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Neighbouring Dundalk Theatre Workshop presented The Winslow Boy by Terrence Rattigan as part of last weeks Newry Drama Festival.

The play described as a “serious comedy” is based on fact and tells the story of a young naval cadet who was expelled from the Naval Collegeon on the Isle of Wight for stealing a five shilling postal order, and the lengths his family went to protest his innocence including availing of the services of our very own Sir Edward Carson named Sir Robert Morton in the play.

Thats my boy! - Ronnie Winslow played by Sean Og Cairns undergoes some interrogation. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Thats my boy! - Ronnie Winslow played by Sean Og Cairns undergoes some interrogation. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

The Adjudicator Michael O’Hara pointed out that the play was done in Newry Town Hall before - sixty years ago and commenting on the stage set up “A very fine set wasn’t it, the detail from the telephone to the little pictures here, this wonderful piece, the fireplace .. and the chess set. Well done.

“If anything could be improved on the set and I’m not saying that there’s any crying need for an improvement, it might have been a few more angles or an alcove …. but it was rather good and very very impressive.”

Commenting on a screen that covered the front of the stage which was used to project images on to the Adjudicator said “I thought all the time the effects on the screen were rather good weren’t they.”

and the lighting “In terms of the lighting, the lighting was generally rather good. I do think you need to be careful when this door opens at the back because sometimes the shadow when you open the doors hits the sky and it just takes away a little bit from what is a really nice effect outside. And remember too that the first scene is earlier on in the day and yet it is a little bit dark. That is a small small issue”

Commenting on Young Ronnie played by Sean Og Cairns “Young Ronnie in his position in the play you displayed the uncertainty that we expected from you. He was clear. “

Dickie Winslow played by Paudie Breen. Photograph: Columba O’Hare
Dickie Winslow played by Paudie Breen. Photograph: Columba O’Hare

“You played so so very well with Sir Robert. This was quite commendable but boy was he still an adolescent. There he was up lying on the sofa telling his da, yeah I’m listening to you reading the paper here, I was just resting my eyes and then of course after two years of everybody working for him - Where was he - At the Pictures”

On Arthur Winslow played by Tim Ahern “I have to say here was a man with his physical prowess on the wain even if his mind remained sharp, but the months and years past and he grew stooped and infirm. He showed us that. The intimation is that underneath his confident exterior he also became prey to thoughts of how, needlessly and perhaps permanently he had endangered the family’s fortunes, and then the poor guy realised as you saw that he had staked the family’s fortune on what seemed like a Don Quixote type quest and I think Arthur gave us a fine performance.”

Concluding the Adjudicator said “To the group, good clear characters, the issues in the play were well examined and well held and well pointed. Your engagements had thrust. The well made play was well communicated”

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