Theatre Times: ‘Let’s make a scene’


I waited impatiently by the bus stop, in the industrial wastelands. I had an appointment at 6.30pm.  I had been waiting for thirty minutes, for the bus that never arrives. This was annoying. I would be in a frantic rush once I disembarked on O’Connell Street, to get to Lombard Street on time. Continue reading Theatre Times: ‘Let’s make a scene’


Theatre times: ‘The Lovers’ Guide to Losing your Mind’


I had been enjoying a bijou sabbatical from the theatre world, after my exertions earlier in the year with ‘An Unexpected Party’ and ‘Mother’s Little Holiday Treasure’ (the tawdry tale of trashy dames on the rampage in Tenerife).

I knew there were upcoming auditions for Firedoor Theatre’s winter production of original play ‘The Lovers’ Guide to Losing Your Mind’ by Jason Coburn. Last year I had appeared in a short play called ‘The Stranger’ which he had written.  That had been an excellent experience.

I had read this new play and enjoyed it very much.

However being a mature, thoughtful (and realistic) individual I knew that the age profile of the characters in this play, were not suitable for me. It was almost like a burden had been lifted. I’d been feeling close to burn out with all my theatrical shenanigans. A little break had been welcome.

To sit out the audition was somewhat of a relief. I wouldn’t need to put myself through that emotional wringer of rejection. I wouldn’t need to haul my forty year old carcass about the place, trying to convince the non-blind that yes I can pass for someone in my twenties.

The play was cast, and the director picked. All was good. I would be front row central for opening night.

Then my phone rang.


‘Hello, Midnightmurphy here,’ I mumbled huskily into my phone.

‘Hello there, would you be interested in backstage work for the new show?’ Continue reading Theatre times: ‘The Lovers’ Guide to Losing your Mind’

Love on the No. 40


Now that we are plumbing the depths of winter, with daylight a distant, hazy memory, and climate conditions that would chill you to the bone, my trek to work to the industrial wastelands has become virtually intolerable. My work place itself, is in the November of locations – a singularly dank, grey, miserable, depressing, ugly part of town.

The journey has become a relentless obstacle course.

For starters, you never know when or whether the bus is going to arrive. The road which was closed while the tram track was being built, has now reopened. It’s since become a lottery whether or not you’ll end up standing by the side of the road, like a streetwalker, waiting for half an hour. In the dark, biting cold. Continue reading Love on the No. 40

Announcing .. the knights of the Netherlands


I spoke earlier in the week, about my disdain for the month of November. How its dreary drudgery saps all my energy and hope, thanks to its sullen announcement of winter.

Well in a surprising turn of events the final week of November looks like being an action packed and fun-filled time.

Why, you may be wondering?

Well the knights of the Netherlands are galloping into town, sequentially, over the next six days. Continue reading Announcing .. the knights of the Netherlands

All kinds of everything in Helsinki. With the Finnish Al Porter


In 2006 Finland won the Eurovision Song Contest, when the band Lordi romped to victory with ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’. At the time I was firmly embedded in the Finnish tribe of Amsterdam, so I was aware of the intense celebrations. This was Finland’s first victory. I, being Irish, was much more blasé about the whole thing. Ireland had won it seven and a half times previously (Linda Martin’s second place position in 1984 with timeless classic ‘Terminal 3’, is the half victory – she may not have won the overall contest, but the moral victory was hers).

As is always the case, the following year the winning country hosts the competition. So Helsinki in 2007 was the glamourous location for the Festival.

I would describe myself as a mild Eurovsion fan – perfectly amenable to watching the show, and particularly the results if it is on television, and I am at home.

Naturally I love ABBA – and although they are the very essence of Eurovision, they have sort of transcended the competition – but I would not be a huge fan of the pageant itself. A fair-weather fan maybe?

Not so some of my friends. One such friend from Amsterdam would probably be able to tell you who came 9th in 1997, without thinking about it. He downloads and listens to each country’s entry, months prior to the main event, and can predict with an almost uncanny certainty that song’s  position in the final.

Some old friends from Dublin would have been equally fanatical.

They were all traveling to Helsinki to witness the serious business of cheesy music. I was tagging along – more anxious to see Helsinki and Finland for the first time. We arranged to meet up with the Dublin contingent.

Five young men on a trip. And not a wife or a girlfriend between us – all of us being confirmed bachelors (same sex marriage didn’t exist then). Continue reading All kinds of everything in Helsinki. With the Finnish Al Porter


A few weeks before Christmas last year, a group of activists called Home Sweet Home, occupied Apollo House – a vacant state owned building in the city centre, that used to be the home of the Department of Social Welfare. They turned it into a dry (as in no alcohol or drugs permitted) shelter, offering accommodation, food, and support to homeless people. The conditions were far superior than those offered by the homeless shelters funded by the government. They did this, not only to offer support to vulnerable people  but also to address the growing homeless catastrophe that is convulsing Ireland, and to try to pressure the government into dealing seriously with Ireland’s housing emergency.
Continue reading House

Theatre times: ‘Let the right one in’

Preview shows are not meant to be reviewed before the official launch of a theatre production. However during previews, a show will sell tickets to a paying audience, and perform the entire play, as it is meant to be shown. Usually for a few nights before ‘opening night’ on a larger production there will be a few such performances. The point of these is to allow the cast and crew try the show out to a crowd, before critics are invited in, with their poison pens, to give their esteemed written opinions. They get one final chance to iron out last minute creases. The preview is usually a short period of time – unless it’s some massive Broadway show like ‘Spiderman’ – where the previews ran for months.

Last night I saw the second preview show of ‘Let the right one in’ by the National Theatre of Scotland and BKL productions (directed by John Tiffany).  It will be playing in the Abbey Theatre until January 6th. Continue reading Theatre times: ‘Let the right one in’

The cold November rain


It’s that time of year again.

The time of year, where I ask myself where on earth I went wrong in my life, that I should end up here – stuck in a corporate job, in the industrial wastelands of county Dublin, behaving like a circus monkey, doing dreary tasks for a company populated by pasty, suburban trolls, that would fire me in an instant if they thought it would save money.

 Yes dear reader. We are currently submerged in the misery of November. My least favourite month of the year. Continue reading The cold November rain

Bookworm: ‘After the funeral’ by Agatha Christie

At the age of twelve, I read ‘Cat among the pigeons’ by Agatha Christie. It was the first novel of hers that I’d read. It introduced me to the character of Hercule Poirot – the portly, eggheaded Belgian detective – whose favourite tipple is sirop de cassis – who travels the world, solving murders committed by the rich and infamous. Continue reading Bookworm: ‘After the funeral’ by Agatha Christie