WATCH: Reaction to the Abbey’s ‘stunning’ Jimmy’s Hall at Limerick’s Lime Tree

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

Lisa Lambe as Oonagh in Jimmy's Hall, running at the Lime Tree until Saturday Picture: Ros Kavanagh

Lisa Lambe as Oonagh in Jimmy's Hall, running at the Lime Tree until Saturday Picture: Ros Kavanagh

THERE has been a glowing reaction to the Abbey Theatre’s production of Jimmy’s Hall, running at Limerick’s Lime Tree Theatre this week.

The story of Leitrim farmer Jimmy Gralton, the only Irishman deported from his own country, is proving the “highlight” of the Lime Tree’s year.

It is a quite fascinating story, steeped in the history of repressed 1930s Ireland and the man who challenged the accepted order – and suffered the consequences. It is hard hitting and poignant, yet there is laughter and joy and quite beautiful musicianship from a talented cast in a stunning show, while director Graham McLaren’s staging is conceived brilliantly.

Irish trad mixes with Van Morrisson’s Moondance, while Liam Clancy’s Parting Glass never sounded so haunting. Get there early too, as the cast warms up the crowd with Springsteen, the Pogues and Whitney Houston.

The Abbey is back at the Lime Tree for a fourth stint since the theatre opened to kick off its summer tour of Jimmy’s Hall, which it ran in Dublin last summer. For the Lime Tree and venue boss Louise Donlon, it is simply “the highlight of our year”.

“The actors are all top notch, the musicians, the production values are superb, you know going into an Abbey show it will be beautifully made, it will look fantastic,” she says.

“I was at it in the Abbey last year and literally people jumped to their feet. It is a great story and really interesting and the way they have adapted it, lots of music, lots of Irish dancing with a contemporary, wild feel to it.”

Jimmy’s Hall features the central character railing against the establishment via his dancehall, and the stage version, adapted from the Ken Loach film and Paul Laverty's script, is bursting with song and music, dancing and plenty of real life trials of the heart.

Sarah Lynch, who hails from Caherdavin and is now the Abbey’s touring producer, said it was “pure entertainment”.

“The voice and harmonies are superb, the music is amazing, and it is a bloody good story, so you really do tick all the boxes. When we opened it, people were dancing in the aisles - and crying,” she laughed.

The reaction on social media since the show opened on Saturday has been immensely positive. It runs at the Lime Tree until this Saturday, see www.limetreetheatre.ie