Carrie Crowley was a star among stars at the Cork Opera House in an Irish musical, Improbable Frequency. Staged by Rough magic Theatre Company, this musical play, or should that be a play with music, was first seen in 2004 in Dublin and it was an instant hit and it moved from the O’Reilly Theatre to The Abbey in early 2005 before a hit run at the Edinburgh Festival. Now on an Irish tour with an almost new cast, it is a glorious romp with the intelligence of a crossword puzzle, with a hundred down of three letter, fun and eight letter, laughter.
Carrie Crowley is wonderful as she sings, dances, slinks and sidles in sultry seductiveness as Agent provocateur in similar underwear as Agent Green, a British spy in a Nazi-front pub in Dublin. She is joined by idealistic new recruit Tristram Faraday, a code-breaking crossword maestro, to crack German codes, supposedly being broadcast on the radio, by a glorious gombeen, O’Dromedary.
Add into the puzzle, Myles Na gCopaleen, John Betjaman (a supposed British spy in Ireland) and German or Austrian scientist/mathematician Erwin Schrodinger as friend of De Valera; a forest of puns, a dozen or so witty pastiche songs, a few other oddball characters, a classy musical trio and it became a hilarious entertainment.
Faraday was played by Killinascully’s (Deiter) Louis Lovett, in that curious voice, he does and he was a howl, especially in his horizontal tango on a bar top with Sarah Jane Drummey’s innocent Philomena O’Shea. Raunchy, but in a sort of Noel Coward or Gilbert And Sullivan way and always in the best possible taste. Arthur Riordan, who wrote the book and lyrics (Bell Helicoptor did the music) was Schrodinger and a list of other fine parodies and personas. Darragh Kelly was impressive as Na gGopaleen and a mad IRA-man Muldoon.
Nick Grennel as Betjaman and O’Dromedary was fantastic and his energetic song and dance routines were a high point of a top-drawer top-hole top-of-the-tree evening.
Why, oh why, doesn’t a show like this come to Waterford. And while I’m on the subject, you could bring tea, coffee, drink, icecream and slices of cake into the auditorium but it was curious that before 7.35 the bar wasn’t open and if you wanted to go to the toilet a member of staff had to open a coded-door and needed to see your admission ticket. Also the auditorium was colder than expected. Two down and four across must spell – unwelcome . . .