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Rosemary Drama Group from Belfast performed The Man Who Came to Dinner by George F Kaufman on Monday night as part of this weeks Newry Drama Festival. The play centres on Sheridan Whiteside, America’s most famous wit/ broadcaster/ writer etc who

Sheridan Whiteside (Mark Irvine) at the centre of attention where he intends to stay! Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Sheridan Whiteside (Mark Irvine) at the centre of attention where he intends to stay! Photograph: Columba O'Hare

slips on ice on the doorstep of the Stanley’s in Ohio on his way to a dinner appointment at their house and as a result breaks his hip and is “forced” to convalesce in their home, although it’s more correct to say that the Stanley’s are forced to put up with him!

Sheridan really does abuse the hospitality of Mr and Mrs Stanley, inviting a selection of increasingly eccentric end downright weird people along for catch ups and so the hilarity begins!

Giving some pointers to the cast Adjudicator Michael O’Hara said “Keep going after emphasis in the language. You all know what the humour is, make sure that when you are pointing the humorous lines, you take account of an audience whom A must hear them, B Must find them funny and C give them time to laugh at it”

The Man Who Came To Dinner at Newry Drama Festival. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
The Man Who Came To Dinner at Newry Drama Festival. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

He continued “ I say to you the pace in many places was stomping along very very nicely. You must always in a play this type keep that pace moving along, but not at the risk of moving it along so fast, a contradiction I know, that we get carried along with language that we can’t quite tune in to. Physical vocal skills are good. You certainly worked hard at them and they were technically accurate and coherent.

“Groupings were solid. Pacing as I say can be a little bit more controlled and just a couple of times there was a sense in which some of the players were picking up pace from somebody else, and that is a trap you can fall into quite easily. You are working away quite hard, somebody is coming at you, like that, and you pick up from that pace and deliver your lines rather than say, no my character is more self contained and you’ve got to hold back and realise the nature of characterisations which you are using.”

On Sheridan Whiteside played by Mark Irvine the Adjudicator commented “Well establishhed, arrogant, self centred, yet outrageous, absolutely outrageous, ignorant even and that’s fine Sheridan.”

Wrapping up he added “Thanks to Rosemary for tonights performance. Lots and lots of energy. Many nice moments, lots of potential here, and perhaps even a little bit more which can yet be realised.”

 

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