Review: Arms and the Man

Joanne O'Brien/ Raina Petkoff Image: Stewart Mackey

TO GO, where they have gone boldly before: wrestling the literary greats. That’s Torch Players for you, who have knuckled down to fresh productions from the scripts of Moliere, Martin McDonagh, David Mamet, Noel Coward, Chekhov, Pinter and other potshots from the canon.

Clockwise; Dan Mooney/ Capt Bluntschli; Joanne O’Brien/ Raina; Stewart Mackey/ Major Saranoff; Miriam Ball/ Louka; Pat Kelly/ Nicola; Chris Rowley/ Petkoff/ Michelle O’Flanagan/ Catherine Petkoff
Image: Stewart Mackey

Founder Maurice O’Sullivan leads the hungry drill to this day, having gathered actors and crew around him first in the 1970s. If anything, the intellectual pace has quickened, as the run at Belltable of George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Arms and the Man’ is evidence. LOL.

Booking until Saturday March 2 at venue manager

Laugh out loud at this thigh-slapping victory waltz for pacifism. It wraps the vainglory of war around every available lover as the stinking rich but fond Petkoff household negotiates with itself and the former enemy after the Serbo-Bulgarian war.

Decisive females lead with plenty o’flounce. Michelle O’Flanagan is gorgeous as the matriarch Catherine married to the wealthiest man in Bulgaria, a bumbling, bossy Chris Rowley. His Major Petkoff is able to win wars, amass a fortune and yet be run ragged by staff, family and even his greatcoat.

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But ’tis all a swop of identities as the joys of attraction eddy back and forth.

Crisp consonants aid the unmasking of the library of one book, of an ‘old family’ that is just 20 years in the country and the fatiguing trial of “higher love”.

Michelle O’Flanagan/ Madame Petkoff; Steward Mackey/ Major Sergius; Chris Rowley/ Major Petkoff; Pat Kelly/ Nicola

Cast: Joanne O’Brien/ Raina Petkoff, up her own worthy ass until saved; lover No. 1 Major Saranoff/ Stewart Mackey – charismatic dolt; rival Louka – the un-put-downable Miriam Ball; love No. 2 Captain Bluntscli/ Dan Mooney – in almighty uniformed fettle;  butler Nickolai – a pummelled, goodhearted Pat Kelly who looks out for one and all. Russian bombast Robert Hutchison runs an investigation of the set designed by Gerry Lombard.

Nice work, this frothy quadrille that gallops upstairs at cavalry pace. There’s courtship to be done.


Review by Rose Rushe @limerickpost

P.S. The news editor has just sat on my desk with his latest challenge. He draws three circles on a reporter’s notebook in a lateral line. “This is the name of a George Bernard Shaw play. What is it?”

Me:  But he wrote about 50 of them.

He: I know. This is a very famous one. We are looking at three balls in a row.

Me: A symbol for eternity? (Look, I can over-think.)

Reader, brace yourself. The answer is:

‘Man and Superman’