“BOOM?” by Isobel Mahon

Directed by Caroline FitzGerald

Next performances:  Mermaid Theatre
Fri 2 December – Sat 3 December, at 8pm
Tickets e15 Booking 01-2724030

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Selma Mae (Isobel Mahon) is riding the boom, or so it appears to friends and family. She has a perfect husband, perfect kids, a perfect home.
But, when her social-climbing Mother, Carmel (Maria McDermottroe), ‘helpfully’ organises a bash to celebrate her new state-of-the-art extension, Selma begins to wonder who’s life she’s living after all. As the odd assortment of guests; glamorous neighbour Chloe (Claudia Carroll), career-girl sister Maeve (now played by Clelia Murphy), and the eccentric Bernie (Rose Henderson), begin to assemble, it becomes obvious that Carmel’s dream of an elegant ‘do’ is fast descending into chaos.
The night unfolds, old secrets are shared and facades begin to crack. The Boomtime girls are forced to recognise that behind the gloss, true friendship proves the only solid foundation.

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Maria McDermottroe, Rose Henderson, Aisling O’Neill, Claudia Carroll and Isobel Mahon, in rehearsal.

Sunday Independent

It’s a comedy that’s light and fun, but which packs a razor-sharp edge, says Emer O’Kelly

Isobel Mahon’s Boom? is set 10 years ago, at the height of (you’ve guessed it) the mythical economic boom.  Yet it could as readily be contemporary, and that’s in its favour.  She is setting out to satirise the pretentious vulgarity of suburbia, specifically areas of south County Dublin in 2006, but both her characters and the situation are as much of today as a decade ago.

Forty-something Selma Mae’s husband has walked out on her, plunging her into a nervous breakdown, an abortive attempt to slash her wrists, and a successful attempt at wrecking her brand new kitchen.  Now she’s out of hospital and having a drinks party to “celebrate” her return to normality.

But with a mother like Carmel, obsessed with appearances, that’s not going to be easy.  And then there’s Chloe from down the road, mistress of all things trendy, and the possessor (in her own mind) of the solutions to everyone’s problems.  Add in Selma Mae’s older sister Maeve, ahead of her in the separation stakes, cynical and with a tongue like a razor, and you have a lethal mix even before you add in Bernie – the obsessive compulsive neurotic who Selma has met in hospital, but who is definitely not the class of person Carmel wants her daughter to be associating with.

This production at the Dolmen Theatre in Cabinteely in Dublin is as light as a feather, thanks to Mahon’s sure ear for dialogue.  But she also has a good touch with reality checks, and there’s a real sense of empathy with the trials of modern life, even when cushioned by designer takeaways for parties, golf club membership and the latest mod-con gadgetry.

Director Caroline FitzGerald has assembled a first-class cast and handles them with a deft touch.  The author herself plays Selma, with Maria McDermottroe as Carmel, Claudia Carroll as Chloe, Aisling O’Neill as Maeve, and Rose Henderson as Bernie.

All are terrific, but O’Neill does slightly edge the lead as the unapologetically vicious Maeve.

Design is by Conor Neville with lighting by Ben Downey.

 

Sunday Mail

Michael Moffatt show of the week

WHAT REMAINS WHEN THE GLITTER FADES…

Isobel Mahon’s play comes as a follow-up to that day of wrath in the Abbey last year when the Waking the Feminist movement took over the theatre for a day to bemoan the sad lot of women in the theatrical world.  So to balance things, here’s a play written by a woman for herself and four other women, about women’s problems, directed by Caroline Fitzgerald.

The theme of family difficulties is certainly up-to-date but there’s a problem balancing the comic and serious elements of the story, whether to go for breezy comedy or for a satirical look at the pretentious and flamboyant lifestyles of the Celtic Tiger boomers.

Selma Mae, married to an architect, with a nice home sweet kids, and a new super house extension to show off, has some friends and relations over to celebrate.  There’s one snag – not everyone knows that she recently spent time in a psychiatric hospital.  Why that happened is central to the story.

When her pushy mother takes over the job of managing the evening, and the friends turn up, cracks appear in the apparently glittering lifestyles, secrets are uncovered, and celebration declines into disintegration.

The comic element needs a sophisticated touch to keep the serious aspects in focus, but often, especially in the case of the mother, Carmel (Maria McDermottroe) an ignorant interfering monster, the comedy comes across as having all the delicacy of a sledgehammer wielded by a pantomime dame.

Which is a pity because, in general, the characters and the situation are full of possibilities,

Aisling O’Neill as Maeve, the embittered sister with a waspish tongue is a credible creation, the sort who can bring a sharper comic edge to a serious role.  She’s well contrasted with the fashion-conscious, allergic-to-everything Chloe (Claudia Carroll) full of psychobabble and instant empathy, but not quite as gormless as she appears.  Maeve’s big dramatic bust-up with Chloe is one of the play’s stronger scenes.

Bernie, Selma’s former psychiatric inmate pal, very nicely played by Rose Henderson, is a genuinely interesting character, but she’s lumbered with rather obvious neurotic tics and traits spelling out everything.  Isobel Mahon’s own role as the doleful Selma is all the better for being understated.

There’s potential here for the exposure of shallow lives and shattered dreams, and some crisper editing and firmer direction might sharpen the comic elements.  But nonetheless, the audience clearly enjoyed itself.

“You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” by Stuart Thomas

Directed by Ronnie McCann
Producer: ZAC Group

Tivoli Theatre

IMG_1452Watch as Katherine leads an exceptional cast including Rose Henderson (Fair City), Seamus Moran (Fair City), Noella Brennan (Fair City), Emma Barry (Fifty One Shades of Maggie) and Karl Bowe (Mr Ireland) through a story of family ups and downs in the way only Katherine Lynch can. This is a show guaranteed to have you laughing all the way home. A night not to be missed!

