Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Monday, September 17, 2012

Beyond The Brooklyn Sky a Red Kettle World Premiere

By guest blogger John Hartery

The world premiere of a new play is a notable thing and there was a sense of occasion in Garter Lane, Waterford last weekend for Beyond The Brooklyn Sky the latest production by the Red Kettle production company. The play is poised to participate in the forthcoming Dublin Theatre Festval and to tour around  a range of venues.

The company  drafted in Peter Sheridan to direct the new piece and backed this up with a strong cast of seven actors. The play is  by Michael Hilliard Mulcahy an award winning playwright from Listowel Writers’ week.

The initial star of the show is the set designed by Waterford native Ben Hennessy which realistically captures a coastal community hall complete with lobster pots and a deconstructed currach. We know were we are. The next star is the sound which uses Neil Young, Springsteen and that  half-forgotten theme from the Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence movie to pitch the genesis  of the story  in  the 80s. All this is supported by a bunch of iconic LP covers and a turntable.

Red Kettle Premiere

The plotline concerns a bunch of fortysomethings who meet again in the small Kerry fishing village and recall how their lives crossed in the eponymous New York borough. One was reminded of the movie The Big Chill. The narrative covers a 24 hour period. Hints of what happened  to direct their  lives in the Big Apple many years ago are plentiful and gradually uncovered. The story pivots on he return of Greg a journeyman musician, who does a mean rendition of Youngs Helpless, and how his fleeting visit revives memories and provokes decisions.

There are  some cliches of the Irish theatre in  the play; the returned emigrant, the drunk, and the secrets revealed under inebriation. The works of Billy Roche come to mind.  There was a overly heightened  sense of melodrama  in the the second act.


But the play has some interesting dimensions with the men all  coming close     to mortality  ranging  from a foolhardy sea voyage to a possible terminal illness. The women characters were the bedrock of the story  and each was memorable:  Catherine Walsh as Josie with  her fling with the Dutchman and  Liz Fitzgibbon as Shannon with her precocious view of relationships and   Sorcha Fox a veteran of Ros na Rún   the standout actress in the key role of  Mags.

It was an excellent night of live theatre that deals with Irish emigration, and love through a modern lens – Skype gets a few mentions.  Red Kettle deserves  a good run for this ambitious project. I’ll be looking out for further work by Hilliard Mulcahy. The  Saturday night afficionados at Garter Lane, who  know their theatre, were impressed.


The play runs  intermittingly in Garter Lane till Saturday 22nd and then on tour.

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