They Never Froze Walt Disney:Evening Echo Review

THAWING OUT WALT DISNEY GIVES A GREAT PERFORMANCE
Review: They Never Froze Walt Disney, Granary Theatre

A play that premiered during the Midsummer Festival is back on stage in Cork this week, at a time when the temperature is more in keeping with the title.

Jody O’Neill has written a one-hour play starring herself and John McCarthy, and it is difficult not to have a smile fixed to your face for the duration.

Paudie and Marie come on like two archetypal hangovers from an almost forgotten Ireland. They meet in a funeral home, which could be located anywhere between Shandon Street and Craggy Island.

Jody O’Neill’s character is a home-knit psychosis that steadily unravels as the threads of the story are tugged. It is not long before we find our that she is responsible for the death of the man laid out for removal.

Her childhood sweetheart – still friendly after all the years – is played with comic skill by John McCarthy, who is in equal measures daft and deferential. When Marie confides that she finds it cold, Paudie tells her helpfully, “That’ll be the guilt”.

Director Jack Healy puts a nice squeeze on the script, getting the play to pop with a sense of sexual repression. The flickering of scenes between youth and older age is done very credibly and with the minimum of fuss.

It is tantalising to think what might have been if the script ratcheted up the comedy instead of moving wholeheartedly into loneliness and madness at the end.

But this is a very enjoyable, zany little love story kept naggingly on simmer for years. And Jody O’Neill leaves the stage with her cooky charms intact – like she is popping out to catch the last Mass.

Liam Heylin, Evening Echo, 09/01/2008.

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