Ballyshannon Drama Society are back in a big way with their new production, Neil Simon’s The Gingerbread Lady at the Abbey Arts Centre this week.
The group swept the boards with Steel Magnolias, winning the All Ireland Confined in 2011 and director Anne McHugh has once again worked her magic with an incredibly talented cast.
The play centres on Evy, a cabaret singer whose career, marriage and health have all been destroyed by alcohol.
Having just completed a ten-week stint in a rehab facility, she returns home to the welcome of friends with their own problems – Jimmy, a gay actor in danger of losing a part in a play and Toby, an overly vain woman who fears the loss of her looks. Then Polly, her devoted but anxious teenage daughter arrives on the scene, shortly followed by Lou, Evy’s worthless ex-lover. Crackling with the kind of hilarious one-liners we expect from Neil Simon, the play focuses on whether Evy will stay on the wagon or career towards a tragic end ?
Rachel O’ Connor plays the lead Evy Meara. A multi award winning actress, Rachel has risen to the challenge and delivers an outstanding performance full of complexity, which swings from exaberic wit to delusional depressive moments.
Evy’s hapless friends, Jimmy and Toby are played by Abbey veterans Richard Hurst and Patricia Keane, who both excel.
Polly is played by Sinead Luke who has been treading the boards since childhood and delivers a beautifully rounded insight into this character who ultimately perhaps reveals herself as the adult in the piece.
Newcomer Conor Beattie completes the cast, with the none too easy task of playing two very different characters, Manuel the opportunistic grocery delivery boy and Lou Tanner, Evy’s ex-lover. Conor plays both parts with wonderfully accurate and detailed insights.
Well done, too, to all the production team, who deliver, as always, to the highest standard.
The Gingerbread Lady at the Abbey Arts Centre, tonight, tomorrow and Saturday, tel. 071 985 1375 for tickets. The show goes to The Balor on Thursday, February 20, tickets on 74 913 1840 or www.balorartscentre.com.