By Guest Blogger
The All Ireland and One Act Finals commenced this evening at Glór in Ennis. This is bumper week of live theatre in Ennis kicking off with two sell out houses for Big Maggie This competition is sponsored by Mace and runs over the weekend with eleven groups from around the country converging in Co.Clare for the best in amateur drama.
Before we entered the theatre there was a spectacle as costumed performers mingled with the theatregoers to a musical background. Being somewhat unfamilar with amateur drama competitions I was a bit unsure of what the expect but the fare on offer was terrific and it was a great night.
There was a brief set of formal speeches with local amateur drama stalwart Allen Flynn, chairman of the event and the distinguished theatre actress Marie Mullen amongst the speakers. The MC for the weekend is John Finn and he has nice jovial manner with a wry sense of humour and connected well with the audience tonight. There is an excellent programme that covers the whole weekend.
Tonight we had 3 plays;
The first play was Brenton v Brenton by David Tristram and was directed by Valerie Traynor. This show was produced by Breffni Players from Carrick-on-Shannon in Co. Leitrim. This play is a farce set in a wonderfully presented advertising agency with a group of extravagantly drawn characters in a bizarre storyline. The opening monologue delivered by Deke Brenton (Dessie Doyle) on the topic of condoms was very funny and engaged the audience immediately. The script entailed a lot of quick-fire dialogue reminiscent of the Marx Bros and there was a bewildering array of entrances and exits all timed to perfection. Caroline Burke was the stand out actor in the role of Lana Brenton the extravagant in everyway female lead. There were a lot of non verbal props deployed to enhance the script and they worked well. The set was designed by Angus Dunne and Valerie Traynor. A strong production and great start to the weekend.
A word for the adjudicator Anna Walker who summarised the key pros and cons of each play immediately afterwards in a professional and comprehensive manner.
A great night of live theatre with three very contrasting works and an appetising start to the weekend. I hope to return.