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

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