Middle-aged Barbara’s broken-hearted when hubby Henry dumps her. But soon she’s having the best sex of her life with hunky Zak, the much younger handyman who’s artexing her box room.

Mags, Barbara’s sister, played by Katherine Lynch is a serial singleton, who is addicted to Tinder and one night stands. What will Mags and Marie say when they find out about Babs and Zak? And is Zak too good to be true? And what if Henry changes his mind?

Crammed with laughs, tears and songs like ‘I’m In the Mood for Dancing’, ‘I Will Survive’, ‘Happy’ and of course, ‘You Don’t Bring Me Flowers’, this heart-warming, raunchy comedy about love will be your best night out this year!

 

Friday and Saturday nights at the Tivoli for the month of April, 2016
Booking Ticketmaster

Presented by the Zac Group.

All Sorts of Wild Reports – Women of 1916 – Findlater’s Church

Dublin: One City One Book

‘All sorts of wild reports have been circulated about the enemy. We met a detachment of the Veteran Corps marching to Greystones who told us: ‘bad news from Dublin. All the wires cut, street fighting already in progress, and very few soldiers about’ From the Diary of Monica Roberts

On Wednesday 20th April at 7 p.m. a special evening featuring dramatised descriptions of the 1916 Rising will take place in Abbey Presbyterian Church (Findlater’s) on Parnell Square. In what promises to be a highlight of the Dublin: One City One Book Festival, the experiences of a diverse group of women during the fighting of Easter week, will be brought to life by actors, complemented by singers and musicians from the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

We will hear the voices of women who recorded their experiences of the Rising. It is the story of women as soldiers, nurses, cooks, gun-runners, gossips, hostesses and writers. Excerpts are taken from the diaries and letters of volunteer nurses Nora and Jean Fitzpatrick, visiting opera singer Elsie McDermid, labour activist Rosie Hackett and diarist Monica Roberts.

Dublin: One City, One Book is an award-winning Dublin City Council initiative, led by Dublin City Public Libraries, which encourages everyone to read a book connected with the capital city during the month of April every year.
This year’s Dublin: One City One Book choice is Fallen by author Lia Mills and the setting in Findlater’s Church for All Sorts of Wild Reports is significant as Katie, the main character in Fallen, lived in Rutland Square (now called Parnell Square).

Show created and produced by Rose Henderson.

Actors performing at the event: Catherine Byrne, Rose Henderson, Isobel Mahon, Jennifer O’Dea and Kerrie O’Sullivan.

RIAM singers performing are Lorna Breen (soprano), Eimear McCarthy Luddy (mezzo soprano) and Peter Manning (baritone).

RIAM pianist – Keith Stears

Admission is free, booking is essential.

Late Lunch Live TV3

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.

 

Isabelle and Rose on the set of Late Lunch Live

Isabelle and Rose on the set of Late Lunch Live

Alzheimer Cafe

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.

 

RESONANCES

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.

 

WEIGHING IN by Ger Gallagher

Directed by Caroline FitzGerald

Next Performances:  Monday 14 September – Sat 26th at 8pm – Dolmen Theatre, Cabinteely

Booking 087-1018202

 

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.

 

http://www.theredcurtainreview.com/2014/05/weighing-in-civic-theatre-dublin.html

This two hander lets Rose Henderson (Breda) and Isobel Mahon (Pam) give a quality comedy turn, both looking relaxed and at ease playing against each other, and looking like they are having a fun time as well. Henderson’s stretching exercises moment is a wonderful example of physical, expressive comedy that by itself drew big laughs.

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.

http://www.the skinnydollsjourney.blogspot.ie/2014/05/weighing-in-not-weigh-in.html

Get yourself to the Civic Theatre in Tallaght to see ‘Weighing in’… A very funny play about the weekly weigh ins we’ve all experienced be it Weight Watchers or Slimming World or Unislim… It’s about an unlikely friendship that develops between two class members at ‘Easi-Slim’ …
I went with a really good friend and everything we had talked about an hour before the play at dinner …. was pretty much played back to us verbatim… Priceless!!! and if you can’t laugh at yourself all hope is lost!
It’s just over an hour long and you will laugh for most of it… and for the rest of it has that feel good factor that you get from a good friend who understands you… It’s a charming story about friendship and camaraderie… It’s about how people from all walks of life bond over syns and propoints… and it’s very very funny…
Big fat thumbs up from me but be quick it was a sell out in Dundrum the first time and the first few nights in Tallaght are sold out already!!!

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.

A Nightingale Falling by PJ Curtis, directed by Garret Daly and Marting McGlynn

A feature film set in war – torn Ireland in the early 1920’s which was filmed in Daingean and surrounding areas in July 2013

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.

It is a story of a household and its inhabitants caught in the crucible of the merciless politics, cruelties and hardships of the period. It is also a story of love, of broken hearts, entrapment, desperation, madness and of secrets revealed and darker secrets kept – even to the grave.

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

The Ulster Orchestra has recorded a full, feature-length film score for the first time, joining only a handful of film scores to be recorded entirely in Ireland.Donegal-born composer Graeme Stewart wrote the music for the Mixed Bag Media film.    Stewart likened the score to “an emotional spectator of the film,” and described it as having “a lyrical and a pastoral quality, featuring woodwind and solo stringed instruments, while at the same time becoming much more symphonic when it needs to.  I got involved in the film after watching the trailer for ‘A Nightingale Falling’ and I just thought it looked like a really beautifully shot film; I was blown away by what Mixed Bag Media has created from PJ Curtis’ book,” Stewart said.