As usual, I got to see this recent production on its closing night last Saturday in Fremantle.
Harbour Theatre and director Pat Stroud initially mounted this show last year, but had to cancel due to serious cast illness. I think that sharpened, rather than blunted the cast commitment to the play.
On paper, this is a fairly serious and depressing drama by Irish Australian writer Peter Kenna. Given the breath of live performance however, the wit and wisdom of the lines become apparent and it is finally quite an engaging and uplifting experience, even for those not of Irish Catholic background.
Set in 1946, there are two parallel stories to the play - one concerning the terminal relationship between the three middle-aged brothers Cassidy and their womenfolk - the other, the adolescent Joe Cassidy and his homoerotic awakening. Both lead to the same conclusion - that ultimately, the Catholic God holds cold comfort for those in real emotional need.
Unusually for a 'community theatre' event, all cast members seemed to have impressive dramatic CVs to their credit. This is where the dividing line between 'amateur' and 'professional' theatre becomes blurred. I have to say that I found this piece to be of somewhat higher standard than the last 'professional' production I saw.
Well done, all.