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