Letterkenny Music and Drama Group (LMDG), who brought us extraordinary theatre with The 39 Steps, return to An Grianán tomorrow night with The Chronicles of Long Kesh.
The acclaimed play by Martin Lynch tells the story of the infamous Northern Irish prison throughout the 1970s and 1980s with a perfect blend of comedy and drama, recreating key events in the history of the prison.
LMDG are the first amateur group to receive the rights to perform this absorbing play, which they are bringing on the drama festival circuit. It’s an eagerly awaited production, given that it’s the group’s first return to the circuit since their incredible All Ireland Confined and Ulster success with The 39 Steps in 2012.
The story is told through the eyes of prison officers and both Republican and Loyalist prisoners. The cast of six actors – Elaine Gillespie, Eoghan McGiolla Bhríghde, Kieran Kelly, Anthony Delap, Andrew Galvin and Paddy Campbell – bring to life a total of 49 characters with the difficult task of never leaving the stage throughout the two hour running time. Though it depicts a difficult era in Irish history, the play is a huge crowd-pleaser, full of finger-clicking 1960′s Motown songs and wild, irreverent humour. Classic hits performed acapella by the cast include “Tracks of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson, “All My Loving” by The Beatles, “You Really Got Me” by The Kinks, “Alright Now” by Free and “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” by Bob Dylan.
Audiences will be confronted with a rich assortment of republicans, loyalists, prison officers, chancers, escapees, wives, Smokey Robinson-imitators and even hypochondriacs!
Eamon (Kieran Kelly) is a plumber and night-school teacher caught up in the Republican struggle when he agrees to hide arms. His life is utterly changed though when he has to decide if he will put his name down for hunger-strike, while Oscar (Andrew Galvin), a Smokey Robinson-loving undertaker from Derry re-evaluates his priorities in life following his imprisonment. Hank (Paddy Campbell) is a long-term Loyalist prisoner, with a penchant for philosophy and the music of Bob Dylan, who shares a cell with Thumper (Elaine Gillespie), the tasty-dressing, UDA man while poor Toot McGinley (Eoghan McGiolla Bhríghde) can’t sing a note and maintains his innocence throughout!
Directed by Pluincead O’Fearraigh, lights and sound are provided by Niall Cranney and Paul Rooney while Tanya McLaughlin is Stage Manager.
This fascinating portrayal of life inside Long Kesh Prison will be performed in An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny for three nights only, tomorrow through Saturday, before the group take it on the festival circuit.
Early booking is advised and tickets can be purchased by contacting An Grianán on 074 912 0777 or www.angrianan.com.