The Confirmation Suit – Bewley’s Cafe Theatre @ Powerscourt – Review by P. McGovern
May 08 – June 03, 2017
Gary Cooke, well known to TV audiences from his Après-Match impressions of Eamonn Dunphy and his role in I Keano, narrates the Confirmation Suit as Behan himself – rumbustious and boisterous. He captures the author’s rollicking personality and gait convincingly, relishing the broad North inner-city Dublinese and bringing the entire story vividly to life. The accent is predictably perfect and the anarchic humour is given full rein. The impressions switch readily from the man himself to Behan’s mother or father, or the two Cowan brother neighbours (no, not those two). It also features the bishop on Confirmation Day and Mrs. McCann who made the suit. Each character is brought vividly to life.
The play was adapted by Peter Sheridan from the short story of the same name. Sheridan has worked on a number of Behan related projects recently, with Meet the Quare Fellow touring last year which also starred Cooke. While Meet the Quare Fellow focused on Behan’s later years and descent into alcoholism, this play shows Behan’s younger days and is a more light-hearted affair. It delves into the experiences of the 12 year old Behan as he gets ready for his big day.
While Sheridan’s adaptation works very well for the main part, it is extended just a few minutes beyond its natural ending: the line “that is the least she deserved”. While the pace ensures that the energy and entertainment never drop, a little more variation would allow the pathos more breathing space. However, it is an enjoyable hour’s entertainment, continuing at Bewley’s Café Theatre @ Powercourt Mon. – Sat. at 1 pm, until June 3rd.
THE CONFIRMATION SUIT by Brendan Behan
Adapted for the stage by Peter Sheridan
Performed by Gary Cooke