Calling all Downton Abbey lovers

Athlone Little Theatre’s latest production is the wonderfully lavish period drama The Heiress.

For all lovers of the TV series Downton Abbey this is a must see play.

The Heiress will take to stage in the newly refurbished theatre on October 11 for an eight night run. Set in New York in the late 1800s, the play by Ruth and Augustus Goetz has all the pomp, costume, and drama of the Grantham story with an American twist.

Adapted from Henry James’ Washington Square, The Heiress tells the story of Catherine Sloper, an awkward and shy woman who lives with her domineering father, Dr Austin Sloper. By all accounts Catherine’s mother was a beautiful and graceful creature with royal charm, however Catherine never knew her mother, who died during Catherine’s birth, leaving Austin Sloper devastated.

Catherine can never live up to her mother in his eyes, and he frequently reminds her of her shortcomings. On her mother’s passing Catherine became heiress to a fortune and is set to more than double that inheritance when her father dies. Enter Morris Townsend, a handsome and well-bred pauper with a penchant for the finer things in life. When Morris starts courting Catherine, Dr Sloper grows suspicious he is only after her money. After all, what could he possibly see in her apart from dollar signs? When Catherine refuses to give up her new love, her father threatens to disinherit her. Will he convince her to look elsewhere for a husband? Will she elope with Townsend? Or will she refuse both men in her life?

Certainly, no stone shall be left unturned with Mel O’Flynn at the helm. With over 100 plays under her belt as an actor and director, Mel plans on making this the jewel in her crown. With the skilled assistance of Harry Smith, she is putting a huge amount of work into the set in the newly extended and renovated theatre, and the costumes and antique props are being sought countrywide by Geoff Boles.

Mel has also thought carefully on cast, shrewdly placing Maria Griffin in the lead role of Catherine Sloper. Catherine’s father will be played by Richard Brennan. Bringing a shade of humour to the piece will be Annette Dowling, and rounding off the main characters will be Rob Ross.

This is one not to be missed and runs from October 11-18.

For more information call (090 ) 6474324.

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