RUBY TUESDAY by Rose Henderson

Performed by Helen Norton (Fair City, The Heiress) and Rose Henderson (Fair City, Father Ted) and Directed by Deirdre Molloy

Viking Theatre, Clontarf 8 May – 20 May

Tickets €12 Booking 087-1129970 /

Bewley’s Cafe Theatre at Powerscourt Townhouse 24 April 24 – 6 May 

                                                                   Tickets €10-12, Booking 086-8784001 /


The Dolmen Theatre, Cabinteely, Preview 6 Feb, Opening Tue 7 Feb – 18 Feb

Tickets €15 Booking 087-1018202

In her gilded cage in the leafy suburbs of Dublin, Mrs. T has managed to hold onto her middle class lifestyle but at what cost?  Filling her life with writers’ groups, yoga holidays, school reunions and obsessive cleaning is not quite enough. Her marriage is a sham, and her daughter wants to get away as far and fast as possible.  She has to pick up the pieces or succumb to depression.

Her husband may control her spending, but she does have a cleaning lady, Ruby, who calls every Tuesday to clean the house and blow away the cobwebs of Mrs. T’s life with sarcasm, wit and common sense.

This keenly observed comedy brings together two women who come to depend on each other for laughter and sanity, while their home life disintegrates around them.

As their stories unfold we see how banter and laughter help them to deal with the betrayals of children, the cold indifference of a failed marriage and the domestic catastrophes behind the double-glazing, spit and polish.


Emer O’Kelly, Sunday Independent 30 April 2017






No More Workhorse – Review by P McGovern

Anyone expecting from the title that there’s a Rolling Stones angle will have to settle for Peter Skellern and a bit of ragtime piano.  The world presented in this revival of Rose Henderson’s 2008 play is not rebellious or even vaguely Rock ‘n Roll. It is the staid, mundane and uneventful world of two women – at least it appears so, on the surface. Like most lives, however, when you glimpse beyond the surface there are all kinds of hidden personal dramas, involving relationship difficulties, the onset of ageing, and the grief of bereavement. Henderson has reworked the piece significantly from the original version, developing the relationship between two women, Mrs. T and Ruby, the woman who cleans for her. Yes, on Tuesdays.

The characters are well delineated: middle-class Mrs. T, all smiley, open, bubbly charm, warm and empathic; Ruby a no-nonsense working class woman, good-natured but clear-eyed, with a very realistic sense of the world around her and her own place in it.  As the two settle into their weekly routine of laundering, dusting and cleaning, it seems as if we are in for a straightforward, slice-of-domestic-life and girl-talk piece. However, all is not as bland and cosy as it first appears. Both women have encountered serious problems in their family lives and, in their respective crises, each has thrown the other “a lifeline”, reinforcing the bond of friendship beyond the boundaries of employer/employee. The seriousness of the play is leavened with a lot of fun and the plot is enlivened with time lapses into girlhood and recapturing a few serious moments too. Colm Maher’s lighting design readily signals the shifts in time, place and character and, like Deirdre Molloy’s sympathetic direction, it does so without fuss.

Both Rose Henderson as Mrs T and Helen Norton as Ruby are excellent.  Henderson’s wreathed, beaming smiles and fluttering movements and her eagerness to please at her schoolgirls’ reunion somehow belie an underlying anxiety to fit in and a need for affirmation.  Norton’s Rose doubles as Mrs. T’s teenage sister of 30 years ago, effortlessly changing from inner city working class to solid Dublin middle-class, giggly school girl on holiday and later to the neighbour who calls in a misguided but well-intentioned effort to be helpful. When the darker side of Ruby’s life experience surfaces, it is deeply affecting, all the more so for the restraint in the acting and direction.

