TWO WEEKS: CIVIC THEATRE, TALLAGHT
Mon 23 November – Sat 5 December 2015 at 8.15pm
Director: Caroline Fitzgerald
Starring: Rose Henderson and Isobel Mahon
Reviewer: Rachel Rafferty – The Public Reviews
Probably one of the most appealing features of Ger Gallagher’s hilarious comedy, Weighing In is that at its heart is an all too familiar story that centers on two major aspects of women’s lives – identity and the body. Uproariously satirizing society’s contemporary obsession with the body beautiful, this two-hander is set in a small town in rural Ireland. The plot revolves around the svelte and hugely driven, blow in, Pam McGowan (Isobel Mahon) and the more amply proportioned, local Breda Lynch (Rose Henderson). Both are members of the nearby Easi-Slim clinic, but the difference is Pam having already lost a whole four stone has the prestige of being a life-long member while Breda is struggling. The two women bond, as the super-fit, Pam takes on Breda as her protégé in the battle of the bulge. Steered along by Pam’s leadership, a mixture of pep talks, pop psychology and power walks, Breda eventually begins to see results. However, as their friendship develops, an interesting parallel in the relationship emerges, for just as Breda drops the weight, so also does Pam drop her carefully, controlled veneer
The action takes place on the housewives’ power walks and Gallagher’s sharply funny dialogue is evident throughout. Pam and Breda lament for example, the unfortunate Dolores, who though a long-term attendee of the clinic actually got so fat she needs help to get up on the scales. Fitzgerald’s clean direction is obvious in this energetic, fast paced performance.
The actors also have a great rapport – Mahon’s Pam is a very heightened performance, a parody of a manic control-freak becoming almost cartoonish at times. Yet, she instills just enough humanity into the role to save it from veering over into caricature. This is tempered by Henderson’s very grounded Breda, down to earth, mammyish, plumb and pleasant.
At interludes, the offstage, voice of the Class Leader, in the form of Rosaleen Linehan’s voiceover adds to the fun. She dispenses tips, and advice, much of couched in those tired clichés that are the mainstay of most slimming clubs. Such hackneyed slogans as: ‘Fridge pickers wear bigger knickers.’
The play works on a deeper level also, positing the idea that obsessive dieting is just a fetish hiding a deeper need. The question is: what brings happiness? Pam is wealthy and gorgeous, but lonely, while the frumpy Breda’s home life is fulfilling and happy!
Reviewer: Frank L. No More Workhorse
We are constantly being told that obesity is a killer disease and we all need to eat less, to eat more wisely and to exercise. The first week in January after the excesses of the festive season is an entirely appropriate time to return to this less than amusing topic. Maybe an upstairs theatre in Dublin’s most iconic café, Bewleys in Grafton Street, is not the ideal venue in which to encourage eating less but that no way inhibits Breda (Rose Henderson) nor Pam (Isobel Mahon). Pam is new in town but is a long time successful member of Easi-slim (think target weight achieved, 4 stone lost, power walking guru, life time free membership); Breda shall we say is less successful and the problems of being a good wife and mother to her two sons have diverted her from success at Easi-slim. Pam brooks no arguments as she decides to take Breda in hand. They become bosom pals as they keep unwanted calories and needed exercise firmly in their sights.
Henderson and Mahon complement each splendidly in a two hander which takes a fair old swipe at the slimming industry. At the regular weigh-ins which take place weekly, the voice (off stage) of the Easi-slim guru (Rosaleen Linehan) gives advice, makes comments on the weekly weight losses, if any, and throws in for good measure some home truths as “encouragement” for those fighting the flab.
The inflections in her voice and the variety of its tones make a great foil for Breda and Pam to drive forward comically with their own personal battles which are not just about weight.
Losing weight is no laughing matter but adding humour to the ingredients must help the task to be a little bit easier. Weighing In has the right mixture of the difficulties and the obsessiveness which are likely to be encountered in any diet leavened by the comic script of Ger Gallagher, which is delivered with considerable skill by Rose Henderson and Isobel Mahon, that there is more than a good chance that smiles will dance merrily along the lips. In fact a large cream bun in Bewleys might be just what is needed to celebrate the inner glow that this production radiates!
