Padraig Potts Guide to Walking – Civic Theatre – Review

Padraig Potts

Padraig Potts Guide to Walking by Seamus O’Rourke – Civic Theatre, Tallaght

Last night was a wet, blustery night more suited to a cuppa beside the fire than venturing out, but after seeing Big Guerilla’s production Padraig Potts Guide to Walking by Seamus O’Rourke, I will be forever glad I braved the rain and wind (thanks, Dad for the lift, by the way!).

Self-billed as a story ‘funny and tender’ it sets itself a high bar. I’m delighted to say this beautifully written monologue lives up to its promise and more. In essence, it’s a love-letter to the eponymous Padraig’s coming of age in Drumnamee, his growing into manhood and on into middle age. Nostalgic, but in a good way, yet wry and comical, it gently satirises his own gangly innocence and critiques his mistakes and bitter experience. Padraig goes on a journey and takes the willing audience with him, ultimately to find out that it really is ‘never too late’. O’Rourke’s writing is funny, brilliantly observed and touchingly poignant in places. Charles McGuinness deftly directs the imaginative staging.

The story has raucous moments of laugh-out-loud slapstick, like the recurring euphemism of ‘washing the floor’ and quiet moments of tenderly observed beauty, as when a Protestant rector eulogises Padraig’s girlfriend’s mother. O’Rourke plays a myriad of parts in vivid characterisation, making clever use of the minimalist, boxy set, designed by Noel Nash and lit by Philip McIntyre, which becomes a car, the cottage, a cowshed, the promenade and an airport, to name but a few settings.

Peppered with references to the t.v and pop music of the passing 35 years, the actor also shows he can hold a tune as he sings the songs that punctuate the scenes. In a packed Loose End studio at the Civic, O’Rourke held the audience spellbound and he quite rightly deserved the standing ovation the crowd awarded him. The studio is an ideal spot for intimate story telling of this kind but let’s hope larger venues host this production too in order to bring it to an even wider audience. If we gave out stars at Nomoreworkhorse, this would be a four-star experience. It is currently on tour. Go see it, it’s more than worth it.

Review by Audrey D.

Runs at the Civic Theatre – 10 – 15 November // 8:15pm

Padraig Potts Guide to Walking

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