REVIEW: The Tailor and Ansty Old Red Lion Angel

PUBLISHED: 13:49 30 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:16 07 September 2010

Three star rating Buckley - a man they called The Tailor is part of Irish folk law. He welcomed locals and strangers into his cottage in West Cork during the 1930s and early 40s. Spending hours by the fir

REVIEW: The Tailor and Ansty

Old Red Lion

Angel

Three star rating

Buckley - a man they called "The Tailor" is part of Irish folk law. He welcomed locals and strangers into his cottage in West Cork during the 1930s and early 40s.

Spending hours by the fireside, guzzling bottles of whisky, he was in his element spreading his theory on life, education and logic to anyone who would listen.

With his charming but cynical outlook of the modern world, Buckley used this setting as his very own stage.

Then, in 1942, Eric Cross wrote a book depicting the cosy seminars and the man who had become a local legend - only for it to be immediately banned by the Irish senate on the grounds it amounted to "a collection of smut".

Worse still, poor Buckley and his wife Ansty were harangued by a group of zealous priests until they agreed to burn their own copy of the book - and in

so doing admit self-condemnation.

In adapting Cross's legendary book for the stage, PJ O'Connor has encountered a few difficulties.

The anecdotes and tales of rural life in early 20th century West Cork are a little subdued as Ronan Wilmot (Buckley) has to spend close to two hours narrating one of European theatre's longest ever monologues.

Ansty (Nuala Hayes, who also directs) is a mere subsidiary.

Chipping in with the odd line to playfully rouse Buckley, we see very little

of her.

We know Ansty as a woman full of industry, however. While her husband continuously talks, she is never off her feet attending to their farm, cleaning, cooking and lifting.

It's with this subtle yet deliberate direction that we are to perhaps assume Buckley was something of a lazy, self-absorbed man, escaping repercussions due to his way with words.

Should you be after an evening of non-stop entertainment, don't bother coming.

If you are keen on theatrical realism, you will struggle to find a better illustration.

In the set, direction, acting, costumes and lighting, there is nothing other than immaculate attention to detail.

It's fair to say that rural life in 1940s West Cork has been illuminated with Chekhovian-style aplomb.

Until August 2.

Rene Butler

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