01 Feb 2014
February 1, 2014

A Christening with a Twist!

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Abbeylara Drama Society hosted their hilarious new play “A Christening with a Twist” on Friday and Saturday night last at Crover House Hotel in Mountnugent.

The cast and members of the production crew had worked tirelessly for weeks in preparation for the big opening night and they certainly didn’t disappoint the huge numbers of people who turned out to support them.

Following on from last year’s brilliant performance of “A Mock Wedding”, there was popular demand for seats at this year’s event. So in response, 2 shows were staged to accommodate patrons on both Friday and Saturday night.

The play itself, brilliantly written and directed by Áine Drake is somewhat of a sequel to last year’s play, “A Mock Wedding” and sees us reacquainted with some memorable characters as well as some new standout ones.

The scene is set in a rural pub somewhere in Ireland (remarkably like Abbeylara) where we meet a few of the local men enjoying their Irish breakfast over a pint of Guinness. While tucking into their eggs and bacon, the locals are paid an unexpected visit by the ever so camp Francis Brennan from the popular TV show, At Your Service. Mr Brennan (convincingly played by Mark Sheridan) informs them that he has organised with the Pub owner Tony (played by Anthony Reilly)  to stage the hit TV program, The Jeremy Kyle Show.

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Meanwhile village locals John & Pat Cox (played by the excellent Niall McGuire and Raymond Dalton) try to win the affections of travelling Aussie girl Matilda played by the glamorous Christine Reilly who has just hit town. As the men calamitously put their best feet forward, the disapproving mother Nan Cox (expertly played by Lorraine McHugh) keeps a disapproving eye on the girl who she believes not good enough for her sons while Pat’s girlfriend Bridie (played by the very funny Gillian Reilly) is not impressed by what she sees as new competition.

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Newly weds Harry Cox and Fonda Pheelan Cox are next to appear on the scene with a heavily pregnant Fonda (farcically but brilliantly played by Mickey O’Connor) clearly ready to pop at any moment but content with having a few sups of the black stuff to ease her stress.

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As the village waits in anticipation for the Show, we are introduced to the main characters whom Jeremy Kyle will base his latest program on and whose transgressions will be the highlight of the show. Christy Pheelan (played by the hilarious Turlough McGovern) and his wife Annie Pheelan (played by the always entertaining Josie Crawford) have just had their first son but question marks remain regarding the resemblance of the child to it’s father. We also meet the rest of the Pheelan clan, Anita (played by the butch Shane Gallagher), Mona (played brilliantly by Michelle Maguire) and the beautiful Candy (played by Mairead Mchugh). It is Candy’s husband Hugh Jass (played expertly by the comical James McEntire) who is at the center of the controversy surrounding the legitimacy of Christy and Annie’s newborn.

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While the two men quarrel over the insinuations and the girls squabble over what’s what, Francis Brennan returns to inform them all that they can settle their grievances on the Jeremy Kyle show. However, Francis receives a shock when he discovers that the man presenting the show is not Jeremy Kyle but is in fact Jeremy Boyle, his Irish counterpart. Mr Boyle explains how he saw a niche in the Irish market place for an afternoon talk show for folks like the Pheelans.

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In scene two the locals begin to gather in the bar lounge and take their seats for the live Jeremy Boyle show while Jeremy’s Assistant Angela (played by the dazzling Anne-Marie Brady) prepares the stage and the local security man (played by Alex Small) takes his place of authority to preside over events.

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Jeremy introduces the show and his first guests, the Pheelans. Christy Pheelan explains his predicament to Jeremy as his wife Annie pleads her innocence and as emotions begin to rise, the girls Mona and Anita express their feelings of distress over the scandal. As the drama continues to unfold, Jeremy brings on Christy’s other daughter Candy and her husband Hugh Jass to share their side of events, but Candy appears to be more interested in playing up to the camera and the fact that she’s on TV!

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With the men ready to come to blows over the allegations, the lovely assistant Angela announces that the results of the lie detector and DNA paternity tests are in.  Annie and Hugh Jass listen with a look of worry and anxiousness on their faces as Jeremy reads out the results. But to Christy’s and more notably Annie’s delight, the baby is in fact theirs and everyone is left feeling relieved and Christy’s manhood visibly restored.

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More drama unfolds as Jeremy’s next guest Matilda reveals her true identity and how she harbors an attraction for the girls and not men while also pointing out that she loves Bridie! Bridie gleefully accepts Matilla’s proposal to go travel the World with her. As the two walk off into the sunset, Jeremy is greeted with even more unexpected events as Fonda goes into labour and is hoisted off the stage by the men and rushed to the hospital leaving Jeremy emotionally drained.

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The third and final scene brings us to the Doctor’s surgery where we meet Doctor Wong Tong (played by the hilarious Terry Drake Junior). Comedy ensues as Dr Tong’s patients (played by John Joe Reilly and Irene Lynch) struggle to understand his speech and unorthodox ways. Temperatures begin to rise when the lovely Nurse Lacey (played by the naturally gifted Terry Drake Senior) arrives on the scene to assist the good Doctor.

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It is at this point that things get busy in the waiting room as expecting mothers Fonda Pheelan Cox and Winnie Tutu (played by the very adaptable Irene Lynch) arrive with their husbands Desmond Tutu (played by the colorful Patsy Lynch) and Harry, (played by John Joe Reilly). The couples are assisted by Mary from the social welfare (played by the equally adaptable and very funny Ann-Marie Reilly). Mary takes their details and informs them of their welfare entitlements, while Nan Cox and Granny Tutu (played by Margaret Sullivan) eavesdrop on each other’s business. But to Fonda and Harry’s disgust, the Tutus (recently arrived from Nigeria) are afforded all manner of social benefits and Harry and Fonda are landed with a big hospital bill.

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Soon the two women are ready to give birth and the lovely Nurse Lacy takes them away to prepare for the final stages. Finally, the pair are reunited with their families with babies in tow but to Harry’s surprise and Fonda’s dismay, they are blessed with twins!!

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As news spreads of the newborn’s arrival, friends and family as well as the local clergy (Fr. Dougal played by Bernard Smith and Monsenior Toole played by Paul Gilna) arrive to pass on their good wishes and blessings. Pat and John Cox present Fonda with a gift but to her disappointment, it’s an industrial size breast pump to fit her ample mammary glands with enough teats to feed the twins and many more besides.

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For the grand finale and to the delight of the audience, the remaining cast members returned to the stage to sing along with Dr. Wong Tong who performed a rendition of the song “Gimme Hope Dear Fonda”.

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All in all, the show was a huge success with all cast members performing brilliantly for what was a thoroughly enjoyable event for everyone involved. There was also fun to be had later in the evening with dancing and live music as well as tea and sandwiches for all who attended.

The Abbeylara Drama Society would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who attended ‘This Drama’ over the two nights, we hope you enjoyed the performance!

We would also like thank everyone who made the show possible. A special thank-you to Áine Drake, the cast members, the people who worked behind the scenes including Ellen McHugh who made all of the props and played the soundtracks on the night and the Costume & Makeup girls, Karine O’Connor, Geraldine Moran, Annette Kiernan and Evelyn Drake and last but not least all the ticket sellers for their dedication.

Video of the Grand Finale:

 

Photos from both nights:
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