Love, Peace and Robbery is arresting experience for actor and audience

CORK actor Aidan O’Hare’s year is off to a good start with the return of the hit play Love, Peace and Robbery in which he stars. It opens at the Everyman this evening and runs for a week.

Love, Peace and Robbery is arresting experience for actor and audience

Later this year O’Hare will feature in an episode of the third series of Moone Boy on Sky 1 in which its creator, Chris O’Dowd, not only stars but also directs. Moone Boy won an international Emmy for Best Comedy late last year.

O’Hare says that filming the episode in Ardmore Studios was “the best fun I ever had filming anything.” He plays a character called Bernard who has fallen out of love with his wife but realises something is up when she “starts acting all happy.”

O’Hare is very pleased to be back performing Gary in Irish Examiner court reporter, Liam Heylin’s crime caper. The comedy, which also stars Shane Casey as Darren and Ciarán Bermingham in a number of roles, including a dog, was first produced by Meridian Theatre Company in 2007. It has been critically acclaimed for its astute portrayal of petty criminals who can’t resist one last heist despite the fact that Gary has just been released from prison.

Keegan Theatre Company staged a production of the play in New York. It toured nationally in 2008 and it sold out at the Cork Arts Theatre in Jan 2013 and was also staged at the West Cork Fit-Up Festival last summer.

The play has also been performed for the inmates of Cork Prison. “The highest compliment we got was from the inmates who could relate to it. I remember standing outside the prison and being petrified that we were going to patronise the prisoners. It is anything but patronising. Nor is it sentimental, and it doesn’t romanticise crime. The characters are involved in crime but they have the choice to get on with living a law abiding life.”

The play is not only funny but, as O’Hare points out, it has an integrity “that comes from a true place. Liam spent time with the guys in Cork Prison so the play was born out of meetings with the prisoners and their struggle.”

But most of all Love, Peace and Robbery is an entertaining play with an element of farce. Gary is a veteran of the prison system. When he gets out of jail, he wants to fulfil his family duties. His stepson needs money to go to Old Trafford. Darren suggests robbing a sub post office. At the core of the play, directed by Dónal Gallagher, is whether the two guys will ever break free of their criminal escapades. Darren looks up to Gary and sees serving time as a rite-of-passage.

“Since Dónal came on board, the play has been tightened up,” says O’Hare. “He has also brought out the emotion in it. There are touching moments in the play. It’s a slice of life.” He admires Heylin’s writing. “For a man who’s from Waterford, Liam has absolutely nailed the Cork way of talking. The script is written phonetically. The characters are guys you often see in Cork. But you don’t have to be from Cork to get it.”

Heylin has written a new play, Hung Juror. It’s about a woman called Libby selected for jury service for the trial of a man accused of stalking his ex-girlfriend. Although the juror is told not to discuss the case, Libby, who grows cannabis in her home, ends up not just telling her husband but also investigating the case. For Heylin, court reporting clearly gives him a window into all aspects of human life.

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