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Radio Rosario – The Mick Lally Theatre, Galway

Writer: Little John Nee

Directors: Laura Sheeran and Little John Nee

Reviewer: Ciara L. Murphy 

“I’m a singer. If I don’t sing, I get sick”.

Valve Hegarty is a singer, he spends his weekends singing cabaret at a bar by the sea in Galway City. He also works, reluctantly, at a studio, creating jingles for advertisements. This is a clear waste of Hegarty’s vast imagination.

The show, performed in full by Little John Nee, is in familiar territory. Nee has had success in the past with his style of storytelling through music and this show is no different. The set, designed by Triona Lillis, hints at a space devoid of era. It could be the 1940s, or it could be the 2040s. Laura Sheeran’s video art and the music and sound design (Sheeran, Nee, and Tommy McLaughlin) add to this sense of timelessness.

Nee himself is full of energy and the language of this production is evocative and poetic. His character, Valve, is likeably odd, an eccentric who has multiple strange adventures throughout this show. One such adventure forms the crux of the tale, a visit to the old Connemara Marconi Wireless Station. On this journey he encounters the ghostly sounds of the past. One of these ghosts is Rosario.

Rosario is a young girl filled with imagination and she uses her (almost magical) radio channel to tell the world everything she knows. These flashes of childlike wonder are mirrored in Nee’s portrayal of the soft-spoken Valve.

As flashes of information signalling the rise of historical fascism also pepper the piece, and giving the audience clues as to where in time the piece currently sits, these whimsical interludes form an interesting juxtaposition. There is an intentional prescience to this piece and Nee tackles it head on, drawing from current world events to accelerate this theme. The piece begs the question, what do you do when even imagination is being commodified?

Nee’s songs are the key to the storytelling, and help to create a fuller picture of this strange and timeless world. Nee also cautions us, encouraging us to learn from the past: “If love is losing what are you going to do? Start hating just so you can be on the winning side?”

Radio Rosario is a play about the power of imagination and the hope that it can bring. A must see.

Runs until 9th September 2017 and from 28th-29th September as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival | Image: Laura Sheeran

Cosy

radio rosario rehearsals begin!

_29A8619Tomorrow on bank-holiday Monday 7th August we begin rehearsals for Radio Rosario at The Mick Lally Theatre. We couldn’t wait till Tuesday…can’t wait till tomorrow. Pure happy.

 

the road to galway…

The Apocalypse came on a Friday and other good news!

cover copypngMost profound apologies to those who might have come looking for news recently…I’ve been off gallivanting with shows…but i have plenty news now to make up for it. In May I was elected to Aosdána. http://aosdana.artscouncil.ie/ . In July my book of haiku “The Apocalypse came on a Friday” arrived from the printers. It can be purchased online from Kennys  http://www.kennys.ie/the-apocalypse-came-on-a-friday.html  and will be launched in Dublin at The Ark on 28th September. The show “Ribbons with Laura Sheeran sold out at the Galway Theatre Festival and we hope to bring it back in 2017.

Summer gallivanting included an exotic odyssey up the Barrow River over three days on a barge as Sparkplug Callaghan and the Spanners of Good Fortune as part of Carlow Arts Festival

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I also had the great honour in July to perform for academics from eighty-four countries at the International Society of Humour Studies Conference in Trinity College Dublin, I was more than chuffed that the 2016 conference week events had the title “The World Brings Fools Together” named after my song from the show commissioned and produced by Barabbas Theatre Co.”Johnny Patterson The Singing Irish Clown”    IMG_7690

I had some especially magical shows with “Small Halls and Potholes” at The Town Hall Studio Galway and at Ennis Arts Festival; this has me hankering for more of the same.

Carlow Arts Festival 2016 photo by Glenn Lucas

Carlow Arts Festival 2016 photo by Glenn Lucas

 

Ribbons

12494915_1075482355807212_3438139662123632225_nThe sun is shining in the West of Ireland and I’m busy working with Laura Sheeran on our new show “Ribbons” which will premiere at the Town Hall Theatre 28th-30th April as part of the Galway Theatre Festival. It is beyond a privilege; it’s pure good fun and creative delight. The show takes as it’s starting point some events from my memoir series and is  supported by an Arts Council Project Award. I hope to post some updates here and share the rehearsal process as we progress, i am full of notions and working with one of the most inspiring artists I know I feel a great show coming on,12814467_1075491745806273_1328078248034254047_n

 

 

on the road 2016

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In the interests of the nation I have decided to make myself available for collaborations, commissions, bookings, gigs, theatre shows, storytelling, spoken word, songwriting, and sound designs, all the time dreaming and working in my own modest way towards making things better.

(photo James Cronin)