Sunday, 7 April 2019

3 Hail Marys: A sensational comedy with a powerful emotional climax that resonates with you long after the final bow!!

A sensational comedy with a powerful emotional climax
 that resonates with you long after the final bow

Saturday night I went along to see 3 Hail Marys, a  play written and produced by Midwest Radio manager Tommy Marren at Aras Inis Gluaire Belmullet. This was the second night of the show and both nights were completely sold out.

3 Hail Marys is set in a nursing home somewhere in Ireland and is centered around Mary O'Toole, Mary O'Neill and Mary O'Brien who suffer from memory loss and have been living together in the nursing home for ten years. They are best friends but now it is time for each of them to go their separate ways as each of them are moving to different  nursing homes in different parts of the country so the play focuses on their final day together as they reminisce on their lives and their time together.

The acting in this play was simply superb. The three Mary's characters were so well written. Each with their own quirky qualities that were brought to life by Mary Marren (Mary O'Toole), Deirdre O'Meara (Mary O'Neil) and Eileen Slevin (Mary O'Brien). You felt a genuine emotional connection to them and their comedic timing was spot on. The plays writer Tommy Marren also starred in it as Dan O'Shea, the owner of the nursing home. There is nothing forced about Tommy's performance, it was very natural. His delivery of the one liners gave you true belly laughs but then in the sadder scenes you felt genuine emotion from him. The role of Rose the volunteer was played by Maura Tansey Healy who was hilarious and also had a beautiful voice as she was the catalyst for many of the sing songs during the show which allowed the audience to join in with many of our old favourites such as Patsy Fagan, Old Flames (Can't Hold a Candle to You), We'll Meet Again and many more. Which reminds me that I must also mention Mary Marren's beautiful rendition of Lady of Knock. And last but not least we had Gerry Carney  and Ollie Rouse who provided fantastic comedy throughout the show.

As someone who works in a nursing home myself I can tell you that Tommy very accurately captured the life of someone living with memory loss and indeed what life is like in a nursing home. As he said himself, it was not his intention for you to laugh AT the 3 Mary's but to laugh WITH them. The comedy was very tastefully handled, I don't think I went 60 seconds without bursting into fits of laughter the whole way through the play. But then we face a very emotional climax which left me in the floods of tears. It was so powerful that I find it very difficult to articulate the strong emotions evoked at the end of that play. If there is any play you go to see this year, it has to be the 3 Hail Mary's.

Tommy Marren and The Crokey Hill Club you have delivered an exceptional play which I for one will never forget!!!! 5/5

Upcoming shows include:

Kilmaine Hall: Friday 12th and Saturday 13th of April

Watergate Theatre Kilkenny: Thursday 18th and Friday 19th of April

Tura Ard, Moate: Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th of May

Olympia Theatre Dublin: Thursday 9th, Friday 10th and Saturday 11th of May

Roscommon Arts Centre: Friday 17th and Saturday 18th of May

Hawkswell Theatre Sligo: Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th of May

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

The Offer Review

I have been following the guys at Cult Screenings UK/Dead Mouse Productions since they set out to make the documentary Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser and Hellbound Hellraiser 2. Since then they have went on to make a documentary on Fright Night and coming soon are docs on Robocop and Stephen Kings IT. The dedication these guys put into their work shows in their superb end results. Not only are they extremely talented but they are passionate horror fans and their heart goes in to each and every project.

So how excited was I to see they were branching out into short films with their new project - Dark Ditties which is an anthology paying homage to timeless classic horror. Episode One is Dark Ditties presents....The Offer, which reunited five stars from the Hellraiser movies and an old larger than life Corrie star that we all remember well.

Nicholas Vince (Hellraiser)
Barbie Wilde (Hellraiser 2)
Simon Bamford (Hellraiser)
Oliver Smith (Hellraiser)
Kenneth Cranham (Hellraiser 2)
Bruce Jones (Coronation Street)
Gemma Gordon
Stanley Rawlings
Darnell Spence

The Offer tells the tail of seven strangers who are invited to a deceased millionaires house to play a game that will leave one of them walking away with ten million dollars but the game is much more sinister than they expected.

