Sunday 21st April 2019 at York Grand Theatre and Opera House.
If you’re looking for a lively evening of singalong and celebration, Seven Drunken Nights May well be the show for you. Prestige Productions bring to the stage a heartfelt tribute to Ireland’s ‘favourite sons’ which is as loving as it is lively.
The show gives highlights from the 50 year reign of The Dubliners from their early gigs in Donoghue’s pub to their final appearance in The Late Late Show. Most of the show is made up of re-enactments of live performances along with performances of classics from the back-catalogue including The Wild Rover, Molly Malone and the title song The Seven Drunken Nights.
Every fifth song or musical interlude is interrupted with a snippet of narration to take us on a journey through the successes, hardships, shifting members of the group and the various albums laid down. There are moving tributes to those lost alongside some jovial ‘craic’ as the cast take digs and pop jokes in charming brotherly interludes.
Ged Graham, Danny Muldoon, Billy Barton, Paddy Ryan, Conor Elliot and Max Grey take to the stage for the duration with few exits from the action giving the production authentic momentum as something often akin to a concert set-up. It’s certainly impressive to see the cast of six deliver gorgeous songs and music all evening long and there’s a general sense of pure love for the music we’re all there to enjoy. Vocal highlights lie in passionate performances from Danny Muldoon and Paddy Ryan while instrumental glory lies with Conor Elliot and Billy Barton who produce some of the most beautiful sounds to be found in this show.
Staging is minimal with the scene set via all the makings of a cosy Irish pub complete with crates of Guinness up stage and plenty of space down stage for stand up belter performances without bells and whistles. There are some less effective staged sequences which serve to show that this production is all about celebrating the simple beauty of the music more than it is a flashy tribute show, and that suits the appreciative audience just fine.
The production does make great use of cinematic capabilities, using a screen (AV Designer Dave Richardson) to project establishing graphics from TV shows and black and white clips of the original band to supplement narration while offering up ambient visuals to set the scene of ye olde Ireland along with some softer tones for the more moving numbers.
This is a great evening out for fans of The Dubliners and of Irish music. The cast actively invite singing along and subsequently you will find yourself in a room not unlike an Irish pub with a jolly bunch crooning and clapping along to their favourites as the hours tick by unnoticed.
Seven Drunken Nights continues to tour until November 22nd 2019 and you can find information on tickets and venues here.