‘Magic’ play offers inside take on Giant visit to Limerick

Alan Owens


Alan Owens

Darren Maher of Magic Roundabout Theatre Company
A PLAY within a play offering a quirky take on the visit of Royal de Luxe to Limerick is to be one of the last theatre pieces created for City of Culture.

A PLAY within a play offering a quirky take on the visit of Royal de Luxe to Limerick is to be one of the last theatre pieces created for City of Culture.

The focus of Magic Roundabout theatre company - founded by Zeb Moore - and Darren Maher’s theatrical vision is on the visit of the Big, Beautiful Woman, their title for the play.

The play by Maher looks at the visit through a fictional prism, focusing on those who worked as crew for the French pageantry company.

All of the play’s actors, Niamh Bowen, Frances Healy and Jared Nadin - plus director and writer Maher - worked as Lilliputians for Royal de Luxe on the Gradmother’s visit.

Big, Beautiful Woman is about two local artists who are trying to find a way to tell their own story, while working on a giant French spectacle that happens to be going on in the background.

Maher said the outcome was a “solution to a problem” of writing a play for City of Culture, adding that it was a “privilege” to work on the Grandmother’s visit, which subsequently informed his own play in a theatrical sense.

“A few of Limerick’s theatrical types got some work earlier this year with the visiting European company that had a Giant Marionette with them,” explained Maher.

“That work was demanding and the situation quite confusing, but for many of us, it quickly became something wasn’t so much a job as a privilege.

“The play is, in a sense, a tribute to that feeling. It uses elements of that bizarre work environment - exaggerated for comedy effect - as a setting for what is essentially a discussion about Limerick, theatre and history, and what really matters.

“Also, in both French and English the language is authentically colourful, so don’t bring your kids, and pardon my French,” he laughed.

Frances Healy said that the piece was an “out and out comedy”, one she is really looking forward to working on.

The play, directed by Maher, is Magic Roundabout’s biggest production to date. Previous productions have included Spinal Krapp and Two Gentlemen of Lebowski.

With City of Culture funding, the company have been able to assemble a creative team that includes Bottom Dog producer Liam O’Brien, stage manager Tara Doolan, lighting designer Pius McGrath and Senan Moore on sound design.

Founder Zeb Moore is to create a “special set piece” for the for the play’s venue, the theatre and performance HUB at Red Cross Hall, a black box space.

“The wonderful thing about Limerick’s designation as City of Culture is that companies like ours, who have been plugging away, have now been facilitated to produce a large scale production like this which has previously not been possible,” he said.

“The generous funding provided by City of Culture and its supporters and sponsors allows us to bring a talented cast and crew of professionals together to create one of the final pieces of original theatre this year, and for that we are hugely grateful.”

The play takes place in the Theatre HUB from December 10-13. To book tickets call 085-2085737.