Hit play Little Gem for Town Hall

AFTER SELL-out seasons in New York, London, and Paris and a sold-out seven week run at Ireland’s National Theatre and a run at the Olympia, Gúna Nua and Civic Theatre bring the smash-hit bittersweet comedy Little Gem to the Town Hall Theatre on Monday October 18 and Tuesday 19.

Written by Elaine Murphy, Little Gem sees three generations of Dublin women on a wild and constantly surprising journey that takes in love, sex, birth, death, dildos, and salsa classes.

Kay’s got an itch that Gem can’t scratch (but maybe Kermit can ). Lorraine attacks a customer at work and her boss wants her to see a psychiatrist. Amber has bad indigestion and the sambucas aren’t getting rid of it.

Then there’s Paul who is just using Amber until he can get to Australia; the hairy man who fancies Lorraine but fails to rise to the occasion; and of course Gem who doesn’t like the neighbours coming in to ‘mind’ him. If all that wasn’t bad enough, Little Gem makes his presence felt and life is never the same again.

Under the direction of Paul Meade, the cast (Genevieve Hulme Beaman, Anita Reeves, and Neili Conroy ) interweave their characters’ life experiences as they cope with life’s daily pressures and inevitable tragedies, expertly blending slapstick humour and sharp comic timing with strength, courage, and honesty.

Lorraine is played by Neili Conroy, daughter of Brendan.

“Lorraine is the kind of woman who has been through a lot,” Conroy observes of the character. “She’s nervous, likes everything in order and is often hard on herself.”

Of the play as a whole Conroy notes that “it’s beautifully written. Even though it focuses on these three generations of women their menfolk are very present in the story also. It’s uplifting and affirmative. It’s been getting a great response from audiences on this tour.”

Little Gem premiered at the 2008 Dublin Fringe Festival and it was an immediate sell out success. It received the Dublin Fringe Festival/Fishamble Best New Play and Best Female Performance Awards (awarded to the entire cast ) and was subsequently nominated for Best Play and Best Actress (Anita Reeves ) at The Irish Times Theatre Awards.

Little Gem was subsequently awarded the BBC Northern Ireland Drama Award (Stewart Parker Trust Annual Awards ). It premiered in Britain at Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2009 where it was awarded the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award.

On returning to Dublin it won the Best Theatre Script awarded by the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild. Already this year it has enjoyed successful runs in New York, Paris, and London.

Its two nights at the Town Hall seem sure to be a highlight of the present season, if not of the theatre-going year at the venue. Go see.

Tickets are available from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777.

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