Ireland is a nation of strong women. When you go way back to the Celtic era you can see where we get it from. Throughout the years, strong women like Grainne Mhaol and Constance Markievicz have influenced the psyche of the Irish female to imbue in us a strong sense of self, justice and pride. And no better place to explore feminine strength than in the tenements of 1950s Dublin.
Queens of Pimlico tells the story of two sisters, whose love for one another can triumph even against betrayal and misfortune. This is the third production I’ve seen by Derek Masterson’s No Tears production company and they always manage to find a gentle balance between humour and genuine drama.
While the misfortune of the characters doesn’t create an uplifting story, the characters’, and in particular Rita’s character lighten the mood through real warmth and humour even in the darkest times.
Recommended as a good insight into the plight of women during the 1950s and also if you fancy a good story, well told and with some tear-jerking moments thrown in for good measure.
Plays at the Civic Theatre until November 30. More info on securing tickets here.
Describing A Nice Bed to Die In as two women facing death conjures up images of the most depressing show on earth and pretty much the last thing you’d want to do with your Saturday night. However, just like their last show Bound, No Tears Productions and its writer Derek Masterson manage to find the humour in the darkest aspects of life.
On the surface this is a story of class divide, but delving deeper the difference between the two women is the key decisions they have made throughout their life – one choosing the self loath and by default loath others around her, and another choosing to fight for her children and stay ever-the-optimist even during her darkest times.
Finding the delicate balance between teary, heart-breaking scenes as each women says goodbye to their families and the giggly antics as they work out their personality clashes; the play is a thoughtful and entertaining piece of work with great performances from both Phyllis Carthy and Breid Morris. Alison Fitzpatrick returns to No Tears after her stint in Bound and brings enormous energy and vibrancy to the stage – brightening up even the darker parts of the story.
Whilst going a little bit heavy on class stereotypes, the play teaches us the important lesson of the difference between having everything emotionally and having everything materialistically. The final realisation is that no matter what you do in this life, you’ll be on the same level as everyone else when it comes to the end.
Final Line: Go for the giggles but bring some tissues for the teary bits.
Booking: A Nice Bed to Die In has finished its run in the Civic Tallaght but will play in the New Theatre this August, 5-17 at 7.30pm nightly.