She’s been known for entertaining Derry with her sharp witted observations down through the years, and now local playwright Irene Melaugh is back with one of her old favourites.
Presented by Greater Shantallow Community Arts ‘The Aul Fella’ opens in Derry’s Playhouse on Thursday November 20th and is set to have audiences rolling in the aisles.
The hit comedy will run for three consecutive nights.
“This is classic 1950’s Derry and it will be a very familiar story to a lot of people,” says Irene, who used her late grandfather Francie Brandon as her inspiration for the play.
“It is the late 1950’s and life is not easy for the five members of the McLaughlin family, plus their very old and senile lodger Polly. Lilly Mc Laughlin spends her time trying to work miracles with her husband Vincent’s meagre weekly wage, but no matter how hard she tries to stretch the money she always ends up short.
“Her hands are full with Polly who is constantly wondering off looking for the bus to Dublin. But the biggest thorn in her side is her father Foncie, [The Aul Fella] who is a part time street trader, a full time drunk, with a Midas touch when it comes to selling rotten apples and dodgy Herring.”
Bernadette McFarland is playing the long suffering Lily for the second time, and is loving every minute of her time on stage.
“I just love this play and there are situations there that I think a lot of Derry women will identify with!” she says. “The cast all know one another and the atmosphere on set is great. It’s a real family atmosphere and we all love bringing the characters to life.”
Local actress Lynn McCarron agrees. “I play Lals, Lily’s friend and they tend to talk to one another and confide in one another. Lals’ husband went to England to get a job and earn money but he ends up spending that money on himself and Lals gets very little.”
Writer Irene Melaugh says the story has all the humour we’ve come to expect from the well known local writer but emphasised that there are also more contemplative moments.
“It is deep in places too and I think it’ll make people think,” she says. “There’s a tragic element to the story as well as all the comedy but I think anyone who comes to it will be entertained by what they see. There’s a lot happening on that stage!”
The Aul Fella opens at the Playhouse on Thursday November 20th and will also run on Friday evening and Sunday evening. For more information telephone 02871 268027.