Poignant drama comes to Athlone Little Theatre

Fiona Bracken, Ronan Flynn, Emma Cooke, Michele O'Brien and Pat Canty

Fiona Bracken, Ronan Flynn, Emma Cooke, Michele O'Brien and Pat Canty

Athlone Little Theatre starts the year off with a captivating portrayal of fluctuating family relationships, in their production of Niall Williams' The Way You Look Tonight.

Running from Friday, February 23, for eight nights, this poignant drama is a testimony to the power of memory and emotion.

The disconnection of the old manual telephone exchange in a rural post office in West Clare triggers a cascade of emotional recollections for postmaster Jim and his invalid wife, Katherine. Former amateur ballroom dancers, the couple struggle to reconcile the past and the present, as echoes of their relationships with their three children resurface.

All three have left home to travel different paths, and yet the family bonds connecting them since childhood continue to tether them to their parents, maintained through love, guilt and shared memories.

Love is the driving force for this powerful storyline, alternating as it does between the inescapable realities of today and the dreams of yesterday. Director Chrissie Killian has really brought to life Niall Williams' exploration into how relationships between parents, children and siblings develop and deteriorate over a lifetime.

The charismatic Pat Canty, unforgettable in the Little Theatre's production of John B Keane's The Chastitute, takes on the part of postmaster Jim Dooley, while the challenging role of his wife Katherine is sensitively portrayed by Michelle O'Brien, familiar to many from Moate and Mount Temple productions.

Ronan Flynn, equally memorable in The Lying Kind as a bumbling policeman, takes on the very different role of Francis, the Dooleys' son. Their elder daughter Ger is ably played by Fiona Bracken and their younger daughter Nora, by the fresh-faced talent of Emma Cooke. As the story evolves, all three effect a seamless transformation into their childhood selves.

Atmospheric lighting and sound plans have been devised by Paddy Martin, and will be operated by John Allen.

Set design and construction is headed up by Paddy Martin and Clive Darling, and the smooth behind-the-scenes management will be handled by the experienced team of Mildred Henehan and Aideen Harkins.

The Way You Look Tonight, directed by Chrissie Killian, will run nightly at 8pm from Friday, February 23, to Friday, March 2, at Athlone Little Theatre, St Mary's Place, Athlone.

For online bookings see www.athlonelittletheatre.ie or phone (090 ) 6474324.

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