From the first scene in the movie when the butler (Oliver Smith aka Frank Cotton - Hellraiser) answers the door to the mansion the tone of the movie is set and you just know that classic horror feel the guys promised was exactly what you were going to get. The cast were not only great but they had a great script to work with. 

The suspense and tension held you gripped to the story throughout and the climax of the movie did not disappoint.  I also have to praise Stuart Conran (Shaun of the Dead) the effects co-ordinator for his practical special effects which produced some gruesome deaths.

A special shout out to my friend Danny Stewart who did a great job as the psychotic gimp. Remind me never to piss you off Dan, lol.

Made in three days on a £15,000 budget, The Offer is the first installment in what I know will be a great anthology and I cannot wait to see the next episode.


Thursday, 15 March 2018

The Crypts Travelgram: Irish Rock N Roll Museum Review

If you have been to Temple Bar in recent years I am sure you have passed by this building pictured above not realising the treasures which await you inside. As well as the museum Temple Lane, Dublin's premiere rehearsal studios are located here which have played host to bands as famous as Def Leppard and U2. These days you could see the likes of Christy Moore, The Coronas or Little Green Cars rocking out in the studio.

This is a relatively new tourist attraction with some fantastic items on display including records, guitars and even Michael Jackon's pyjamas plus fans of U2 will adore the room dedicated to them. The tour guide will tell you unheard stories of the musicians who have played here as you walk in the footsteps of your heroes and I have to say seeing the memorabilia of Thin Lizzy was the icing on the cake for me.

A real fun feature on the tour is when you get to join your own band. Visitors can dress up and play instruments as pictured above. With them all in working order, we rocked out The Clash and it was fantastic to see the talent within our group. You also get to see what it is like to be back stage and on the walls are the rider requests of various bands which are very amusing.

So the next time you are in Temple Bar, make sure you do not miss this experience. If you are a fan of music particularly the amazing talent this country has produced, this is the attraction for you!!

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Primal Rage Review

Director: Patrick McGee
Writers: Jay Lee and Patrick McGee

Starring: Casey Gagliardi, Andrew Joseph Montgomery, Marshall Hilton

A newly reunited couple's drive through the Pacific Northwest turns into a nightmare as they are forced to face natures, unsavory locals and a monstrous creature known to the Native Americans as Oh-Mah.

A Bigfoot movie would not normally be my thing but I have to say this independent film from Patrick McGee ticked all the boxes for me. Firstly, the creature is not a simple minded beast but a rather calculated and viscious monster delivering some fantastic kills in the movie. The practical special effects were very impressive I think even Tom Savini would be impressed.

Primal Rage has a great cast. Gagliardi and Montgomery were very likable with great chemistry and Marshal Hilton stood out as the sinister  B.D. The movie is very atmospheric with great tension built with the help of a perfect score .

And may I just say the witch in the movie is exactly what I pictured an evil witch to look like as a kid.


Friday, 12 January 2018

Scream for Summer Review

Directed and written by Cheyenne Gordon
Starring: Mary Watters, Tyler Riley and Alicia M Clark

In a small Ohio town, a group of friends plan to party the summer away now that school has finally ended but a masked killer has other plans.

This low budget independent horror film comes from first time director Cheyenne Gordon. A love letter to the Slasher movies of the 90's. Cheyenne has written a really good story here with a great killer reveal. The movie is very character based but I feel a bit too much time was spent building on their backstories, I see what Cheyenne was doing, making the audience build an affection for each character so we actually care whether they live or die but it made the film seem a little dragged out.

Mary Watters stood out in her role as Sam Willis. Mary is a very natural actress and nothing seems forced in her performance but I am afraid to say there are a few of the cast that could benefit from some acting classes.

The production company behind the movie is Studio 605 but again I feel they let Cheyenne down with bad sound especially during phone call scenes.

All in all, I really like Cheyenne as a dircetor, writer and actor. And keeping in mind this is his first attempt I look forward to seeing his next project hopefully with a different acting crew.


Monday, 8 January 2018

The Crypt Travelgram: Paddywagon Giants Causeway Tour

Ever since I read the story of Fionn Mac Cumhaill and the Giants Causeway as a little girl it has always been an item on my Bucket List and I could not have picked a better tour company to go with.

