Tag Archives | Kilkenny

The Makings Of A Ripping Yarn

hellfire_squad_web-10 The History: The Squad, originally nicknamed the Twelve Apostles, was a real life unit that were founded by Michael Collins in the run up to the War Of Independence. Their main goal was to counteract British Intelligence at this time, through means mostly focusing on assassinations. They did, as we term it in the play ‘the dirty work of a nation.’ Although they didn’t exclusively have twelve members, the Squad rotated membership and to this day, the full extent of Squad members isn’t entirely known. Squad_Members_2_2 It was a job, with a wage and many outsiders, men not fit for many other purposes, gravitated towards this assassination unit. While there weren’t any documented female members of the Squad, a lot of Collins central intelligence agents were women. And more so than their male counterparts of the time, they were written out of the subsequent history. A recruitment poster in Ireland during the first world war The Inspiration: We came up with the idea when discussing Inglourious Basterds and the men-on-a-mission adventure movies that inspired it, and decided to write an Irish version of those stories. We found the perfect subject matter: an alternate secret history of the origins of Michael Collins’ infamous hit squad. Collins The codename of the squad itself, the name of our villain Francis Dashwood, and the fire-and-brimstone tone came from setting it at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains near the notorious Hellfire Club. We started working on it in a flurry of excitement back in 2009. It was a Western and a War yarn at once, a Commando comic on the stage. Countless movies and the untold tales of Irish history inspired it. the-dirty-dozen Thematically, we were interested in telling a story of people who were written out of subsequent Irish history. Particularly the women of the Rising and Cumann na mBan who subsequently had their roles downplayed. In the 1916 centenary year, writing a play about the fervor it created in people after the rebellion felt like an interesting take. People who wanted an important role. hellfire-promo-7 This is the idea behind Kathleen Sweeney as narrator. She’s giving a voice to the voiceless, people like herself who fought for an Ireland that turned on them. Betrayal, at its essence, is what drives this story and we didn’t have to stray too far from history to utilise that. Despite our cinematic influences, making it as a play has always felt like Sean O’Casey and Dion Boucicault having a conversation mediated by Bertolt Brecht. That was the ‘highbrow’ intention anyway. The main intention was a cracking night’s entertainment. We hope you get that. The Execution: After intermittently working on it over the years, we took the script for a spin in August 2013. We did our first work in progress performance at Little Deviations: Volume 1, directed by Philip Brennan. HellfireSquad-ForWeb All the potential of the piece was there. Thanks to Artlinks support we were able to get Ken Bourke on board to provide dramaturgy for the script and he helped us develop it throughout 2015 and into this year. Getting a talented director like Sarah Baxter and getting the brilliant cast we did was the cherry on top. Hellfire Reading For Devious Theatre’s 10th birthday in 2016, not to mention the centenary of the 1916 Rising, it felt like the right production to do. It’s like one big mish mash of ten years of Devious Theatre in one show. It’s about a motley troupe, ill resourced and against the odds, trying to tell their stories during a tumultuous time in Irish history. Fitting enough. Peter McGann & John Morton
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Burnin’ Hell

hellfire_squad_web-11 Well, that escalated quickly. By the morning of opening night The Hellfire Squad had pretty much sold out its night time run in Dublin and now, it's entirely gone for each night. This is a hot show, on a hot week. Hot as hell, you could say. hellfire_squad_web-14 The response has been phenomenal thus far and we're so glad that there's been such demand to see it, especially during a heatwave. The show has started with a bang and it's got legs. There's only one chance to see the show in action in Project Arts Centre and that's our matinee this Saturday afternoon. If you fancy catching the 2.30pm performance of The Hellfire Squad, strike fast and get the tickets while you can. hellfire_squad_web-21 Here are a selection of some of the reviews for the show thus far: Pure M / Kilkenny People / Exeunt Magazine / No More Workhorse Dublin, last shot is the matinee on Saturday. Kilkenny, get your tickets, we'll be seeing you next week.
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Fire and Brimstone

hellfire-promo-8 The countdown is finished. Tonight we're going straight to hell... The Hellfire Squad previews in Project Arts Centre tonight. We'll be opening proper on Tuesday night and then it's a straight sprint to this Saturday. We've launched the second trailer for the play which sees Michael Collins' list made flesh. It's a full countdown of the outlaws and bandits who make up The Squad. It was shot by Fergal Costello and edited by Peter McGann, the saucy co-writer of this tale. Take a look here: Are you ready to help us bless the work? 8.15pm in Project Cube is the place where the squad will perform for the first time. We'll bring the brimstone, you bring your good selves, and some fire. You can ensure your tickets for the show right here. God bless the work.
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#2. Tadhg McRoth

