The Cavalcaders tells the story of a man leaving a cobblers shop where he has worked his whole life. As he stands and talks with the new owner, a fever takes hold of him and he is flooded with images and memories of his life and loves. It tells of his relationships with women, his failed marriage and the women he has known since then. It also deals with his friendships with his various employees in the shop, and the barbershop quartet they sing in ‘The Cavalcaders’.
The play by Billy Roche is an impressive piece of work, which seeks to distil a man’s life into two hours. There is an drip feed of information about each of the various plot lines which are told out of sequence, through the fevered brain of the main protagonist Terry. We slowly piece together the truth of the numerous threads, many of which do not flatter Terry, and leave you with an impression of the man, warts and all. He is a deeply flawed character, and he is left with the scars of his failed relationships and friendships.
The unusual introduction of a number of barbershop quartet songs works well, and adds a musical element to the proceedings. They sing a number of their own songs, which are about the characters in the town they live in, as well as some better known songs. The cast have various levels of singing ability, but two of the group have strong singing voices, and carry the others through.
The play deals with many issues such as mental illness, emotional stability and the damage left behind by too many failed romances. In truth, the piece could have done with less plot lines, and to focus on a smaller number, but it is an effective piece of writing, none the less. The actors are all well skilled and add humour and levity to the proceedings. This is an admirable production of the Billy Roche play that should fill theatres around the country during its tour.
The Linenhall Arts Centre – 4th & 5th Nov
An Grianan Theatre – 8th & 9th Nov
Hawk’s Well Theatre Sligo – 12th & 13th Nov
Mullingar Arts Centre – 15th & 16th Nov
Riverbank Arts Centre – 19th & 20th Nov
Backstage Theatre Longford – 22nd & 23rd Nov
Droichead Arts Centre- 26th & 27th Nov
Ramor Theatre Virginia – 29th & 30th Nov
Draíocht Arts Centre – 3rd & 4th Dec
Pavilion Theatre – 5th – 7th Dec