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The long winter of rehearsals are over, and now its time to play the theme music, open the curtain and (with prompters in place) deliver the lines.

This week, the Compántas Lir drama group staged this year’s production, Poor Beast in the Rain in the Carnmore centre. The play was well received, and the group looks forward with great optimism to the forthcoming festival season. Poor Beast in the Rain is written by Billy Roach, the Wexford author who is winning acclaim for his fresh approach to writing modern Irish drama. The action takes place in a bookie shop over one weekend, in which Wexford are involved in the All-Ireland Hurling final. However the match merely provides the backdrop to the real excitement of the weekend, when Danger Doyle returns to his hometown, having run off to London with the bookies wife ten years previously.

Past glories and tragedies of the characters lives are recalled, and the memories both happy and painful bring the characters to life in this strong drama.

The play is produced by Mike Hession, and has a cast capable of delivering great performances. New to the group is Bernadett Prendergast, making a great debut. Eddie Fitzgerald Malachy Noone play very memorable characters, while Kevin Duffy gives his best performance ever as Danger Doyle. Phillip Cribben & Liz Hession have very demanding roles, both having suffered the effects of Dangers cavalier lifestyle.

The group start the festival circuit in Castleisland on the 6th of March, and will appear in the Claregalway on the 16th of March.

The group took a great leap forward in 1999, when appearing for the first time ever in the Town Hall Theatre in Galway. This important event took place on Easter Monday, the 5th of April, and was for one night only.