By Owen Ryan
HAVING first come to prominence in the 90s the Nualas are on the road again and will be in Ennis next week, coming to Glór on Saturday, April 26.
Anne Gildea is one of the group and she says they are defying a convention that women in entertainment vanish from the scene after a certain age. She also says that the group has changed focus somewhat since the early days. “Obviously your motivation is different when you’re older. Now, we’re not that much older, but I find it more fun, there’s more depth in what we can talk about and it’s more interesting to do now. In showbiz, you’re supposed to disappear when you get a bit older, if you’re out of your thirties as a woman you’re supposed to disappear or something.”
The current show builds on the alter egos developed when they first burst on the scene. “The basic Nuala show started in the 90s and the conceit of the group was that it was a super group, but from a country background. It was like we were as comfortable on the tractor in our sequinned wellies as we were grabbing a Concorde to wherever we were going, it was very much that vibe. When we got back together the vibe was that here we were getting on with, the conceit now is that people are saying ‘you love what you do, you love it so much you couldn’t stay away from it’ but we go ‘Well no, it’s more to do with the fact that we’re broke!’ The humour now is a little bit more edgy, it has all the experience of being battered around by life, that we were the supergroup but now we’ve been knocked around by life.”
Anne and Susan Collins have been in the group since the start, but the third member changed four times in the seven years of their first incarnation.
When they decided that they wanted to get back on the road again, filling the vacancy was the first step. “We wanted to get the group back together again and we were asking ourselves who will we find who’s mad enough in their 40s to do this?”
In the end they signed up Maria Tecce, a Boston native, and Anne says the three complement each other. “There’s an interesting combination between us all. Sue would be really into mad stuff, I am kind of into issues but what we do isn’t issue-type stuff and then Maria is just a brilliant musician.”
She says that when they have performed abroad there has been more of a focus on their music, but in Ireland people focus almost exclusively on their comedy. “We were going on the Afternoon show on TV3 and we were going through the song before going on. We were rehearsing and someone there said; ‘Oh my God, you can really sing’. But that’s the basis of the group, it’s very grounded in good music and good harmonies.”
A lot of preparation goes into their songs, while she says they don’t set out to shock with the comedy. “When we rehearse the songs we do them over and over and over. We rehearse and structure the songs very seriously and we try to make them as mad as possible!
“We don’t do deliberately outrageous stuff and we’re not unPC. Maybe much older people might be a bit offended, we do talk about sex, but not in a smutty way, we’re definitely not smutty and not gratuitous. I consider what we do to be quite clever.”