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Seven Drunken Nights - Review

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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
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Help Celebrate 50 Years Of The Dubliners In Great Live Show
It was just like sitting in the legendary O'Donoghue's pub in Dublin where 'Ireland's favourite sons', The Dubliners, first came together well over half a century ago. Seven Drunken Nights is promoted as The Story of The Dubliners, and it certainly lives up to that billing. More than half the stage at the Lichfield Garrick theatre, where Seven Drunken Nights was performed on Saturday 21 April, is laid out as a bar. And it soon becomes clear why when black and white images and video footage of O'Donoghue's are displayed on a giant screen at the rear of the stage.

Seven Drunken Nights
Seven Drunken Nights in action


The screen is also overlaid with images of the men who helped form The Dubliners and made them famous around the world, the last of whom - Barney McKenna - died in 2012 during their 50th anniversary year. Several months later, The Dubliners made their last ever appearance, on The Late, Late Show, before calling it a day. But, although the likes of Barney, Luke Kelly and Ronnie Drew have all sadly gone, the cast of Seven Drunken Nights also boasts excellent musicians and singers in their own right. Ged Graham, Danny Muldoon, Billy Barton, Paddy Ryan and Conor Elliot made a great fist of emulating The Dubliners as they narrate the story while also performing the many songs that made the band a household name.

Seven Drunken Nights
Ged Graham performs one of The Dubliners' great songs


In fact, 89-year-old Billy Barton also has a part to play in the history of The Dubliners as his father Tommy Barton, known as 'The Gentleman Busker', was the first person to be invited to play his banjo in O'Donoghue's following a ban on live music. And Billy was even given his first tin whistle from Ciaran Bourke, a member of The Dubliners, while waiting for his dad outside the pub. Seven Drunken Nights, produced by Prestige Productions and directed by Ross Mills and cast member Ged Graham - the latter of whom also wrote the show, is the ultimate live stage show packed with fabulous music and great story-telling.

Seven Drunken Nights
Show celebrates 50 years of Irish folk legends


The band opened with a two-song medley of The Black Velvet Band and The Wild Rover, before delivering a full rendition of another classic, The Irish Rover. Other great songs, such as The Leaving of Liverpool, McAlpine's Fusiliers, Finnegan's Wake, and the delightful ballad, In The Rare Old Times, continued throughout alongside lively jigs and reels, all against the backdrop of old black and white images and footage of Dublin on the screen behind. The reason for the remainder of the stage then became clear as the cast simulated the recording of their debut album in 1967, which also led to The Dubliners' televised appearance on Top of the Pops performing Seven Drunken Nights, which had been banned in Ireland but not England.

Seven Drunken Nights
Backdrop to the banning of Seven Drunken Nights in Ireland


I saw Seven Drunken Nights at the Lichfield Garrick theatre on Saturday 21st April but performances continue across the country. Further information can be found on the website here.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Forthcoming shows

25 Apr Hall for Cornwall Truro 01872 262466
26 Apr Wyvern Theatre, Swindon 01793 524 481
27 Apr Newcastle City Hall, Newcastle 08448 11 21 21
28 Apr Caird Hall Dundee 01382 431500
29 Apr Kings Theatre Glasgow 3pm and 7.30pm 0844 871 7648

Seven Drunken Nights
A catalogue of classic hits during the show


3 May Theatre Royal Brighton 0844 871 7650
4 May Playhouse Weston Super-Mare 01934 645544
5 May Queens Theatre Barnstable 01271 316063
6 May The Castle Wellingborough 01933 270007
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Why? Hear The Music Of 'Ireland's Favourite Sons'
When: Saturday 21 April
Phone: 01543 412121
Where: Lichfield Garrick, Castle Dyke, Lichfield WS13 6HR
Cost: Tickets 23.50
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by Tony Collins on 14/04/2018
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