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One-man show celebrates legendary Oliver Reed

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It’s hard to argue with Rob Crouch’s assessment that the late actor, Oliver Reed, was no ordinary drunkard.

A movie star before there really was such a thing, Reed, who died in 1999, was perhaps best known for wrestling naked with Alan Bates in the 1969 film, Women in Love, and best loved for his portrayal of burglar Bill Sykes in Carol Reed’s film Oliver!

Renowned as much for his binge drinking and drunken antics as he was for his acting, the legendary Reed once boasted of drinking over 100 pints of beer on a two-day bender before his wedding. He is also said to have once consumed four cases of wine at one sitting, followed by a bottle of Channel No 5 perfume as a chaser. No – no ordinary drunk.

It’s unsurprising that a monologue play about Reed’s life, then, is set in a pub. Oliver Reed – Wild Thing is set in a watering hole in Malta, in 1999, the year he died while filming Gladiator, and Crouch, who plays Reed, is holding court, sinking pints and regaling the other patrons (the audience) with tales of his life.

Sure couldn’t we just go to any Galway pub to find a drunk reminiscing on old times? Crouch, co-author (with Mike Davis) and performer of the one-man show, agrees but says Reed’s life was like no other. “He wasn’t just any old pisshead that you’d meet down the pub who’d tell you their life story – he was a world-class pisshead,” says Crouch, adding that Reed mingled with the likes of Orson Wells, Lee Marvin and Alex Higgins.

Is there a danger of glorifying drink?

“It’s something we had to be wary of, certainly,” he says. “But the whole pisshead thing is slightly exaggerated. That was one of the many roles he played. He’d get tanked up and created mischief on TV chat shows but that was just one part of him . . . a lot of it was about selling newspapers and he played up to that but he wasn’t always drunk.”

Anyway, says Crouch, Reed was a ‘sociable drunk’.

“He didn’t need a whiskey on his cornflakes before leaving the house – he was sociable. He was happiest when he was drinking and it perhaps glorifies drinking but he was not necessarily happiest when drunk, if you get the distinction? It glamorises it if that’s what you want but you’ll see what drink did to him.”

It’s difficult being alone on stage and holding the audience’s attention for 90 minutes, says Crouch, but given the rave reviews the show has received since opening in the Edinburgh Fringe last year, he nails it.
“It is a real challenge” because he has to interchange into so many different characters, from early Reed, to actor Reed, to sober Reed, to drunk Reed.

Reed’s son, Mark, has seen the show, and it was a bit scary for Crouch, the first time he came. “The way I approached it was it’s just another character and I didn’t really think of [Reed] as a real person . . . but then it hit me he had family and friends who are still alive who love him.”

Mark Reed was “very pleased” with the show, finding it an “accurate and honest portrayal of the sort of complex person he was”. What better a recommendation?

Oliver Reed – Wild Thing visits the Town Hall Theatre next Thursday, May 2 at 8pm as part of a 21-night Irish tour. Tickets are €18/€16 from www.tht.ie or (091) 569777.

 

CITY TRIBUNE

Work for children of all ages in extended Baboró programme

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Grand Soft Day, a new co-production from Branar is for children aged three to six.

The 26th annual Baboró International Arts Festival for Children will take place from Friday, October 14, to Sunday, October 23, in theatres, galleries, schools and communities in Galway City and County.

This year’s extended 10-day festival will have more than 50 live events, presented by companies from all over Ireland and Europe, including Belgium, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Scotland and England.

These will include a special collection of European work made for children up to six years, as well as residencies in special schools and child-led projects.

Children aged eight and older are invited to join the surreal world of Der Lauf, where nothing is quite as it seems. In this show, two circus performers from Belgian company Le Cirque du Bout du Monde, compete in a series of bizarre challenges as they juggle blindly, spin plates and stack glasses, while wearing boxing gloves. As the glasses rise, so do the stakes. The children are their only guides and will either help lead the clowns to order or towards further chaos.

Ballet Ireland will present The Glasshouse, a dance performance for children aged six and older. It is the story of Fiach, an earnest youngster who is on a mission to repopulate the world with plants and turn it green. This fun, compelling show, by exciting young choreographer Róisín Whelan, is about human courage, friendship and the determination to survive. The Glasshouse promises “moments of suspense and joy, exhilarating dancing, vibrant costumes and magical music”.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

A feast of Butlers at the Kenny Gallery

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The Butler family, from left: Liam, Ronan, Lisa and Davin.

Sculptor Liam Butler will return to the City’s Kenny Gallery this Friday night, August 12, for his first exhibition in more than 10 years. The new show, Copper Roots, is an even more special occasion for Liam as it will be his first time exhibiting alongside his children, Davin, Lisa and Ronan.

Liam is a self-taught sculptor who has been creating and exhibiting work for almost 30 years. He has passed on his craft to Davin, Lisa and Ronan, teaching them the techniques he developed throughout his career, as well as his love for copper and its artistic possibilities.

In 2020, during Covid, the Butlers were all together, back home in Galway for the first time in many years. They rekindled their passion for sculpture, spending time in Liam’s workshop, creating   new work, alongside each another.

There was learning, creativity and experimentation, they say. The resulting exhibition at Kennys’ celebrates reconnecting with family roots, and passions passed on from generation to generation.

A welder by training, Liam grew up on a small farm in Kilkenny. He worked in Germany and America for years before returning to Ireland, settling in An Spidéal where he began experimenting, using the skills he learned as an industrial welder to create simple sculptures from steel.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Sisters in perfect tune for unique musical snapshot

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Breda and Claire Keville, photographed by Nutan. (Inset) The sisters, as depicted by artist Isabel Alegria, on the cover of the album.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

“A snapshot in time,” is how musician and composer Claire Keville from Claran, near Headford, describes Music from Galway, the new CD which she and her sister Breda have just released.

With Breda on fiddle and Claire on concertina, it’s a gorgeous collection of music from all parts of Galway and beyond, a mix of slow airs, gigs, reels and marches. The sisters are accompanied by guitarist and longtime musical friend Terence O’Reilly on several tracks, which they recorded in the studio of his East Clare home in April of this year.

Claire, a French and Music teacher in Coláiste Iognáid (the Jes) in the city for the past decade, and Breda, who works as a radiation therapist in UHG, have previously released solo albums. Breda’s, The Hop Down, was released in 2006 and The Daisy Field, from Clare came out in 2009. Each guested on the other’s album, but this is their first joint recording, a project they’d been discussing for years.

When it did finally happen, it came together a lot more quickly than either of them had anticipated.

“I didn’t think we’d have it done this year,” says Breda, as Claire recalls that they discussed its timeframe in April, while driving from Galway to Terence’s home in Clare.

After that first day, when they recorded 10 tracks and realised that most of them would make the album, they reckoned it was achievable. Another session in An Spidéal with musician, ‘talented engineer and general all-rounder’,  Ronan Browne, convinced them it was and Music from Galway was launched at the Willie Clancy Festival in Miltown Malbay in July.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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