Painfully accurate! Copper Face Jacks: The Musical reviewed
You think you are a true culchie until you see this...
After a successful opening run last year, writer Paul Howard is back with his hilarious production about a very well-known Harcourt street setting.
The reason that Copper Face Jacks: The Musical is so funny, is that many of the stereotypes ring true. Despite the show's title, it actually isn’t just about Coppers, but about Irish culture in general. So, if you’ve perhaps been turned off by the name – we all know at least one smug person who prides themselves on having never been to Coppers – you might want to reconsider. Here's a quick summary, so you know what you're in for.
Kerry girl Noeleen (Roseanna Purcell) ventures up to the big shmoke to live her life-long dream of working a pensionable job in the VHI. She leaves behind Mossy, a culchie to the core, who happily runs his farm and milks his wind turbines every single day.
Once Noeleen settles into her Dublin bedsit, she bops down to Coppers in her fluffy Penneys pyjamas/ hoody ensemble to ask them to turn down the music because, you know, it’s a school night.
However, she gets more than she bargained for when she meets a Dub who takes her fancy. Gino (Johnny Ward) is a Conor McGregor-inspired Dublin footballer, and the Love/Hate actor oozes energy from start to finish in the role. Roseanna's vocals are spot on and every line delivered is given the light satire it deserves.
As the story develops we see Gino’s friends (a group of Gardaí) become increasingly unhappy about their county’s biggest scorer falling in love with a country gal, who just so happens to be from the same area as the team they’ll be facing in the All-Ireland final.
Noeleen's best friend from home, Lucelita – a student midwife in the big city – is played by Rachel O'Connell, who is an absolute star throughout the whole production. Her sass alone made me laugh constantly.
However, the addition of a gender-neutral American professor, Gretchen Ackerman felt unwarranted. Although Michelle McGrath, who plays the part, sang beautifully, I’m not convinced this role was needed in what was already a gas show.
Although there are more than a few differences between people from the capital and those from 'down the country', the musical appeals to both, which is one of its major selling points. Even though at times it will make you cringe, the way that Howard plays on the stereotypes is inspired. He is able to combine some superb musical numbers with some incredibly funny one-liners.
As a Cavan woman myself, I'll admit that felt unworthy of the term 'culchie' after watching Noeleen strutting her stuff on stage.
By the end, the crowd was up on their feet, dancing as if we were all in Coppers itself. If you've ever stepped foot in the door of the infamous nightclub, you will see that this musical is so accurate it's kind of scary, but in the best way. The music, the set and the characters represent a typical night on Harcourt street.
However, it was also a bittersweet night. Following the sad news of the death of Brendan Grace yesterday, last night's show was dedicated to the memory of the beloved comedian. As is theatre tradition, the crowd gave a standing ovation in remembrance of a truly talented man.
All in all, a great night of entertainment.
Copper Face Jacks: The Musical runs until Saturday 10th August, 2019. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.ie.