Relishing return of 'The Man from Clare'

ONE of the great things about Listowel's vibrant drama scene is the chance given to so many to spread their wings on the local stage - for Kilkenny native and Greenville resident Cathríona Comerford it's proving a real treat as she tackles a John B Keane role with the Lartigue Theatre Company.

It probably helps that Cathríona's a 'Cat', as The Man from Clare is all about our native sports and the affairs of the heart - in an early classic that's creating great interest already ahead of its six-night run from Thursday, February 27 to Tuesday, March 4, next at St John's.

"The first big thing was tackling the Kerry accent," said Cathríona. "But John B Keane's drama is considerably different to what I have been used to on stage before. The language is kind of new to me, but I am really enjoying the fact there is a double meaning to his lines and I'm definitely in the zone now."

It was the love of a good man - Neilly Keane Stack - that brought Cathríona all the way down here to a new life and job as a teacher at Ballybunion's Scoil Iosagáin.

"We're really enjoying rehearsals, they're a lot of fun and Denis is really passionate about the play which is great.

"While I'm relaxed right now about it, I know I will be nervous when opening night comes though!"

Cathríona was referring to director Denis O'Mahoney, who is currently relishing The Man from Clare's return.

"It was last performed here in the early 1970s and it's a very important piece as one of John B Keane's earlier works. It's a great comedic play, all about football and love and the plight of an ageing footballer giving way to a new kid on the block."

Its story originated in a bygone tradition of an annual match in Listowel and Clare between local sides.

The cast also features Lartigue newcomers Yvonne O'Keeffe Fox and Katie Lucey (former All-Ireland winning fiddler) as well as Abbeyfeale man Paul O'Callaghan; backed up by the more established talent of Robert Bunyan, Eoin Hand, John Looney, Mike Moriarty, Conor Foley, Christy Walsh, Batt O'Keeffe, Con Kirby as The Man from Clare and Tom Collins from Athea."

Ring St John's on (068)22566 to book.