Last Thursday 18th May I ventured to the Island Arts Centre in Lisburn for a production by the Big Telly theatre company, directed by Zoe Seaton.
I knew very little about the play prior to my arrival, other than the fact it was based on a book by Jane Talbot and that it was currently doing a tour around parts of the UK and Ireland and so I had no real expectations. Also this was my first time seeing anything by the Big Telly Theatre Company; although I had always heard good things! The Big telly theatre company are currently in their 30th year and originate from Portstewert.
The Faerie Thorn is a recreation of Jane Talbot’s book that depicts bewitching tales and devilish deeds with a dark wit! The show opens with the main character Man Donaghy, played by Seamus O’Hara, who has a faerie thorn on his land. If you are familiar with your Irish folklore then you will know that if you find a fairy tree then you should protect it. With Fairy trees being regarded as sacred sites for the ‘wee folk’ there are numerous superstitions that surround them and as you’ve probably guessed these involve a little bit of magic and lots of bad luck.
Without giving any spoilers the story follows the farmer Man Donaghy and his trials and tribulations involving the little people. The play includes a ‘sort of’ dance scene which is used to help tell the story and oddly works! Something I hadn’t really seen done before. There is a consistancy and themes of humour with running jokes throughout the play which only add to the story and overall experience as a whole. I have to admit at one point I was in such fits of laughter I was in actual tears! If that’s not the sign of a good play then I don’t know what is!
The production is made up of 5 cast members which multi-role seemlessly and effortlessly. The Faerie Thorn utilises masks and puppets on numerous occasions throughout the performance in ways I had never seen before. I found this fresh and innovative and a great way to get the narrative across with a modern twist. There are also some musical pieces which see Collette Lennon signing in very different styles but each of which are very pleasant to the ear, what a voice!
The Faerie Thorn has an ingenious way of providing laughter one minute and then causing you to think deeply the next and they pull this off so well!
In parts the cast can be seen to the side of the stage using random objects to provide sound bites; for example chewing on a piece of polystyrene into a mic! Captivating and so smart!
Overall I loved the Faerie Thorn and I wouldnt hesitate to go and see it again! The whole cast are witty and extremely talented and they work effortlessly as a team on stage. I found it a pleasure to watch.
If you get a chance to get to see The faerie thorn, then enjoy!
Check out the Big Telly theatre company:
Thanks for reading,