecilians for ‘Shakespeare’s a Dick’, directing a young cast. [It’s a tad annoying that his stunning ability on stage cannot be witnessed this weekend]

“’Shakespeare’s a Dick’ is a good play, good for the concept of trying to get people who usually do musical theatre to do straight theatre.”

“The plot basically is a guy gets infected by Shakespeare’s language, a redneck from the American south who is pure trailer trash. The bug makes him speak in Shakespearean verse and he has women falling for him.”

Wally’s complicated life while inhabited by the Bard rounds out another 40 minutes in this suite of laughs for Cecilians. Find your loose change to support this effort and book for Belltable on venue manager