A Generous Small One
T’is the season to be jolly. And to indulge in an adult beverage or two should you feel so inclined. Keeping with the spirit of the season the Abbey Theatre, along with Agro Grimace, invite you to partake of a generous small one in the shape of “Thirst (and other bits of Flann)” courtesy of Myles na gCopaleen, aka Flann O’Brien. The theatrical equivalent of a good mulled wine, or a twelve year old whiskey accompanied by a perfect pint, “Thirst (and other bits of Flann)” delivers an hour long tipple of near perfection to slake even the strongest theatrical thirst.
Brainchild of the Druid quartet Garrett Lombard, Aaron Monaghan, Rory Nolan and Marty Rea, tall tales become even taller in “Thirst (and other bits of Flann)” where good yarns told by comic characters cast an irresistible spell. A Garda Sergeant expounds on the theory of Molly-cules to explain the abominations that are cyclists, a man with a little time to himself has a close shave trying to remember what day it is, a fire damaged house and two deceased relatives lead to another’s hilarious ruminations. During a late night lock-in in a darkened Dublin pub, all three converge as the Sergeant writes them up for after hours drinking. Yet perhaps barman Ignatious, with a voice as resonant as a bourbon soaked whiskey barrel, telling tales of his military service in the heat soaked desert, might be able to turn their troubles around. For if he can get the Sergeant to fly on two wings, then all four might discover The Rose of Tralee.
Fans of O’Brien, and those coming to him for the first time, will find genuine delight in “Thirst (and other bits of Flann)” in which his short play Thirst is paired to perfection with a selection from his non-theatrical works The Dalkey Archive, Drink and Time in Dublin and The Trade. In a modified Peacock, with most of the seats removed and replaced by rickety chairs and tables, the sense of pub like intimacy is palpable. An uncredited lightening designer, (and director, if there was one) do a remarkable job of capturing the candlelit atmosphere of an old style lock-in. In what are essentially four monologues, with a little interaction in places, Lombard’s Ignatious Coulihan, Monaghan’s mild mannered Peter, Nolan’s bewildered Jem, and Rea’s philosophical Sergeant excel as four mismatched misfits, with the Druid maestros delivering a performance as charming, and as funny, as it is delightful.
With “Thirst (and other bits of Flann)” The Abbey and Agro Grimace have kept a good wine till last. “Thirst (and other bits of Flann)” might not do a lot, yet what it does it does to near perfection. So simple, so easy, and such enjoyable good fun, you simply won’t want to go home. So step in from the rain, or the cold, or the Christmas crowds, and enjoy a quick dram of theatrical pleasure set to warm the heart. Don’t worry. You’ll be out in plenty of time for last orders.
“Thirst (and other bits of Flann)” by Myles na gCopaleen, presented by The Abbey Theatre and Agro Grimace, runs at The Peacock Stage of The Abbey Theatre until January 5.
For more information, visit The Abbey Theatre.