EOIN HANCOCK is lucky to have a girlfriend like Cindy. No matter how angry she gets with him, she sticks around, but he’s quite unlucky to have friends like Bottle, Raymo, and Gonz - the kind of ‘friends’ you would not wish on your worst enemy.
Eoin, and his relationship with Cindy barely survived the lads escapades with drugs and kidnapping in Conor Montague’s hilarious and hugely popular farce Who Needs Enemies? so it is no surprise Eoin and Cindy have revenge on their minds in Who Needs Enemies? II - Nightmare on Henry Street.
Who Needs Enemies? proved to be one of the big theatre hits in Galway over the past 12 months, enjoying three runs in the Town Hall and Nuns Island. Now comes a second instalment of Eoin and Co’s outrageous adventures.
“The show comes from ideas in a novel I wrote but which I want go back and work on,” playwright Conor Montague tells me during our Monday afternoon interview, “and from a comment a friend of mine, who’s very involved in theatre, made after he saw the first show.
“He said he loved the show but that I should ‘never use that word’. I thought it was the ‘C’ word but he was referring to the word rape. ‘That word cannot be used in any context’ he said. I began thinking if there is any context in which it can be used, because otherwise you are creating taboos and giving words and concepts a power they don’t deserve.”
The play begins with a video projection of Eoin’s’ ‘friends’ sitting in The Blue Note discussing a prank they have played. During a trip to Amsterdam the lads got Eoin blasted on acid and then put a used condom in his pocket. When Eoin awakes they tell him he has just been taken advantage of by a mutual gay friend.
Cue the stage action: The story Eoin has been fed has causes him to loose his mojo. This puts stress on his and Cindy’s relationship as she thinks he is no longer attracted to her and Eoin is too embarrassed to tell he what he has been led to believed happened. In order to regain his mojo Eoin takes Viagra and, thanks to Bottle, some industrial strength cocaine.
Now he has a new problem - what once would not go up, cannot come down! Eoin now has to find a way to overcome his priapism before the big Halloween party he and Cindy are about to throw.
“There are some similarities to Who Needs Enemies? I,” says Conor, “but as our director Dara O’Foglú pointed out, the common response from performances in front of test audiences is that Who Needs Enemies? II ‘makes the first one look like serious drama’. It also deals with the post-Viagra revolution where TV ads and medics advise people not to take Viagra with drugs. I don’t think any other play has dealt with these issues before.”
Conor will also appear in the play as Bottle - a drug dealing criminal and dangerous hothead.
“He’s an interesting character and fun to play,” says Conor. “He represents what people abhor in society - violence, criminality, drug use, and deal dealing. He’s not smart but he thinks he is, and he thinks he’s doing something good for people.
“He can react violently but he also has control over himself. People who have seen the play often say ‘I know who Bottle is’. There were types like him in the club scene in the nineties and noughties, everybody ended up with a Bottle who could sort everybody out.”
The response to the first play was “amazing” as Conor notes, and he is hopeful Who Needs Enemies? II will be similarly well received. “We are writing for a sitcom format,” says Conor. “We have commissioning editors coming from Britain and America to watch the show and who are interested in maybe developing it further. We also have interest from the Edinburgh festival.”
Conor is also encouraging audiences to attend in fancy dress as they will be welcome to “participate in the party scene” at the end of the play.
The cast is Mark Dooley (Eoin Hancock ), Ciara Brady (Cindy ), Ray Kelly (Raymo ), John Donnellan (Gonz ) Conor Montague (Bottle ), Dianora Balsimelli (Katerina ), Réidin Ni Thuama (Emma ), Priscilla Nic Chonmara (Grace ), Adrian Kelly (Ronan ), and John Gannon (Ninety-seven Percent ), along with Oisin Robbins, Niamh Shiggins, Richard Walsh, and Tendai Manuel.
Who Needs Enemies? II - Nightmare on Henry Street, part of the Bulmers Galway Comedy Festival and Galway Theatre Festival, will be staged by Vagabond Theatre Company in the Town Hall Theatre on Friday October 28 at 8pm. For tickets contact the Town Hall on 091 - 569777, www.tht.ie, or see www.galwaycomedyfestival.com