Theatre is often about contrasts and at a time when cuts and recession are hitting hard with the Abbey Theatre facing a million euro of a reduction and about a dozen professional and newish theatre companies at near extinction by savage cuts. On one side of the street the Abbey Theatre mounts a large cast history lesson and across the street in Theatre Upstairs @ The Plough you have Waterford born technician Andy Cummins as part of a non-funded, profit share theatre company putting on New World over a pub at lunchtime and evenings.
The contrasts are there with Stretching Larry by up and coming playwright Bryan Delany. The immediacy is strong as shabby Larry (Anthony Morris) comes to hang himself from a tree. He is ready to end it all and sings a verse from The Night That Larry Was Stretched when a comic German couple arrive to picnic beneath the same tree. Catherine Eaton as Nell is all loved up as Frank O’Sullivan (Helmut) stylishly removes two wiener sausages, a salami and a bigger todger of a sausage from a picnic basket. The Shabby Larry cannot stand the excess of food and wine or the sexual act about to be consummated so he interrupts. It would be unfair to reveal what happens then but in a way it was another theatrical cop out and reminded me of A Theatre of the Absurd play now almost history. Karl Shiels directed with skill and verve.