Published in Meath Chronicle June 20th Edition 2015

Navan Theatre Group Stages Night of One-Act Diversity

It was a night of pleasure and pain – but mostly pleasure – on Friday June 5th in the Newgrange Hotel, as Navan Theatre Group displayed their considerable collective and individual talents through a series of one-act plays. Much of the material was written by members of the theatre group – no mean feat – but we also saw material by American writer Deron Sedy, Irish writer Seamus O’Rourke and a gorgeous little vignette written by Roddy Doyle.

There was slapstick, murder, forgotten souls in a graveyard, dodgy sailors, a perplexed little fella in a phone box (remember them?), the threat of domestic violence, and a manic bunch of quite insane castaways on a desert island. Such a smorgasboard of colour doesn’t come easy, on one stage, in one evening, with one small amateur theatre group, no matter how easy they succeeded in making it look.

The techie stuff was absolutely seamless, there was not a second’s hitch in lighting or sound. The rapidity of scene changing during the blackouts was worthy of any professional theatre. But it was, of course, the men and women on the stage that made us laugh and hoot and occasionally swallow a lump in our throats.

For particular mention is Ann Fleming’s “Damn Your Eyes”. Directed by the author, and with echoes of Brian Friel’s Philadelphia Here I Come where we watched Gar and Gar’s alter-ego, here we were treated to Sue and Sue’s Conscience, via Emily Duignan and Barbara Mulvihill respectively, wrestling in a “should I stay or should I go?” moment of clarity. Unfortunately, Sue stays.

And I was reminded of Mairtin O Cadhain’s Irish novel, Cré na Cille as I watched Mick Roban’s play, “Graveyard Talk” – a tale where the souls in the local graveyard welcome a young new addition, while filling her in on the graveyard gossip. There was some fine acting here among an ensemble that worked extremely well together.

“The Captain’s Tale” drew slews of laughter from the audience, while Seamus O’Rourke’s poignant poem “What Kind of an Eeget Are Ya?” was delivered with just the right balance of unsentimental finesse by Robert Clarke.

The audience enjoyed the performances immensely, and Navan Theatre Group is to be commended for offering a medley of such immense diversity in a single evening’s entertainment. Kudos, Bravo and Bravissimo to all involved.

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