The Playhouse

Seven Drunken Nights

March 2020

One night of drunken fun

What could be more welcome in these strange, sober times than a pint-shaped dollop of good old Irish ‘craic’, delivered by one of the most influential folk bands ever to come from across the water?

Well, not exactly delivered by them, but by a group of musicians as near as dammit to the sound and spirit of The Dubliners, the heavily-bearded ragtag bunch of pub regulars who got together in the early 1960s and without trying too hard, changed the perception of Irish music the world over.

Seven Drunken Nights is the story of that band, told mainly through the songs they  - Ronnie Drew, Luke Kelly, Barney McKenna, Jim McCann, Ciaran Bourke and John Sheahan - wrote and collected over their 50 years of existence.The award-winning show is fronted up by Danny Muldoon and Ged Graham, two excellent entertainers who, while not impersonating any particular member of the original band, seem to embody the spirit of them all.

They’re accompanied by instrumentalists Paddy Ryan and Conor Elliot, and between them this fine set of musicians whip their way through the

classics including The Black Velvet Band, Rocky Road to Dublin, The Irish Rover, Raglan Road and, of course, Seven Drunken Nights, the tune that landed them a Top of the Pops appearance in 1967.

The era is covered well, as is their various recording sessions, not least with acclaimed Irish songwriter Phil Coulter.

The second half is much more whistle-stop, taking in the deaths of various members while reminding the audience that the band’s music will live forever.

Naturally, there’s more than a little Paddywhackery going on at all levels, but that aside, the entertainment never lets up and the band do a fine job of involving us in the singalongs. In all, a great night out and a real antidote to the current health crisis.

This show was for one glorious night only on Sunday, March 15, at The Playhouse, Weston-super-Mare.

Tom Henry

SOBERING SEVEN: The tale of one of Ireland’s best-loved folk bands has been brought to life in a touring musical, which arrives at Weston Playhouse this Sunday, March 15. Seven Drunken Nights: The story of The Dubliners is a rollicking account of the band which formed in – surprise, surprise – Dublin in 1962. They quickly became well known across Ireland and internationally for their lively, often humorous folk songs, and even appeared on Top of the Pops in 1967. The band drew criticism in their own country from folk purists, and were even banned from RTE, the country’s broadcaster, for a few years. Nevertheless, the band proved overwhelmingly popular among the people of Ireland and as time went on won many awards for their work. The musical follows the lives, times and songs of founder members including Ronnie Drew, Ciaran Bourke, Luke Kelly and Barny McKenna, among others. Sadly, none of these giants of Irish music are still alive, but their legend lives on in this musical, and the endearing songs for which they became famous. Seven Drunken Nights – The story of The Dubliners is at Weston Playhouse on Sunday March 15, 7.30pm. For tickets visit https://www.parkwoodtheatres.co.uk/Playhouse-Theatre

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