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Puppetry and music combine for Mag Mell

GLÓR will be the venue on September 13 for a show entitled Mag Mell, by the Whobeganit Theatre Company.

The show is set on the mythical island of Mag Mell, off the west of Ireland, and tells tales of fairies, banshees, ghouls and pookas encountered on the roads of Ireland at twilight.

The show is the brainchild of Jon Kenny of D’Unbelievables fame, artist and puppeteer Des Dillon, as well as virtuoso musicians and composers Benny McCarthy and Conal Ó Gráda.

Conal said the show is finally coming to the stage after a long build-up. “We’ve worked on it for the last two years, I suppose. It’s set on the mythical island of Mag Mell. It kind of takes modern themes and mixes them with old spiritual themes. What you’ve got is this developer arriving on the island to build on it and he’s met by a bean feasa, a wild woman. That’s one part of the story.

“There are also four musicians involved and there’s a sub-plot with each one of those. They are brought to the island to defend it through various magical means. The show is full of puppets, music, dancing, singing and comedy.”

He said the show is fairly high-octane. “It’s real physical theatre. It’s full of surprises, full of laughs and stuff that’d take your breath away. The puppets are incredible, very colourful and the music is very good. It’s very dramatic.”

Conal’s own character is “very arrogant and full of himself and needs to be taken down a peg”. As the play goes on, the character is redeemed and that happens to the various musicians, he says. “There’s nothing wrong with them as such, they’ve just lost their way a bit and they get back on track.”

For a musician, taking part in a show like this is a new challenge. “It’s a very new experience for the musicians. We can all play but by Christ we can’t move.”

The four creators of the show are joined by bodhrán player Colm Murphy, fiddler and former TG4 Young Musician of the Year Ciarán Ó Maonaigh, concertina player and award-winning dancer Caitlin Nic Gabhanna and Ann Blake, actor and singer/songwriter.

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