Getting a laugh from the business of death

Keith Singleton and Niamh McGrath, who star in Looking Deadly.
Keith Singleton and Niamh McGrath, who star in Looking Deadly.

There’s a particularly witty scene in Looking Deadly where the two actors play a pair of old lads in their 80s, who are – slightly inappropriately – vying for the attention of the widow at a funeral.

“Everyone recognises them straight away as the two old guys that could be sitting at any old bar, in any part of Ireland, and it’s their observations on the funeral and the widow, and trying to ‘get in there’ before the other fella does,” says Niamh McGrath.

A Galway Youth Theatre graduate, she wrote, produced and performed this two-person dark comedic play with Keith Singleton, and it is their favourite scene.

“Other favourite characters are two D4 girls, Síofra and Saoirse, down from Dublin. They’re two nieces and they’re looking for the will. They’re wondering when the will is going to be read, and they’re out for what they can get.

“There is a contrast. The old boys are real West of Ireland characters and the two girls are all posh. One tries to shift her cousin as well. There’s a really good fight scene, where all the characters come together in a big huge splurge in the middle of the play.

“It’s set in a very rural town in the West of Ireland. At the heart of it is a very well loved man dying and it’s just all the characters who would be at a wake and everything that happens.

“It’s also about two rival funeral directors, one cheap one, and one traditional one. They are both vying for business in the town and the deaths of course. That’s where all the comedy and drama comes out of it,” she says.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.