This year local drama group the Shrughawadda Players from Kilmoganny walked the boards for the Hugh Leonard play, Da.
Playing to a full house for four consecutive nights it’s hard to believe this voluntary group are entirely amateur. Directed by Michael Dowling the troupe surpassed themselves this year with a high pitched and emotional performance.
A complex enough play to stage with many transitions it came off flawlessly. From the opening scene the intricate mental meanderings of Charlie, home from England for his Fathers funeral leads the audience back to his youth and his burning desire to leave Ireland albeit ‘out from under the complement of his adoptive parents,’ and back to the present where he tries in vain to exorcise the ghost of his Father from his consciousness is seamless.
Charlie’s repugnant nostalgia for his past is captured perfectly by Pete Dunne while Martin O’ Shea’s portrayal of Da would not be amiss in the Abbey itself. Comical, costic, irreverent and stubbornly influential, O’ Shea captured Da perfectly.
Having followed the Shrughawadda players from year to year I can easily admit to being entertained but this production actually moved me. Marie Kelly as Mother, portrayed fussiness, martyrdom and cottage snobbery dressed in a housecoat down to a tee. Mark Dunphy as Young Charlie was effortless while Mick Keegan, debuting at seventy odd was the perfect Mr Drumm. Supporting roles by Roseanne Connolly as Mary Tate, Caroline Doran as Mrs Prynne and Eamonn Murphy as Oliver are not to be overlooked. Each brought a strong character that made the whole production the complete package.