Reviewer: Emer O’Kelly Sunday Independent
The lovely Emer O’Kelly hated Weighing In but I give you the grudging compliments she couldn’t ignore:
Rose Henderson’s endearing Breda is directed with her usual professionalism by Caroline FitzGerald, The audience at Bewley’s Cafe Theatre in Grafton Street at luncthime, 95% of them women, adored it. It is a relaxed way of spending a lunchtime hour.
Rose Henderson is delighted to have signed up with I,a Theatrical Agents, based in Belfast.
Contact Philip Young at 0044 77 86 815158
or 0044 28 94 470 634
Isabelle and I spent a very pleasant afternoon in TV3 chatting to Lucy and Martin about our forthcoming tour of Weighing In. This show has done 14 weeks this year already in the Mill Theatre, the Civic, the Viking, and the Axis. Our next outing is just before Christmas at the Mermaid in Bray on 17 and 18 December at 8pm.
Late Lunch Live dug out photos of Grabbit from Pajo’s Junkbox, Sister Assumpta from Father Ted gorging on chocolate and Isabelle with the cast of Glenroe. Adrian cooked us some rather tasty chicken with a leek and onion dressing, and I’m afraid I spurned his hot chocolate and chilli drink. Can’t win em all! See the Weighing In Facebook page for details of tour dates. Theatres include, Bewleys, the new Dolmen Theatre in Cabinteely, the Everyman in Cork, Droichead Arts Centre Co. Meath, Glor Co. Clare, Dunamaise Co Laoise, Galway Town Hall and the Ramor Theatre Co. Cavan.
The Dominican Sisters have expanded a nationwide initiative which offers information and support to people with dementia and their families, with the launch of the 13th Alzheimer Cafe on Thursday this week.
Fair City star Rose Henderson, whose father has Alzheimer’s, launched the newest Alzheimer Cafe in Santa Sabina House on the grounds of the Dominican Campus, situated on the Navan Road, Dublin.
The cafe offers information and support with an opportunity to socialise in an informal environment. They are also attended by healthcare professionals and are combined with a presentation on an issue relating to dementia.
The new Alzheimer Cafe on the Navan Road will run on the first Thursday of every month from 7 to 9pm. It is free of charge. Alzheimer Cafes are located in Dublin, Kildare, Sligo, Wexford, Tipperary, Cork, Carlow, Kilkenny, Meath and Wicklow.
Books and Music
Two of Life’s Greatest Pleasures
Wednesday 5th November 2014
St. George’s Hall Dublin Castle
Rose Henderson and Bryan Murray read exerpts from novels which use music as their setting, which try to describe the process of musical expression or which try to put into words the effect that music has on our soul.
Novels include the Bible, A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry, Ghost Moth by Michele Forbes, High Fidelity by Nick Hornby, the Pearl by John Steinbeck, Strumpet City by James Plunkett, Nora Webster by Colm Toibin, The Shipping News by Annie Proulx and Ulysses by James Joyce.
Music includes the Arrival of the Queen of Sheba by Handel, Ave Maria by Schubert sung by soprano Michelle Smith, Habanera from Carmen by Georges Bizet sung by soprano Eimear McCarthy Luddy, Paperback Writer by the Beatles, Duet from the Pearl Fishers by Georges Bizet, sung by tenor Callan Coughlan and baritone Sean Boylan, the Wedding March by Mendlessohn, Tis the Last Rose of Summer by Thomas Moore, sung by soprano Michelle Smith, Sailing By by Ronald Binge, and Love’s Old Sweet Song by J. L. Molloy sung by baritone Sean Boylan. The Royal Academy of Music Chamber Orchestra accompanied with Seho Lee on piano, and they were directed by Elizabeth Csibi.
The programme was compiled by Rose Henderson with input from Jane Alger, Derek Seymour and Bryan Murray.
Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, Dublin City Libraries, Royal Irish Academy of Music, the OPW and Dublin Castle.
Directed by Caroline FitzGerald
Next Performances: Monday 14 September – Sat 26th at 8pm – Dolmen Theatre, Cabinteely
The Easi-Slim diet clinic in Clones town hall has just signed up a new member. Upwardly mobile Pam McGowan (Isobel Mahon) has cruised into town in her soft top sports car. Pam has reached her target weight and has only signed up to maintain and brag about the four stone she’s lost. Breda (Rose Henderson) has been attending meetings for quite some time but just can’t manage to reduce her waistline until Pam comes along and whips her into shape.
