Thirst (and other bits of Flann) – Abbey (Peacock) – Review
Abbey Theatre presents Agro Grimace – Thirst (and other bits of Flann)
18 December – 5 January – On the Peacock Stage
It’s well past closing time and a few men remain in the local bar. It’s a ‘lock in’ and the bar man, Ignatious Coulihan (Garrett Lombard), is worried. He hears a noise from outside and blows out all the candles, insisting everyone is quiet. That is when he hears a knock on the door, a persistent knock from the local Sergeant (Marty Rea), who has uncovered their skulduggery.
This is an anthology piece with four of Ireland’s best male actors at its core. It throws us back to an Ireland from another era, where people lived by their wits and the only release from a life of drudgery was a trip to the local pub for a bottle of porter. It explores the work of Flann O’Brien (Myles na gCopaleen) with a series of excerpts from The Dalkey Archive, Drink, Time in Dublin and The Trade, along with a longer version of Thirst.
The Peacock theatre is transformed with most of the regular seating removed, other than for a few rows at the back of the auditorium. Instead, we get the feel of a bar, with wooden tables and chairs scattered around the theatre. The first two sections of the play are monologues with Marty Rea and Rory Nolan. The actors perform in amongst the audience, telling their tall tales and gossip. The later sections of the play take place on the stage, with the final piece Thirst including all four actors.
While this new production is not linked with Druid, it does bear a strong resemblance. This play has the same cast as the recent Druid production of Waiting For Godot, which toured extensively including the Abbey.
The stories are light but there is a lot of humour in them and the cast do a great job, as you would expect. Marty Rea plays the Sergeant as a prim and proper man, obsessed with his bicycle and far fetched scientific notions he barely understands. Rory Nolan plays the Dublin gurrier Jem, who battles against his love for the demon drink! Aaron Monaghan has a relatively small part, that of Peter, who tells a rambling tale of a drunkard. Garrett Lombard is the main character in Thirst and plays the barman, Ignatious Coulihan, who aims to tempt the Sergeant away from his work! This production is a treat for the Christmas audience and one that should be enjoyed for the quality of the acting along with the memory of an Ireland long since past.
Cast and Crew –
Ignatious Coulihan: Garrett Lombard
Peter: Aaron Monaghan
Jem: Rory Nolan
The Sergeant: Marty Rea