Saturday 3 December 2016

Love/Hate star on Dublin's gangland wars: 'Nothing could have prepared me for what has happened over the last couple of weeks'

Sasha Brady

Published 16/02/2016 | 13:16

Peter Coonan
Peter Coonan
Class act: Peter Coonan backstage at the Gate Theatre

Love/Hate actor Peter Coonan has spoken about the Dublin's gangland troubles - saying that none of the research the hit RTE series conducted could have prepared him for the events that have recently unfolded in the city.

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"It's shocking all together," said Coonan, who played Fran in Love/Hate.

The gun attacks in Drumcondra at the start of February and the subsequent killing of Eddie Hutch Snr have, for some viewers of the show, drawn many comparisons to the gangland storylines of the popular RTE crime drama.

"For me, obviously I'm just an actor who played a character in a show about gangland so we did a small bit of research that gave us an insight into the world," said Coonan when speaking to Sean O'Rourke on RTE Radio One.

Class act: Peter Coonan backstage at the Gate Theatre
Class act: Peter Coonan backstage at the Gate Theatre

"But nothing that could have prepared me for what has happened over the last couple of weeks... shocking."

The Irish actor was in the studio to talk about his leap from TV to theatre as he takes on the lead role of Jerry Devine in Sean O'Casey's much-loved play,Juno and the Paycock, at the Gate Theatre.

Peter Coonan
Peter Coonan

The actor grew up in theatre so he said the decision to go back to his roots was a "conscious" one.

"It was something I really wanted to get back to because I missed it," he said.

"It's a great character to play and something that people might not have expected me to do."

The play focuses on the Boyle family living in subject poverty and the mother Juno, who keeps the family together, while the father (played by Coonan) spends every penny of the family's money on drinking with his buddy Joxer Daly.

It's a story that tackles the true devastation of alcoholism and, with the help of director Mark O'Rowe, it's the first time the play will be performed at the Gate Theatre in 30 years.

"It's good fun because the cast are so great and the play itself is such a wonder to listen to," said Coonan.

While the future of Love/Hate remains uncertain, the Dublin actor is "ploughing" his own field with theatre roles.

He said that if Love/Hate producer Stuart Carolan was to pen another script, it would be hard for Coonan to say no to reprising his role as Fran.

However, Coonan admitted that it wouldn't be a bad idea for the show to end at the height of its popularity.

"Everyone wants another series but I think the good thing about all great series, like The Sopranos and The Wire, is that they end on a high.

"If people are wanting more... you've done something right."

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