I had the pleasure of seeing Newport Drama Group performMollby John B Keane Friday night (January 27).
Community halls play host to many things nowadays butunfortunately, amateur drama is becoming a rarer sight.Newporthas a strong tradition of local theatre and the Newport Players were a fixturein the community calendar until several years ago. Judging from the largeattendance, plays have been badly missed in theNorth Tipperarytown.
The play itself—one of the Kerry playwright’s laterdramas—is a lively comedy about life in a rural parochial house and in theseventies. The natural parish order is somewhat challenged when the Canon hiresa new housekeeper, Moll. She quickly makes her mark on the house and thecommunity, much to the distress of the two curates.
The play was well chosen; it got plenty of laughs and wassuitable for all ages. The production values were very high, probably owing tothe experience of producer, Tim McInerney. The set could have rivalled manyprofessional plays.
The acting, all by enthusiastic amateurs, was great allround. Their comic timing was spot on. The trio of priests—Paraic Kennedy,Kieran McCabe and James Collins—interacted well. All their individual quirksshone through; the gullibility of Canon Pratt (Kennedy); the frustration ofFather Brest (McCabe) and the easy, trusting nature of Father Loran (Collins).Mary McCabe, as the conniving Moll, was hilarious. Let’s just say she’s theopposite of meek Mrs. Doyle in Father Ted…although the bumbling priests bearmore than a passing resemblance to the characters in that particular sitcom!The supporting cast of Jimmy Clery, Cathríona O’Brien, Olive Buckeridge andPaul Dunne also made for some very funny moments.
Most impressive of all was the community spirit in theorganisation of the production. It was obvious that a lot of time and effort went intoit from the cast, crew and front of house staff. Hopefully, the rejuvenatedtheatre group will continue for many years to come.
The final night of Moll will be tonight, Sunday January 29. The play is in Newport Community Hall and tickets are €10.