Our day started early at 7.20am with our pick up at the Discover Ireland Office on O'Connell Street. Our bus driver was called 'Val' and believe me when I say this guy should be on stage Live at the Apollo. He was absolutely hilarious. From the minute our journey started Val was full of informative information, hilarious stories and he made all of us on the bus feel like one big happy family.

Our first stop was The Dark Hedges which we all know as Kings Road from the hit TV show Game of Thrones. This was a great photo opportunity being on a real life TV set. Interestingly enough these hedges were planted by the Stuart family in the 18th Century to impress guests upon arrival to their house.

As we traveled along the Causeway Coast Val explained that the piece of land we could spy across the sea was infact the coastline of Scotland, a mere 13 miles away. This is infact one of the most visited destinations in Europe.

Next up was Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge. The scenery here is spectacular. If you wish to cross the rope bridge there is a small fee which goes towards to the up keep of the bridge. Unfortunately the bridge was closed for maintenance so we did not get to cross it but thoroughly enjoyed the scenery and tea rooms.

Next stop was the main attraction, The Giants Causeway. A truly impressive site of perfectly shaped hexagonal columns. There is a visitors centre at the Causeway which is included in your tour price. You can then take a leisurely walk to the Causeway or avail of the bus available to bring you to and from the visitor center which is only one pound. The walk down to the Causeway was spectacular with amazing scenery and when we reached the Causeway it was truly amazing and I could not believe I was finally seeing it!!! 

After the Causeway we had another photo stop at Dunluce Castle which has such a tragic history. The castle hangs over the edge of a cliff and in the 1600's part of the castle fell into the sea killing some of its servants. The spirits of these servants are said to haunt the castle. A perfect little story to bring back for The Crypt.

On our way back to Dublin we had a one hour stop in Belfast City. This was amazing because lucky for us it was the first night of the Christmas Markets. With beautiful lights and that festive feeling, this rounded off our day trip perfectly.

We were back in Dublin by 8.30pm after one of the most enjoyable tours ever. At 7.20 that morning we got on the bus a group of strangers and left a group of friends. Paddywagon Tours are the 2018  winners of The Fleet Bus and Coach Awards and one can see why. With a very comfortable coach, superb Tour Guide and extremely punctual itinerary, I will certainly be going on another Paddywagon Tour in 2018.


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Rock Paper Dead Review

Director: Tom Holland
Writers: Victor Miller & Kerry Fleming
Starring: Michael Madsen, Ari Lehman, Tatum O'Neil, Luke MacFarlane & Jennifer Titus

When you are sent a movie to review from the makers of Friday the 13th, Child's Play and Fright Night, you just know your in for an 80's nostalgic treat and Rock Paper Dead did not disappoint. 

The movie tells the story of Peter 'The Doll Maker' Harris, a serial killer who after ten years has been released from the state hospital for the criminally insane. Peter insisted that his twin brother had made him commit his crimes but there is no record of this person ever existing. Peter finally admits he never had a brother and his psycho therapist believes he is now 'cured'. When Peter moves back into his ancestral home the anguish of his childhood is revealed to us through flashbacks and ghostly visitations. Enter Ashley, Peters new neighbour who awakens old desires and a new game of Rock, Paper, Dead.

This movie is the first in a new horror trilogy and it pays homage to all the great senior legends in the genre who opened the door for so many film makers in horror. You will have fun picking out all the nods to so many of the great horror movies of the 80's.

I was so impressed with John Dugan's performance as Peter's sick paedophile Uncle Charles. He completely creeped me out and truly conveyed the mental instability of the character. Also Luke MacFarlane was superb as the deranged 'Doll Maker.'

Rock Paper Dead is reminiscent of Psycho 2. Peter is a Norman Bates character and you are left second guessing throughout the film. Also if you are just into horrors for the jump scares that is not what this movie focuses on, it is more focused on the story telling and the psychological conditions of its characters. 

This movie definitely comes recommended by The Crypt and how awesome is it to see the great Tom Holland in the directors chair.