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"Will they write about you in the history books?"
  #2. Tadhg McRoth (David Fennelly) aka The Teacher. Collins main man and Squad leader. A fluent Gaeilgeoir with a love for Irish myths and legends and a quick temper. Likes to smell a flower in bloom. Survived the Rising with flying colours and has now been tasked with assembling the greatest squad of assassins the country has ever seen. The Strategist. David Fennelly makes his Devious Theatre debut here. Recent theatre credits include This Lime Tree Bower (Project Arts Centre) Advocacy (Best Ensemble Fringe ’14), Fishes (Stuart Parker Bursary ’14), Mavericks (Theatre Upstairs/ Bewleys Theatre), 24 Hour Plays (Abbey Theatre) and Seven Jewish Children (Abbey Theatre). He made his screen debut in Nick Hamm’s Killing Bono. He has since featured in Game of Thrones (HBO), Half Shade (UNA Films) What Richard Did (Element Pictures) and Sanctuary (Venom Productions). David wrote and performed in the stage play Fishes. Fishes was recently made into a short film The Caller which premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh and has since aired on RTÉ. David graduated from the Gaiety School of Acting Full Time Acting Course in June 2009. The Hellfire Squad is directed by Sarah Baxter and plays Project Arts Centre from July 18-23. It will then play The Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny from July 28-30 as part of this years AKA programme. Tickets are onsale now.
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#3. Walter Meade

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"I'd call that a good days labour..."

#3. Walter Meade (John Morton) aka The Blacksmith. A veteran of the Rising and suffering from shell-shock as a result. A loud, swaggering one eyed figure obsessed with the work. Highly emotional, quick to temper and very trigger happy. His role in the Squad is a bit of a wild card. Likes a pint. The Loose Cannon. John Morton is one of the co-writers of The Hellfire Squad. Previously for Devious Theatre, John has written the plays War Of Attrition, Scratcher, Smitten and Heart Shaped Vinyl, which he recently directed in a new version. Onstage credits for us include Heart Shaped Vinyl, War Of Attrition, Bash, Scratcher, Smitten, Accidental Death Of An Anarchist, Stags and Hens, Cannibal! The Musical and Trainspotting. Other stage credits include Taboo (White Label), Snake Eaters (The New Theatre), Konstantin Has Shot Himself (Sheer Tantrum), Wild Harvest (Watergate Productions). Film and TV credits include Locus Of Control, Old Fangs, Love/Hate, Republic Of Telly, Tobias And The Tree and Fading Away. Recent writing work includes Taboo (White Label) and Bridge Street Will Be (Asylum/Equinox). He also wrote and directed this years RTÉ Storyland pilot Smitten, based on his play. The Hellfire Squad is directed by Sarah Baxter and plays Project Arts Centre from July 18-23. It will then play The Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny from July 28-30 as part of this years AKA programme. Tickets are onsale now.
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#4. Fr. Desmond Furey

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"Doing the dirty work of a nation..."

Fr. Desmond Furey (Dave Fleming) aka The Defrocked Preacher. A fire and brimstone spewing, chain smoking, tough-as-nails priest who puts the fear of god in the enemy. Long feared as a shin hacking, ultra competitive lover of the GAA, he is lethal with a hurley. Quietly moved to another parish after massacring a pub full of British soldiers. The good lord mostly keeps him calm. The Trainer.

Dave Fleming makes his debut with Devious Theatre. He began his acting career in UCD Dramsoc. Credits include Jacob in Spectres (Sickle Moon Productions), Mick Curley in From the Shannon to the Somme (Kings House, Boyle), Jake in Stones in his Pockets (CAS Productions, National Tour), Antonio in The Merchant of Venice (devise+conquer Productions, National Tour), Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (CYEBO Productions), Warwick in The Lark (Fast Intent, Smock Alley) and Nick in Tonight Everthing’s Going to Change (Back of the Hand, Filmbase). Screen credits include See You (Warrior Films, RTE Shortscreen) and The Hit Producer (Hit Producer Films and Ned Kelly Pictures). Dave is also the co-writer and co-star of webseries The Goo (Awake and Sing Productions). Dave voices various characters in Wonderland Productions walking tour production of Dubliners. The Hellfire Squad is directed by Sarah Baxter and plays Project Arts Centre from July 18-23. It will then play The Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny from July 28-30 as part of this years AKA programme. Tickets are onsale now.
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#5. Finbarr McLiammoir

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"I wanted a big part in a big story..."

