"Buds" a major success!

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“The Buds of Ballybunion” was this year’s offering from the T.Y. Drama group. This classic comedy is set in Ballybunion’s golden era as the holiday destination of the “Buds”, county folk who holidayed after the summer rush in the quieter September. The quaint customs and surprising secrets of the characters give the performance a mix of comedy and drama, along with some timeless advice on compassion and tolerance, the hallmarks of John B. Keane’s stories.

The play was anchored by the women gossiping at the dining table of O’Deas’ B & B. Proprietor Mary, played by Aoife O’Riordan, is the fulcrum of the story and Aoife delivered the part with depth and maturity. The vivacious Dolly, played by Leah Guerin, brought life, humour and some stern life lessons to the fore. The hapless  Tom Shaun Shea’s lovelorn character was brought to life with ease by Brandon O’Sullivan, and had the audience egging him on as he faced up to his responsibilities. Mrs Bunce and Mrs Black, played by Jennifer Lenihan and Katie Hickey, brought gravitas to balance the comic scenes and developed the more serious aspects of the story. Elmarie Kelleher’s Mrs Moon was an absorbing interpretation of a complex character and her memorable scene with Denise Healy’s elegant and sardonic Death again balanced the comedy. Grace O’Connor and Neil Flahive, as Molly and Con Summers, played these difficult parts to perfection, mixing the fun with their dilemma and reminding us all to value our time. Ciara Manning and Katie Crowley as Tessie and Bessie Nix displayed their range of talents with excellent comic timing in the lively dialogue around the dining table. The capable Fionan Buckley played a commanding Fr Bunce, and smoothly tied all the loose ends together. The rustic Murt Glug, by Gary O’Donovan, brought both slapstick comedy and also got us thinking in a nuanced performance. Set pieces by Darra Bourke as Font Nix and Ms Moloney, by Nora O’Sullivan, were vital plot links played to perfection in these two roles so essential to the movement of the play. Aidan Murphy’s Boozer Mullane, a difficult role opening and establishing setting, was played with dexterity, mixing comic and storytelling skills.

Yet again producers Margaret Buckley and Jennifer O’Donoghue’s magic was everywhere, especially in the maturity and harmony the young cast brought to demanding roles. Set design by Tony Dineen, Danny Lane and Barry Fraser had us reaching for the sun cream in the convincing seaside setting. Sound and lighting by Martin Buckley was a seamless addition to the performance, with innovative use of stage and space.

All in all, an excellent performance of an under-rated classic and a fine addition to the tradition of school drama.