Breda becomes a disciple of the high-priestess of low carbs and is bowled over by just how fabulous Pam really is. The jet-set lifestyle, perfect family and of course low calorie intake all point to the fact that Pam has a life every woman strives for. However, when Pam’s mask begins to slip, Breda is reminded that things aren’t always how they appear.
Irish Mail on Sunday June 8, 2014
It’s a pity every lunchtime show is not as infectiously enjoyable as Weighing In (Mill Theatre, Dundrum until June 14) **** a delightful look at hysteria of the weight-loss industry.
Isobel Mahon gives a superb comic performance to bring the manically obsessive Pam alive, while Rose Henderson’s Breda is a great foil, with her enthusiastic but more balanced approach, and finally shows the advantage of never losing the human touch.
This is an entertaining piece, that will leave a smile on your face, particularly if you have ever gone to any of these meetings, as you decide what to do for the rest of your evening, if not the thought that you have seen something totally new and different.
Weighting in is a fast-paced comedy about life, love and dieting and how we all need to adjust the scales to find the right balance.
Set against a backdrop of a turbulent, war-torn Ireland in the early 1920’s, this is a story of three people and the unfolding events from a crucial time in their extraordinary and tragic lives.
Starring Tara Breathnach, Muireann Bird and Gerard McCarthy, ‘A Nightingale Falling’ was filmed entirely on location in Co. Offaly.
It will be released later this year.
Teaser Trailer http://youtu.be/HkzyLp5K4Dw
Gaiety Panto Directed by Daryn Crosbie
with Megan Cassidy as Snow White, David Glynn-Crowley as Prince Valiant
Rose Henderson as Wanda,
David Latham as Wally and Sharon Clancy as the Evil Queen
written by Maeve Ingoldsby and Cheech Maguire, with musical direction by Peter Beckett
This year’s Gaiety Panto was seen by over 75,000 people, was performed 78 times and was judged to be the most successful panto since 2005. The run was extended due to popular demand by a week.
Sunday Business Post Reviewedby Garvan Grant
If a theatre has been staging pantomimes for nearly 150 years, you imagine it knows what it’s doing. And when it comes to Christmas pantos the peopt the Gaiety really know what they’re doing.
Yet again they’ve come up with the goods in this entertaining and funny production. If the purpose of a panto is to keep children entertained for a couple of hours while also making sure that parents don’t get bored, then this is panto at its very best.
Megan Cassidy and David Glynn-Crowley are wholesomely spot on as Snow White and Prince Valiant, while Sharon Clancy is melodramatically terrifying as the Evil Queen. The comic turns are provided by the brilliant Rose Henderson and David Latham as Wanda and Wally who sing dance and crack jokes throughout the entire performance. The Seven Dwarfs really come into their own with a stunning setpiece called Dwarfversity.
Backed up by a large ensemble cast, great costumes and a fantastic set, the Gaiety has nailed it again, and a production like this could easily hold its head high in London’s West End.
Review Fiona Dillon
The Gaiety Theatre’s Christmas panto offering is a cracker this festive season. It is a classy looking production.. The pyrotechnics and lighting are used to good effect, and the sets are elaborate and change frequently keeping the attention of the kids, and the cast certainly catered to their target audience. The children booed, they clapped and they sang to their hearts’ content.
Much of the huour came courtesy of two cast members and the script had flourishes that were right up to the minute. David Latham, who played the role of Wally did a mean Nidge from Love/Hate and Rose Henderson who played Wanda the queen’s beautician also had some of the best lines.
The theatre has hosted the annual Christmas pantomime each year since 1873. Its something of an annual pilgrimage for many families, both Dublin and nationwide. And there’s a really good reason for that – its a fun two and a half hours. So if you get the chance, go and enjoy.
Directed by Conall Morrison
8 ten minute plays set in DunLaoghaire, written by Rose Henderson, Kevin Gildea, Celia DeFreine, Michael O’Meara, Shay Linehan, Ivy Bannister, Michael Casey and Gerard Dalton.
When Conall Morrison was artist in residence at the Pavilion in 2011, he put out a call for new playwrights in the area. 8 were chosen from over 100 manuscripts submitted and these playwrights met for a year working on their own plays and studying classic works. In an attempt to stimulate new work, they have each written a 10 minute play which showcased in front of a packed live audience last Saturday at the Pavilion.