#5. Finbarr McLiammoir (John Doran) aka Paudie Blennerhasset aka Dionysus Ffolliott is a man of many men. A gruff voiced Cork born thespian, of gypsy lineage, with a fine penchant for mimicry and a way with a ballad. He has a devious hold on the dark theatrical arts and uses them to confound all his enemies. Tired of touring 'Brit pandering shite' in repertory, he's joined the noble cause. The Master Of Disguise. John Doran last appeared with us in his one man show The Centre Of The Universe (Tiger Dublin Fringe 2014/Show In A Bag). He also co-wrote and directed Some Flood which toured in 2014. Other Devious Theatre credits include War Of Attrition, Vultures, Shakespeare In Bits, Stags and Hens and Cannibal! The Musical. Other stage credits include Care (Willfredd Theatre), Enjoy (Rough Magic Seeds) Me Michael (Abbey Theatre), Romeo & Juliet (The Gate Theatre) It Folds (Brokentalkers), The Last Post (Just the Lads), 24 Hours Sitcom, Human Child (Collapsing Horse), Die Fledermaus (Aoife Spillane-Hinks), Romeo & Juliet (Corcadorca), Fishes (Bewleys Theatre) and Durang Durang (Brazen Tales). Next up: The Aeneid for Collapsing Horse at Tiger Dublin Fringe. The Hellfire Squad is directed by Sarah Baxter and plays Project Arts Centre from July 18-23. It will then play The Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny from July 28-30 as part of this years AKA programme. Tickets are onsale now.
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#6. Dicey McGurk

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"Well painted by reputation..."

#6. Dicey McGurk (Peter McGann) aka The Syphilitic Salesman. A shady, wife seducing, clap ridden, arms procuring, travelling lingerie salesman. His reputation is that of a coward and thief, who looted the fashionable stores of Dublin City during the Rising. However, he is cunning at weapon concealment and an explosives expert. Michael Collins has put his name on the list for a reason. Dicey's shot at redemption has arrived. The Gun Runner. Peter McGann  is the co-writer of The Hellfire Squad and this marks his debut writing work for the stage. Previous onstage appearances with Devious Theatre include The Union as part of Little Deviations: Volume 1. He has a Masters in screenwriting from the Huston Film School, NUIG. He wrote and directed the short films The Eyeball Waltz (Fastnet Film Festival), Go West, Sure Look This Is It and Not Tonight. He writes and performs as Dick Liver on Republic Of Telly and as stand-up comedian Liam Nugent in online shorts and the upcoming one-man show An Evening With Liam Nugent. As an actor he has appeared in short films Cavalier, Safari Springs, Hot Water Bottle, Daffney Malloy And Other Catastrophes, Colossus, Barry and Swerve. He also appears in the RTÉ Storyland pilot Smitten and the upcoming feature film Locus Of Control. The Hellfire Squad is directed by Sarah Baxter and plays Project Arts Centre from July 18-23. It will then play The Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny from July 28-30 as part of this years AKA programme. Tickets are onsale now.
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#7. Austin De Courcey

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"Burns like the dickens, but gets the job done..."

#7. Austin De Courcey (Ed Murphy) aka The 3rd Earl Of Roundwood. A well bred, dapper land owner of British descent who likes to smoke a pipe, swig a brandy and kill any man who besmirches his beloved Eire. He might be a Protestant, yes and quite removed from the rest of the squad but he stands his ground as a proud local, born and bred. Woe betide the man who underestimates him because of his means. The Reconnaissance Man. Ed Murphy has previously appeared for Devious Theatre in Some Flood, Night Of The Living Dead, Shakespeare In Bits, Stags and Hens and Cannibal! The Musical. Ed also directed Tenterhooks, one of the five pieces presented at Little Deviations: Volume 1. Other stage credits include TEXT|Messages (Project Arts Centre), Twelfth Night (AC Productions), Strange Attractors (Samuel Beckett Theatre), Fused (Dublin Fringe Festival 2013), This Is It (Just The Lads). Film and television credits include Reign, Gardar in History’s Vikings, the lead role of Danny in Mark Sheridan’s new feature film Crone Wood, Jim Sheridan’s new feature film The Secret Scripture, Fir Bolg, a comedy mini-series for TG4, and a role in director Brian Dean’s Storyland web series CTRL. The Hellfire Squad plays Project Arts Centre from July 18-23. It will then play The Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny from July 28-30 as part of this years AKA programme. Tickets are onsale now.
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More Myth Than Men…

  hellfire-promo-4 The first trailer for The Hellfire Squad is here. Never let history get in the way of a good yarn. It shows the squad assembling for the group shot that you glimpsed in the main poster for the show. This trailer was shot, directed and edited by the terribly talented Fergal Costello. Michael Collins infamous hit squad are bringing the hellfire to Project Arts Centre from July 18-23 and The Watergate Theatre from July 28-30. God bless the work.
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