THE Blue Boy of Glenmore is a bit of an odd name for a play. It’s not the most inviting title and the dark blue and white banner outside The Roddies looks like it might have sinister tones. But as it was written by local playwright Joe Brennan and directed by Tony Devlin of Brassneck fame – I knew it would be promising.
Alas I headed out on a school night on my own because that’s what I do these days. The Emo has started sleeping her life away and I am now without a thespian love partner.
The Blue Boy is the nickname given to farmer Jemmy John played by James Doran. Is he blue from spending so much time outside in the freezing weather? Or blue from being so miserable all the time? That’s for you to go and find out. Really I cannot tell you because it will give the whole story away.
The play is set in a remote farmhouse in a small town outside Dundalk. He’s an illiterate cantankerous person, old before his time and wouldn’t spend Christmas. Typical of some farmers we know. He’s all about the land and the subsidies. In a stereotypical rural Irish man fashion, he finds it difficult to express his emotions and instead bottles them up until it’s often too late.
Christine Clare plays his sister Colleen, a woman sheltered from modern ways and practically kept as a slave in the family home. Jemmy John doesn’t want her to work in a well-paid job nor get her driving licence because she’ll become one of ‘those’ women. But along comes Gerard McCabe in the form of Paudie Rua – a hapless fool with a head for mechanics. Together they strike up a romance. Every time the lights go out on another scene, it makes the audience beg for more. Each scene ends on a cliff hanger and lets the viewer process what just happened. It’s a great drama with a really dark side. It explores sibling rivalry and how women were treated in 1970’s Ireland.
I was delighted to see Marty Maguire return for another of Joe Brennan’s plays. As usual he brings the stage alive, this time he played the part of a green grocer who stopped for a daily chin wag with Colleen. His gossiping and tales from home are very funny and at all times enthralling.
The production team have used sound and lighting to great effect. The music features a variety of arrangements that wouldn’t be out of place on Murder She Wrote. It adds to the enjoyment of the story.
The Blue Boy of Glenmore is playing in the Roddies until Saturday 15th April 2017. Tickets are £10. Doors open at 7.30pm. You can ring the bar on 02890 300480 with any queries.
It then goes on tour to the following venues – ticket prices vary
April 25th Sean Hollywood Arts Centre (Newry)
April 26th Alley Theatre (Strabane)
April 27th Theatre at the Mill (Newtownabbey)
April 28th Down Arts Centre (Downpatrick)
April 29th Craic Theatre (Coalisland)
April 30th Cushendall Golf Club
May 3rd The Market Place Theatre (Armagh)
May 4th Playhouse Theatre (Derry)
May 5th The Old Courthouse (Antrim)
May 6th Strule Arts Centre (Omagh)
May 9th – 14th Lyric Theatre (Belfast)