COMEDIAN and singer Conal Gallen is at home on the stage, in whatever capacity, but after eight months performing in his hit play, he had forgotten what it was like to tread the boards solo.
The Donegal man, known for his comic tunes such as Horse It Into Ya, Cynthia, has been appearing on stage as Mrs Bridie Murphy in comedy play A Bit On The Side in theatres all over Ireland. By the time the run is finished, including a show in the Lime Tree Theatre next week, the play, which Gallen wrote with his son Rory, will have played 108 nights on the run.
“It is two completely different things,” he says of stand-up and theatre.
“We had been doing the play for eight months and I did a stand up show in the INEC, and I was dreading it, which is awful because of all the years I have been doing it, I have never had that.
“I realised it was a fear, because I hadn’t been on the stage on my own and I didn’t want to do it because I loved the play and I thought I didn’t like stand up. But when I came off the stage, I said to Rory, ‘I love doing stand up’! I had just forgotten. I am lucky that I am able to do the two.”
The play, which tells the tale of a couple who have “fought the war of marriage for over 30 years”, originated from a late night, post-gig conversation with Rory.
“It was his idea. I have been doing stand up for nearly 30 years, and he has been working with me for a lot of it and we were coming home on night for a gig somewhere, and he said to me, ‘why don’t we do a play?’
“And I thought, that will be something different. I thought he had something in mind that would befit my special abilities, but he said ‘ah sure, we will write one’, just out of the blue.”
A Bit On The Side was born and the characters, which Conal holds dear.
“Bridie and Willie are fed up with one another - some of this might ring true,” he laughs. “At two different stages they both see an opportunity for a bit of fun, a bit on the side, and it is the story of their attempts to make that happen with two younger people! Whether successful or not, I won’t tell you.”
A Bit On The Side is in the Lime Tree on January 15