Thursday 23 October 2014

Full houses on a high after play

'Highest house on the mountain' receives standing ovations

Published 06/03/2013 | 05:36

Mary Leahy, Ardagh (left) pictured with: Seán Moriarty, Killarney; Ann Cribbin, Askeaton and Mary O'Connell, Ardagh at the opening night of the late John B. Keane's play The Highest House On The Mountain by The Lartigue Theatre Company at St John's Theatre in Listowel on Thursday night. Photo: John Reidy

STANDING ovations and drama of the highest order marked the last six nights at St John's as the Lartigue Theatre Company blew audiences away with the first local production of John B Keane's The Highest House on the Mountain in over 50 years.

Fantastic acting combined with the gifted pen of the great playwright to ensure every member of the audience remained captivated throughout. And the spontaneous standing ovations the players received said it all!

"We are absolutely thrilled with it," director Denis O'Mahony said. "It has been a fantastic run in front of a full house every night and there is great relief among us this week that people enjoyed it so much." They came from far and wide to soak up the John B magic.

"We had people in from as far as Newcastle West, Dingle, Firies, Killarney and a few even came across from Clare for it!"

Many were curious about this lesser-known, early John B play, described as a powerful classic by the Lartigue. "I suppose a lot of people wouldn't have known much about it at all as it has been over 50 years since it was last performed locally, when Nora Relihan produced it. It was also one of the first local plays this year so there was huge demand. We might put it on again if the demand continues but we'll play it by ear for the time being."

Lartigue actors Robert Bunyan, John Looney, Laura Gumbo, Con Kirby, Diana McCarthy, Michael Moriarty, Batt O'Keeffe and Gavin O'Sullivan brought it all to life. "The play has it all, all the themes we now associate with John B, from greed for land to rural loneliness and much more. His plays are so powerful as they are full of passion and written in a way, influenced by real-life characters and events, that connects with people's hearts and minds."

The Highest House on the Mountain held many twists and surprises for the audience - some of which would have been very brave for its time - and there's no doubt but that it has left everyone looking forward to the next production of the playwright's work.


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