Irish premiere of Outside Mullingar set for Athlone Little Theatre

"Outside Mullingar" features (back l-r) cast members Clive Darling, director Geoff Boles, and Martin Kelleher; (front l-r) Lisa Nugent and Laura Townsend

"Outside Mullingar" features (back l-r) cast members Clive Darling, director Geoff Boles, and Martin Kelleher; (front l-r) Lisa Nugent and Laura Townsend

The national premiere of Outside Mullingar, by Irish-American John Patrick Shanley will take place in Athlone Little Theatre on Sunday May 22, and will run until the following Saturday, May 28.

Shanley is the author of more than 23 plays, translated and performed around the world, including Doubt: A Parable which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as the 2005 Tony Award for Best Play. Doubt: A Parable was performed at Athlone Little Theatre in 2011, when it was directed by Mel O'Flynn.

John Patrick Shanley was born into an Irish-American family in New York City and has had a successful career as a playwright, screenwriter, and theatre and film director. His play Outside Mullingar, opened on Broadway in January 2014 .

According to Charles Isherwood, in his review for The New York Times, "Outside Mullingar... represents Mr Shanley’s finest work since Doubt... Mr Shanley’s lyrical writing, and the flawless production... give such consistent pleasure that even though we know the equations that define romcoms will add up to the familiar sums, we are happy to watch as they do."

Following a visit to his actual family homeplace in rural Killucan, outside Mullingar, the author tells the story of Anthony Reilly and Rosemary Muldoon, who have grown up next to each other on two farms. Rosemary fell in love with Anthony at the age of six, and is convinced that he will eventually come to her. Anthony had his heart broken as a young man, and hasn’t dared open it to another woman since.

Thirty years later, the two of them are still living next to each other, instead of together. With the shadow of a seemingly small land feud hanging over the two families and Anthony’s father threatening to disinherit him, it seems unlikely that romance will ever happen. Will Rosemary’s determination be enough to find happiness for two unlikely souls? Perhaps the catalyst for a major shift in relations is the recent passing of Rosemary’s father Christy, and her mother Aoife’s obvious poor health.

Geoff Boles makes his directorial debut with the Irish premiere of this charming romantic comedy. He has assembled a sterling cast in the shape of the talented Laura Townsend, engaging Lisa Nugent, the ever-watchable Martin Kelleher and stalwart of many a theatre production, Clive Darling.

Outside Mullingar will run nightly at 8pm from May 22 to 28 at Athlone Little Theatre, St Mary's Place, Athlone. For online bookings see www.athlonelittletheatre.ie or phone (090 ) 6474324 to reserve a seat.

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