Rogues & Vagabonds

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…

Archive Theatre Review • THE HISTORY OF THE TROUBLES (accordin’ to My Da) • Tricycle Theatre • 2003

Tricycle Theatre, Kilburn, London, UK.

Tricycle Theatre, Kilburn, London, UK. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes new plays have a knack of coming along at just the right time. This new play from Belfast is a real shot in the arm for the peace process. It is honest enough to pin its colours to the mast with a portrait of Bobby Sands centre stage, but the photographic images of ordinary folk in Northern Ireland that hang from the ceiling like shrines are eloquent in their silence, evocative of hope. Let’s be clear, this drama is timely because it has no axe to grind. That’s ultimately what drives this play along and keeps it sane. The characters are quite a law unto themselves, mind you. And the jokes sometimes fly around like spent cartridges from a gun. But then, this is Belfast. Anything can happen. Peace might even break out. It probably has. And if this play suffers in any way from its highly condensed chronology of events, it is no less valid for the ambition than anyone else’s subjective account of the past.

The History of the Troubles (accordin’ to My Da), has proved to be a big hit in Ireland, selling out at the box office wherever it has been performed. One of the authors of this collaboration, Martin Lynch, has admitted that he isn’t sure how well the play will travel. The humour is fairly localised to Belfast. When it played in Dublin, for example, he reckons it lost around 5 per cent of its laughs. Now it’s in London for the very first time and well and truly playing for 100 per cent.

Written by Martin Lynch, Conor Grimes and Alan McKee, it centres round the life of a man called Gerry Courtney. Gerry (played by Ivan Little) is an ordinary, likeable, reflective Belfast man, a Rolling Stones fan and father-to-be, who gets caught up in the mayhem of the Troubles — just like everyone else he comes into contact with. It’s unavoidable. Just part and parcel of life in Belfast. The play opens on August 14th 1969 with Gerry very much on edge in the Royal Victoria Hospital awaiting the birth of his first child. Belfast is starting to erupt in violence around him. His troubles, and everyone else’s troubles, have just started.

We follow Gerry through every major twist and turn of Northern Ireland’s recent history, from the Civil Rights Marches of the late 60s, through internment, Bloody Sunday, the Loyalist Workers’ Strike, the Republican hunger strikes, the visit of Bill Clinton, through to the cease-fires of today. We watch Gerry grow older and wiser before us, struggling to retain his sanity amid 34 years of intermittent strife. ‘Gerry, d’ya think yir haemorrhoids are connected to the Troubles?’ asks one of the characters with utter seriousness. You don’t exactly need a pretext here to laugh.

One of the outstanding messages of this play is that for as long as you’re alive and well and clued into the fact that other people will be different from you, and if you retain your sense of humour, there’s a fair chance that you’ll keep yourself intact. That said, the play never flinches from what’s happening on the streets, brilliantly implied at times with clever mime. But in the final analysis it’s the dialogue that pulls the whole piece off. Gerry has a brother and a bunch of Belfast mates and a motley crew of larger-than-life acquaintances (played by Alan McKee and Conor Grimes). Their madcap interaction is sometimes hilarious. It’s the single vital element that somehow keeps them sane.

The character of Fireball (the hospital porter) is brilliantly brought to life by Conor Grimes, while Felix (the neighbour), Goon (the prisoner) and Maggie (the hijacker) allow Alan McKee to excel in keeping the audience on its toes. Ivan Little holds the bulk of the action together with a finely tuned, restrained performance portraying the development of Gerry through his periods of bewilderment in the 1970s through to his optimism and faith of the present day. Director Karl Wallace’s visualisation brims with energy for the entire 90 minutes while the choreography of the action here is seamless.

Ian Lees © June 2003

The History of the Troubles (accordin’ to My Da) opened at the Tricycle Theatre, Kilburn, London on 03-06-03 and continued until 28-603.

Originally published 06-06-03

One comment on “Archive Theatre Review • THE HISTORY OF THE TROUBLES (accordin’ to My Da) • Tricycle Theatre • 2003

  1. Pingback: Archive Theatre Review • THE HISTORY OF THE TROUBLES (accordin’ to My Da) • Tricycle Theatre • 2003 #Repost | Rogues & Vagabonds

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Enogastronomista

Food & Wine

Coffee fuels my photography!

~ my everyday life through the lens of my camera ~

Polly's Paper Studio

Vintage Inspired Paper Crafts & Digital Design

Life on La Lune

A journey through life in Southwest France

Vanessa Couchman

Historical Fiction with a French Flavour

Disability & Determination

It isn't being John Malkovich, but it is being me

Nicholas Andriani

Writer + Poet + Mythologist + Translator: Researching East Asian Literature, Folklore, Storytelling, Narrative Design, Game Studies & Pop Culture Studies.

Joe Ruggiero at Home

Daily Reflections from My Home and Garden

Mitch Teemley

The Power of Story

Genealogy Jude

Unlocking the Door to Your Past

COOKING ON A BOOTSTRAP

by Jack Monroe, bestselling author of 'A Girl Called Jack'

Stevie Turner

Realist, writer, reader, reviewer and rocker.

The Stuff They Won't Include in Any Tourist Guide: The Real England

The Real England is a concise, direct, and not-so-gentle window into the depths of the leftovers of the world’s once greatest empire. It is told from the perspective of one lone (or not so lone) long term visitor. It informs one of the dregs of the country and helps to explain quaint British oddities such as the crack addicted chav.

Postcards from

home and away...

S.O.U.L. S-P-A-C-E

Artists, Writers and Visionaries Blog on the Unique and Ordinary

The Lady Sews

Collected works and other excuses from a textile obssessive

coelsblog

Defending Scientism

@KellyOSullivan

has random thoughts

Criminal Historian

Working with dead people

JEMSBOOKS

Writing - Loving What I Do and Doing What I Love!

Noir

the darker side to sedge808

Off Center & Not Even

Photographs, music and writing about daily life. Contact: elcheo@swcp.com

Reina Cottier Art

Creative Intuitive from New Zealand

Tenafly Road

Family Saga Fiction by Adrienne Morris

johnrieber

Burgers, Books, Music, Movies, Offbeat Adventures & Pop Culture!

Etan Smallman

Freelance journalist

Assemblage Art

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013...

Candia Comes Clean

Candid cultural comments from the Isles of Wonder

blackwings666

Horror, Science Fiction, Comic Books and More

The Wandering Empath

Traveling the World Through Others

I didn't have my glasses on....

A trip through life with fingers crossed and eternal optimism.

penwithlit

Art, Literature, Poetry, Politics and a little History

Jet Eliot

Travel and Wildlife Adventures

Judith Barrow

Writer & Author

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Tropical Affair

Observations of the illusion through the eyes of wonder...

Doodlewash®

Adventures in Watercolor Painting and Sketching, Watercolour Magazine, with Charlie O'Shields

Luanne Castle's Writer Site

Memoir, poetry, & writing theory

Life in Russia

The Bridge between two countries

London Life With Liz

A lifestyle blog with a little bit of everything.

Brotherly Love

A personal exploration of autism from a brother’s perspective, including family relationships, philosophy, neuroscience, mental health history and ethics

Alex Raphael

Entertainment, travel and lifestyle blog

%d bloggers like this: