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Armagh Theatre Group stage ‘Our Lady of Sligo’ in Abbey Lane Theatre

Armagh Theatre Group’s Autumn production is “Our Lady of Sligo” by Sebastian Barry.

This challenging production is being brought to the stage of their own Abbey Lane Theatre, Armagh, on successive weekends – Friday 21st & Saturday 22nd and Friday 28th & Saturday 29th November 2014 at 8pm.

Our Lady of Sligo is about a woman dying of cancer, but, don’t let that stop you from seeing it.With a remarkable performance by Bridie Heaney and a lyrical script by Sebastian Barry, this is a production not to be missed.

Despite the inevitable ending, Ms. Heaney and Mr. Barry take us beyond the confines of the hospital room setting and bring humour to heartbreak. Her performance, which doesn’t miss a note on the emotional scale, and Barry’s play, with its intersecting family and national history, are as good as any that have come our way in a long time. Seeing it performed in our own small theatre will draw you in more as participant than observer

The play is essentially a series of bedside encounters between Mai O’Hara (Bridie Heaney), her husband Jack (Conor Greenan), her daughter Joanie (Marie Claire Guy), her beloved Dada (Peter Kelly – whose forehead was “the map of Australia), a loving cousin, Maria (Goretti Moore) and a nurse (Mary McKenna). Some take place in the present (1953), some are dreamlike sequences from the past.

The back and forth shift between present and morphine-induced memories make for a full portrait of Mai, with Bridie effortlessly shifting between the pallid-faced, pain-wracked patient to the lively Galway College student who was the first woman on campus to wear trousers.

Fuelled by alcohol, passion and despair it is the story of her flamboyant but destructive relationship with Jack.   We feel her pain and laugh at her wry humour (“I’m sick of this dying; it’s no fun”). Here we have a story about dying that is all about life, and a story about politics that is all about individual people.

This production will, without fail, appeal to a wide audience but it does contain some strong language and contains adult themes not suitable for children.

Tickets are £10, including glass of wine, and are only available from Music World, Abbey Lane, Armagh 02837527882 (Shop hours Tues – Sat).

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