Festive farce brings surreal humour to Athlone Little Theatre

Anne Hoey as Gronya in no mood to argue with cops Gobbel (Ronan Flynn) and Blunt (Martin Kelleher)

Anne Hoey as Gronya in no mood to argue with cops Gobbel (Ronan Flynn) and Blunt (Martin Kelleher)

If dank February nights make you yearn for the madness that was the festive season, it’s time to book your seat for Athlone Little Theatre’s production of The Lying Kind, by Anthony Neilson. This nightmare of a rollercoaster ride will grab you by the throat and shake out any remaining Christmas nostalgia, while at the same time making you groan with laughter.

First staged in 2002, Neilson’s “gleefully escalating farce” features a cast hell-bent on misunderstanding one another, spearheaded by the soft-hearted and soft-headed police constables Blunt and Gobbel (played to pitch-perfection by the sublime Martin Kelleher and Ronan Flynn ). The unlucky pairing have one last duty to fulfil before they finish their Christmas Eve shift: to tell the old couple at No. 58 some terrible news. What if the shock is too much for these elderly parents? Maybe, the policemen reason, they’d be happier not knowing at all.

If this task wasn’t onerous enough, it is made far worse by the unrelenting attention of vigilante Gronya (the ever-versatile Anne Hoey ), heading the dangerous lynch mob PAPS (Parents Against Paedophile Scum ).

Confusion mounts as uncomprehending parents, superbly cast stalwarts of the Little Theatre, Clive Darling and Anne Blackie, create their own drama, as the one sports a weak heart, and the other a weak constitution...

Add to this the essential elements of a farce, a man of the cloth (Paul Holloway ) and a young girl (Aleksandra Milenovic ) and the stage is set for an eye-watering climax. Not least for the poor innocent chihuahua....

The challenging task of direction of this madcap affair is thankfully under the experienced watch of Paddy Martin. As you would expect of the Little Theatre, the set is second to none in its construction and attention to detail, courtesy of Paddy himself, and Clive Darling.

Technical management is in the superior hands of Anthony Quinn, and the unenviable job of keeping the cast under control backstage has fallen to Bronagh Connolly and Deirdre Verney.

The Lying Kind will run nightly at 8pm from Friday, February 24 - Friday, March 3 at Athlone Little Theatre, St Mary’s Place, Athlone. For online bookings see www.athlonelittletheatre.ie or phone (090 ) 6474324.

Please note there are adult themes and language in this production.

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