Helluva Postcard from the Ledge

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Left, Paul Howard, writer and creator of Ross O'Carroll-Kelly, and actor Rory Nolan Photo: Pat Redmond

TO SET context, engage this thread www.limerickpost.ie/2016/03/30/rock-ross-ocarroll-kelly-show/ when Arts Page went along to poke at Ross O’Carroll-Kelly’s smash ‘Breaking Dad’ at University Concert Hall. Actor Rory Nolan headed up the cast of everyone being pickled in various D4 identity crises.

The Lyric Theatre’s great Jimmy Fay directed and they were joined by the Aoibhin Garrihy as Ross’ high-flying missus Sorcha and Laurence Kinlan (Love/ Hate) as one of his sons born the other side of the Odearest.

Writer Paul Howard/ Ross O’Carroll-Kelly (nom de plume and stage character for shows and comedy) cracked laugh after laugh out of this mixed up family of dorks living large.

February 12 to 16 at UCH

Now Howard tours Rory Nolan to UCH mid-February in a one man show playing an older Dad if not wiser, a 50-something victim of nostalgia, wrapped in his parental home in Glenageary for business purpose. Working as an estate agent in Dublin’s rise from recession, Ross is trying to flog this same desirable residence for his employer.

Worse, he is looking to dodge his daughter Honor’s wedding that same day to an older man. Worse again, the imminent in-law is an older man who has no interest in rugby. What a double injury and twice the mortification; one’s ego is piqued.

We tracked Paul Howard for the update on the O’Carroll-Kellys. He recalls the Limerick run as he does his damndest to visit each production at least once wherever it plays. It’s a source of useful detective work to feed his laughometer.

“There was a great atmosphere in Limerick that night,” he recalls. Yup, the house was packed and rocked. “No, no, I don’t go to all the shows but I do want to see it everywhere it goes so I head to Cork, Limerick, Dublin, Galway…”

“You’ve no business being there really,” Howard admits but the grafter that he is, insists on constantly revisiting and renewing key elements in his drive for optimum magic. How actors try out a line for emphasis, to accent it with wit, is significant: “Something I do is encourage an actor to flex a line differently.”

“Some jokes are written to be read,” is the point this sports/ comedy/ theatre/ novelist/ biography writer is making. “They are just not funny when spoken.”

There are all sorts of jokes and the slow burner on the page that creases the reader at home can tank on stage. “The words blow like tumbleweed across the theatre,” comments Howard ruefully. His admiration for Rory Nolan in Ross’ shoes is unbounded: “I never, ever want to see another actor play Ross.”

Bear in mind that this is the fourth theatre production for the burly rugby jock, the rest of the cast manifest in telephone calls and so on. Yet again, it is directed by Jimmy Fay who brings the best out in Paul’s stage craft.

Exploring what else is required to elicit a volley of laughs from the theatre audience, the writer is evasive. “People don’t come to my plays to talk at the interval about the dramatic structure,” he replies. “I know there are rules about structure, the pace has to be right and so on but there has to be laughter. There are gasps and whoops and shocks at some revelations.

“With comedy you are constantly being judged throughout the performance.”

Goody, said Pollyanna. Let’s go calling on Ross again from February 12 to 16, booking on www.uch.ie