Moondharrig Players Mooncoin, brought a sad and at times bitter sense of memory to an iconic play The Country Boy by John Murphy. This play had a chequered life for its nostalgic and truthful look at the effects of emigration in the late fifties.
This fine authentic company took on this play and delivered after a fitful start with confused accents, a hard hitting and emotional retelling that affirmed their quality status.
The story looks at the returned country boy, Eddie, who returns to the home place. Eddie has sent home money to modernise the place and he now comes with an unhappy American wife, to try and persuade his brother Curly from leaving the home place and not make the same mistake as he. The father is strong, opinioned and taciturn and fails to see he has to hand over the farm to give Curly his future, sooner rather than much later.
By the end of the production some bitter truths were expressed and there was a sort of reconciliation and continuity.
Aine Kearns caught well the quiet put-upon wife, born to acceptance but sad. Esther Delahunty as the Yankee wife had accent problems and a poor first act make-up job but by the end of the play she had delivers a strong and powerful layer to the drama.
Helena Walsh-Kiely caught well the hopeful young Eileen – hoping Curly will stay or at least return for her. There was a tender fireside scene when she sang The Last Rose of Summer that was memorable and wonderful.
Liam Horan seemed ill-at-ease as the alcoholic Eddie and during his outbursts lost the accent but he managed to convey the bitter hurt he felt that was mostly of his own making.
Paul Conway was excellent as the headstrong Curly and Pat Dalton was splendid as the tight-fisted controlling father. With actors of his stature and others surely this excellent group should take on Philadelphia Here I Come. Pat Dalton’s lighting design caught some beautiful moments that added much to this fine drama.
Moondharrig Players take this production to Kentucky in April and it will be memorable and emotional.