Catch of the Day
Cavern – The Vaults
Reviewed – 29th January 2020
“Music runs through the show, and the audience sang and clapped; the feeling of a local pub in Ireland created by warmth and song”
Walk into the theatre space and it feels as though you are entering the friendliest pub in Dingle. Someone offers you a crisp, someone has a pint on the go and the audience is included in the chat. Within a couple of minutes we were all singing along to the chorus of ‘Whisky in the Jar’ and clapping the beat. What unfolded afterwards was a riotous romp of a story, involving the Queen of England, some fishermen, Eamon de Valera, a bunch of over excited nuns, and a very surprising fish. The cast of four morph from present day pub mates into this eccentric collection of characters from nineteen sixty six, arguing and teasing each other, ‘educating’ an audience member on the history of Ireland, and belting out some great tunes, accompanied by guitar and fiddle.
Catch of the Day is based on a story that has been passed down through the families of Dingle since April 1966, when a fisherman called Joe Welch and his crew made an extraordinary catch. It was so extraordinary that they had to decide what to do with it, and the shenanigans that follow the arrival of the fish are truly hilarious. Music runs through the show, and the audience sang and clapped; the feeling of a local pub in Ireland created by warmth and song. But one song was deadly serious: a schooling on the terrible damage England has inflicted on Ireland. It was a stark reminder of the pain and conflict of the country’s past, and gave the story a historical perspective: a good counterbalance to the joyful craic.
The story of the fishermen’s catch was made into a radio documentary in 2013, and actor Callum McGuire heard it in 2018, sparking the idea for this show. He got a team together and they set off for Dingle to find out more. They were welcomed by the families of the fishermen and enchanted by this magical tale. So Red Fox Theatre was formed and the story of an amazing day in Dingle is being told around the UK and Ireland, through music, comedy and superb acting by this talented ensemble cast. Michael Mahony, Anna McCormick, Jonty Weston and Callum McGuire gave us a real treat tonight. Megan Jenkins directed, following a period of collaborative development involving the whole company.
I would have liked to stay on for more songs and a bit of a dance, maybe they will extend the show and have a ceilidh at the end!
Reviewed by Katre