An odd weakness in the production is the stage set, not explained by the restricted space.  Two cream-coloured, leatherette dining chairs of an “apartment fit-out” type and an odd-looking table draped with a cloth that reaches the floor. A €5-type of printed image of a cow as the only picture on the walls.  The whole impression sits uneasily with the image of a couple that goes on golfing trips to South Africa.  However, the strength of the performances means that such minor issues don’t really take from an enjoyable and worthwhile lunchtime performance which continues at Powerscourt Theatre, South William St, daily at 1 pm until May 6th




John McKeown Irish Daily Mail 11 April 2008

Cleaning Lady makes a Fine Agony Aunt…

Verdict:  Spunky comic two-hander ****

Writer Rose Henderson has come up with something fresh and often very funny.  There’s the class reunion where Mrs. T assures her friends that she won’t say a word about her wonderful children, but can chatter about nothing else.  That’s followed by a demonstration of Mrs. T’s ability to slip into her ‘yogic state’ at will.  The personal griefs she unburdens on Ruby are treated more seriously, but there’s an irrepressible quality to Mrs. T’s laments, lit by unsettling flashes of honesty.  Henderson’s first play, deftly directed by Deirdre Molloy, is a lively, irreverent piece of writing.



Lucy White Metro 22 April 2008

Initially threatened by loud drumming from Grafton Street, Ruby Tuesday found its own rhythm, weaving real-time conversations between the two women with seamless flashbacks – a pile of laundry was fashioned very convincingly into a bawling babe in arms when new-mother Mrs. T recalled a touching phone call with her own mum.  Rose Henderson wrote and stars, playing Mrs. T down to a, well, tea.  Inspired by women who work in the home, Henderson has mingled her own personal experiences with poetic license for a heart-warming tale of friendship in unlikely places.  Helen Norton meanwhile plays the pragmatic Ruby without ever resorting to working-class caricature.  Mrs. T might be just another middle-aged wife/mother/daughter trying to reclaim her identity after the kids have flown the nest but her plight is touchingly handled.  Issues of dieting, absent husbands, miscarriage, moody children and self-help books may point towards a very specific demographic, but the performances ensure Ruby Tuesday is a little gem anyone can enjoy.



Gerry Colgan Irish Times 4 April 2008

Mrs. T is an upper crust suburban housewife whose life has been difficult, leaving her vulnerable to introspection and neuroses. Ruby is the cleaning lady who adds dollops of common sense and realism to her routine chores.  Rose Henderson’s play juxtaposes these two characters to some effect.  Their short soliloquies and exchanges provide pleasant entertainment for the audience.  The author has much to offer.  There are neat alter ego tricks to exploit the possibilities of theatre as when both characters become Mrs. T, fending off false friendship in contrasting ways.  The actors – the author and the ebullient Helen Norton – hit the right notes to generate the laughter of recognition.



Sara Keating Sunday Business Post 27 April 2008 ***

Henderson plays the self-obsessed Mrs. T, whose secret weaknesses for cream buns and old-fashioned crooners make her more of a fallible heroine than a martyr.  Norton gives a delightfully physical performance as the dogged cleaning lady, Ruby.  The more difficult scenes of Henderson’s play are comprehensively executed, such as the scene where Norton becomes a stand-in for Mrs. T’s conscience, embodying Mrs. T’s inner voice to comic effect.  Some of the acerbic social observation in the play is penetrating and acute, such as the peculiarly female habit of celebrating other people’s problems while pretending to sympathise.  A packed house revelled in Henderson’s biting take on domesticity.


* * * * *

Is Daniel a Registered Gas Installer?


Unfortunately not!  The new RGI safety advert is making waves on all TV channels.  Rose aka “Mary” is a big Daniel O’Donnell fan and thrilled to be welcoming him to her home.  Her room is adorned with Daniel paraphernalia: albums, mugs, embroidered fire guard, hand-painted painting, home made iced cake, cushions.  She is his number one fan.  Serving him hot water out of her best china (Daniel does not drink tea), she apologises for the cold room.  “The boiler is acting up.”  He very kindly offers to take a look at it for her, but I’m afraid he has overstepped a very important safety line!!  Mary asks him to leave – throws him out.  He’s perplexed, but as she pulls down the blind in her drawing room to shut him out, we see it has his lovely face on it, but she is devastated.  Her hero was not a Registered Gas Installer.



“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


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.

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


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.



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.