Charles Dickens’ festive classic, A Christmas Carol returns to the Town Hall Theatre next Monday and Tuesday night in a one-man show, adapted and performed by English actor Clive Francis.
This show received standing ovations at the venue when it played there last December as part of a 12-date tour of Ireland. It’s being brought back by Wicklow-born producer and actor Conor Sheridan, who trained in London where he is currently based.
He first saw Clive – a well-established actor, who has worked with companies from the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre and regularly features in West End productions – in this show three years ago and describes it as “the most wonderful 70 minutes I have ever spent in a theatre”.
“It was also the first time I got to grips with the [Christmas Carol] story, which is really about the human condition and human redemption and getting someone to look at themselves,” Conor observes. “You can’t watch Clive in A Christmas Carol and not see something of yourself.”
Clive Francis first crossed paths with Dickens’ renowned skinflint, Ebenezer Scrooge while playing the role in Ian Judge’s acclaimed Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of A Christmas Carol at London’s Barbican Theatre in 1994 and 1995.
The RADA trained actor, who made his West End debut in 1966 opposite Donald Sinden in There’s A Girl in My Soup at the Globe Theatre loved the part. After it ended and inspired by Dickens’ first performance of A Christmas Carol in Birmingham Town Hall in December 1853, Clive created his own one-man show. He is the first actor since Dickens to give a one-man performance at Birmingham Town Hall, where his production has become an annual event and attracts a huge audience.
Clive narrates the Christmas Carol story and also plays every notable character in the piece, which was originally written by Dickens to make people aware of the scandalous conditions children were suffering in factories and mines around Britain, many of them working as much as 18 hours a day for barely the price of a loaf of bread..
When Conor first saw Clive perform it, he felt it would be a perfect touring show. This year it’s been in London, Bath’s Theatre Royal and of course, Birmingham, where it was attended by over 1,000 people. Now it’s back in Ireland.
“It’s a great piece of theatre. It’s simple and dramatic and I remarked that maybe should do something more with it. Suddenly we were putting a tour together.”
The show has gone down really well in Ireland, partly because Irish people love descriptive writing and that’s something Dickens is an expert at, Conor feels.
“With this show, you get both dialogue and description. And Clive’s eloquent style of performance means he is suited to that kind of period drama.”
• Tickets for A Christmas Carol cost €20 / €16 or €60 for a family ticket (for four people) and can be booked at 091-569777, tht.ie or at 091-569777.
Maeve named as Film Fleadh programmer
Limerick woman Maeve McGrath has been named as the new Director of Programming for Galway Film Fleadh, taking over from Will Fitzgerald. She will be responsible for curating this year’s festival, which will run from July 11-16.
She previously worked as artistic director of Kerry International Film Festival, producer at Carlow Arts Festival and joint short film programmer at Dublin International Film Festival.
Maeve is involved with Limerick’s artist-led, community-focused facility, The GAFF where she recently curated a community audio/visual project, Tiny Little Histories, and produced TravFest, a Traveller wellness festival as part of Guth na Mincéirí.
She has a Master’s in Media Studies from Limerick’s Mary I/UL, graduating in 2015 with the thesis, Irish Short Film: The Road To Oscar.
“The Fleadh has a very special place on the film festival circuit, nationally and internationally, and I am delighted to be part of the team that will programme the 35th edition,” she stated.
“I forward to being part of the continued growth of the Galway Film Fleadh and supporting the development of emerging and established filmmakers.”
Mystery of Wolfe Tone’s death
Historical entertainer Paddy Cullivan will be at the Town Hall Theatre on Thursday next, February 2, with The Murder of Wolfe Tone, the incredible story of the mysterious death of Theobald Wolfe Tone, leader of the 1798 Rebellion and the man who is regarded as the founding father of Irish republicanism.
In this audio-visual show featuring hundreds of images, shocking new research and a vast array of songs, Paddy works to unravel the secrets and lies around what happened that fateful week in Dublin’s Provost’s Prison in November 1798 when 35-year-old Tone was found dead in his cell.
Tickets for The Murder of Wolfe Tone, which starts at 8pm are €20/18, plus a €1 booking charge. They are available at tht.ie, 091-569777 and at the Town Hall Theatre Box Office.
Funnyman Neil brings latest show to Athenry
Comedian Neil Delamere will bring his new show, Delamerium, to the Raheen Woods Hotel in Athenry on Saturday, February 18.
Audiences can expect hilarious stories, wry observations and quick-witted improvisation as Neil tries to makes sense of the world around him.
Neil is one of the top acts working in the Irish comedy scene today, well-known to audiences for his regular television appearances on RTÉ and BBC, as well as his hilarious sell-out stand up tours.
His shows have received stellar reviews and resulted in several platinum-selling DVDs, while Neil has also written and presented comedy documentaries including programmes on the Vikings and St Patrick which won IFTA and Celtic Media awards.
He also presented a series on heroes from Ireland’s past, Holding out for a Hero, on RTÉ 2.
He’s a regular on BBC Northern Ireland’s popular panel show, The Blame Game, as well as being a panellist on BBC 5 Live’s Fighting Talk and has featured on BBC 4’s The News Quiz.
According to the Irish Times, ‘no TV camera could accurately measure the lightning speed of Delamere’s wit’, while the Scotsman awarded him five stars during an appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe, stating: ‘You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more gifted comic at the Fringe.’
He continues to tour at home and abroad and audiences can catch his latest show, Delamerium, on February 18 in Athenry.
Tickets for Delamerium are available from the hotel or at ticketsolve.ie