Drama, — March 27, 2010 15:11 — 0 Comments

Plough and the Stars

Tonight is the last night of Newry Drama Festival (where does the time go?) and it’s the turn of the Balally Players, of Dundrum, Dublin who present O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars. 

Cast of The Field: Newpoint

We have had a marvellous Festival and my friend Garry Lombard A.D.A. will have an unenviable task tonight when he has to pick winners (and thus, by default, losers). He threatens to make a hasty retreat from Newry in the early night lest he come under fire. 


I really hope not. Garry, his lovely wife Veronica and their two sons who have joined us these last few days have been the life and soul of the Festival Club and the Fringe Festival. Gary has proved a very popular adjudicator, unstinting in his time and efforts on behalf of the groups.  I have no idea what way he is leaning, but, on the old motto of ‘fools rush in, when angels fear to tread’ … here are my own predictions …


I guess that the Premier Award will go to the excellent Silken Thomas Players for ‘The History Boys’. Whatever one feels about the play (some of the audience found the homosexuality hard to take, for example) it is hard to fault this team.


For me, Rosemary with ‘Our Town’ and Dundalk with ‘Copenhagen‘ gave equally good performances: I predict Dundalk, second and Rosemary third. When it comes to the Audience Award I will put Rosemary first: I haven’t enjoyed a play like it in Newry in many, many years. 


All this leaves out Newpoint (I didn’t view it this week) and Balally, who haven’t performed yet. As I say, ‘fools …’ etc.


I will not speculate on Best Actor/Actress as I know that many of those whose performances I liked best were not held as such by Garry Lombard! Most Ambitious Choice will go to Dundalk for Copenhagen. 


Now I have just a few hours to be proved wrong (once again)!


My last comments on this year’s Festival will dwell mainly on the results. Therefore I want to make a few final remarks on other aspects.


A huge thank you to Newpoint Players who were responsible for the entire fringe Events (highlight: ‘Winners’ by Brian Friel on each Saturday at lunchtime in the Auditorium, Arts Centre).


An enormous bouquet to Pat and Patricia Courtenay who were wonderful and generous hosts in their Restaurant (First Floor, Arts Centre) and sociable to a fault.


We dined there several times this past week and I could not recommend it highly enough. Please support them throughout the year.


Garry Lombard has been a real eye-opener as adjudicator. In more than 40 years attending, I never remember another adjudicator who has taken such a hands-on approach, singing, performing and reciting freely at all Fringe Events. His adjudications of the performances were (I suspect – for I am not privy to the private conferences) warmly received and appreciated by all the teams. 


I hope he makes an early return. 


But don’t dare come without the lovely Veronica!

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