Gary Power Productions is on a roll, hot from the triple success of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, this quality company hit the Theatre Royal stage with howls of laughter for a wonderfully topical version of Willy Russell’s Stags And Hens. Blessed with a top class local cast who brought torrents of laughter and showed how true the motto of this company is – Where fun and entertainment excel. This was racy, rude, sometimes crude, with lots of expletives but it was true to a certain type of lifestyle. It was funny, crowd-pleasingly side-achingly funny with great chunks of comedy and flashes of pathos. With painful honesty at peoples foibles and drink-fuelled hopes it kicks off with the Groom vomiting over Robbie’s suit (€65 from TK Maxx) in the men’s toilet.
If this production had a fault it was that characters didn’t wait for laughter to subside, but such was the cracking one-liners and drunken antics that, at times, the capacity audience just kept laughing like some demented but happy laugh-track. There as a sequence where Gretta Rochford kept falling over, that just got funnier and funnier and a pause was just out of the question.
The story if about a pre-wedding night out for Dave, the Groom and his mates (The Stags) and dance mad Linda, the bride and her friends (The Hens). Dave spends most of the play with his head down the toilet and Shane Taheny gave this character flesh and believable vomit. Amid the craziness as both parties go to the same run-down disco, home truths seep out, hidden truths surface and Linda reaches a decision.
Paul Barry’s set was appropriate, down to the condom machine signed by Madge Collins and May O’Brien (Oh you are awful!).
Avril Musgrave’s costumes wee a glitzy fashion parade of bad taste and colourful imagination.
I had more fun at this show than I had at Brendan O’Carroll’s hilarious comedies and I feel sure this excellent laughter-fest will return to the Royal next year on a tide of popular demand.
Gary Power directed with flair and bravado and he flaunted his comedic talents with telling sureness. There wasn’t a weak character. Even Timmy Ryan, who has a proverbial hiccup, spit and cough as Roadie, was funny.
Jamie Murphy as the popstar Peter in youngwans boots, brought humour and pathos to the play. Fionnan Fitz Dunphy was quality as the oddball/know-all Billy. Kieran Doyle, as the artist Kav, caught the frustration of having talent but still wanting to be one of the lads – a piss artist.
Michael Quinlan was the violent best man who was Junior League crazy with a hair trigger of delusion. Brian Juckey Collins was marvellous as the ladies man Robbie, and time and again he had me convulsed with helpless laughter. Michelle Glendon as work-friend Carol was great at adding inane comments to crazy situations. Vicki Graham was confident and daring and a true best friend Frances. Greta Rochford was falling-down-funny as the one who cries at parties. Ruth Couoghlan was special as a doubtful, hesitant about the future Linda and she was pivotal in the story.
Lynda Gough, as controlling, mother-figure, leader of the pack Bernadette was a cackling one-liner factory of mirth and craziness. Hers was a memorable performance and she is to star as Shirley Valentine with this company in February at Garter Lane. Don’t miss it.
Gary Power Productions has brought a new fresh vitality to Waterford theatre and entertainment.