What could be a nicer treat in the middle of the day than to drop in to a lunchtime play (and get your lunch thrown in, too), in a charming and historical Grafton Street institution with spectacular Harry Clarke windows? No wonder Bewleys Café Theatre is one of Dublin’s best-loved daytime theatres.
That is not to say of course, that the play is always going to rhyme with the charm of the setting. It can veer into psychotic territory, as it does for example in Mark O’Halloran’s current offerings, where JM Synge-style head-injury meets wife-on-husband spousal abuse. Perfect if you’re into a healthy dose of black humour, like us here at VULGO.
VULGO recalls the delightful 2001 Bewley’s lunchtime play O’Halloran co-wrote with David Wilmot, “Too Much of Nothing”, about two hapless but very endearing social misfits enjoying wasting time together. Since those embryonic days in the Bewley’s incubator, O’Halloran’s meteoric success has involved writing and co-starring in “Adam and Paul” (the prolific O’Halloran played “Adam”, alongside the late and great Tom Murphy, RIP), as well as penning “Garage”, and the television series “Prosperity”.
In a revival of his 1999 work, “The Head of Red O’Brien”, Mark O’Halloran entertains us again with more of his trademark gallows humour in the resilient but condemned character offerings of Red O’Brien and his wife.
In Red, we meet a pathetic character (played by John O’Dowd), who has only just survived a violent and absurdly hilarious attack from his wife Mary. Red lies in his hospital bed for most of the next hour with a bandage on his head, telling us his version of how it all came to this.
The irony is terrific. On the one hand, you sense that the character is simple, immature, and innocent. How could anyone merit such abuse? On the other, as the tale is told and the character fails to account for the bizarreness of his behaviour, you have to laugh at the flimsiness of his self-analysis. Before long, your sympathy is with the absent wife.
The story of the other half of this dysfunctional marriage will be told for the first time in a sort of dialogue of monologues by “Mary Motorhead” herself, played by Cora Fenton from Monday January 31st.
For €14, Bewley’s Cafe Theatre presents a soup and brown-bread lunch in cosy cafe-style seating on the top floor of their landmark building.
You can see it for free however on Monday January 31st, or Tuesday February 1st, if you are the lucky VULGO.ie reader to win of a pair of tickets in our very first contest! To enter the draw answer the following question, and email it to email@example.com with “Bewley’s Café Theatre Competition” in the subject line.
What was the name of the character played by the author of “Mary Motorhead” in Adam and Paul?
So – which was it – Adam or Paul?
The lucky winner, who will be selected by democratic and fair draw, will be notified on Monday, January 24th. Tickets are transferable – ie if you cant make it on Monday January 31st, or Tuesday February 1st at 1pm, you can give then to a couple of friends who are.
“The Head of Red O’Brien” runs until January 29th.
“Mary Motorhead” runs from January 31st to February 19th.