Boss Grady’s Boys @ the Gaiety

I know it’s not music, but this Sebastian Barry play has a lot of brilliant references to fiddle playing, and the brilliant Pat Shortt loves traditional music & plays, so that’s my excuse for making note of it here.

The production in the Gaiety has a lot going for it: great cast; superb set, stage design & lighting; beautiful prose; and last night’s preview (despite the death of their friend & colleague Mick Lally; & Tom Hickey feeling ill) saw the actors pull off a wonderful performance. But it’s a really difficult play to glance off, as you are invited to do in such a first encounter at a theatre.

Without being familiar with the script and having the chance to read it thoroughly, much of Boss Grady’s Boys ends up flying too fast over your head, in my opinion. Dense, rich language; surreal imagery; rhythmic syntax, all amount to a highly poetic representation of the “story” of two lonely brothers living in harsh conditions on a banjaxed farm in Kerry. As a dream, and as a painting in language & acting, it works very well. But as a story, something to sink your teeth into at the end of a hard day’s work in 21st century Dublin, it escapes: one companion “just didn’t care”. Others “didn’t get it”; it went over their heads, they gestured. One walked out and went to the pub for a chat.

I look forward to reading the play when I get my hands on it, and hopefully sharing some of the musical references.

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