BALLYBOFEY actor Charlie Bonner is looking forward to performing in the hit play ‘The Kings of the Kilburn High Road’ at An Grianán Theatre next week.
Written by Jimmy Murphy, this Livin’ Dred Theatre Co production is directed by Padraic McIntyre. Bonner (44) plays the role of Joe Mullen, the more successful member of a group of six young men who left their homes in the west of Ireland in the mid-1970s, and took the boat to England in the hope of making their fortunes and returning home.
Twenty-five years later only one, Jackie Flavin, makes it home – in a coffin. The Kings of the Kilburn High Road is set on the day the winners and losers of the group meet up in a London pub to drink to Flavin’s memory and looks at their lives, lost dreams and their place in the new Ireland. It has been described as a wonderful play, full of humour and human sadness.
Speaking to the Donegal News on Tuesday, Bonner said he was relishing the prospect to taking to the An Grianán stage, six months after her performed there in the beautiful Lyric Theatre production of Brian Friel’s Dancing At Lughnasa.
He said rehearsals were going well, despite a security alert following the discovery of a pipe bomb near the Ramor Theatre in Virginia, County Cavan, on Tuesday. The play opens there tonight (Friday), before embarking on a nationwide tour.
A professional actor with 25 years experience, Bonner said The Kings was a play he always wanted to do.
“I’ve worked with Padraic (McIntyre) before and he’s great, so it’s just brilliant to have the opportunity to act in what is a fantastic piece of work,” he said.
He stresses the play is “very accessible” and the story is one that almost everyone in Donegal can identify with, due to our history of emigration.
“They (characters) were a group of six, but one passed away and they all come together for a ‘wake’ in a London pub. There is a lot of history between them so, when they start drinking, there’s singing, dancing and a lot of stories start to come out. There is also a lot of resentment there – it’s a very funny play.”
He added that younger Donegal people will receive an education if they attend the performance, as many of them would never have heard of the many Irish enclaves of London, such as Kilburn.
“Every character has their own story to tell – the dreamers are still talking about coming home while the realists know that will not happen.
“It was such an honour for me to be on the An Grianán stage last summer for Dancing At Lughnasa. I cannot wait to get back there next week,” he said.
“The people of Donegal will love The Kings of the Kilburn High Road. It is such an accessible play and the audience will recognise each and every one of the characters.”
The Kings of the Kilburn High Road also includes Phelim Drew, Malcolm Adams, Arthur Riordan and Seamus O’Rourke. It will be staged at An Grianán next Wednesday 17th and Thursday 18th February, starting at 8pm.
Tickets are priced at €20 & €15 and can be purchased by calling the theatre box office on 074 91 20777 or logging on to www. angrianan.com
For full interview, see this Friday’s Donegal News or subscribe to our digital edition.
Local Brexit conference in Letterkenny next Friday where the guest speakers will include former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern