Belfast Telegraph

Director of Provo play troubled by Irish debut

By Ken Sweeney

Both the lead actor and director of a new play about an IRA cell in New York have revealed they were "nervous" about bringing their touring production to Dublin.

Set in New York in 1972, 'The Big Fellah' tells the story of young fireman Michael Doyle who decides to live up to his Irish heritage by joining the IRA.

Soon his apartment is overrun by the charismatic 'Big Fellah' played by actor Finbar Lynch, and American IRA sympathisers who use it as a safe house for a killer on the run.

Beginning with the aftermath of Bloody Sunday, the production lays out a brief history of the Provisional IRA as witnessed by peripheral characters.

Written by English writer Richard Bean, it received strong reviews during a UK tour last year.

But both star Lynch and director Max Stafford-Clark admitted they were "nervous" about its opening night which takes place in Dublin's Gaiety Theatre on April 21.

"I was very nervous about bringing 'The Big Fellah' to Dublin. There is an impudence and cheek to it.... An English writer writing about something Irish even though five out of the seven characters are American.

"But the Troubles are part of English history as well," Max Stafford-Clark told the Irish Independent.

Lynch added: "I was a little bit nervous about doing this play in Dublin but what I think people will find more humour in it than they expected.

"The Troubles started with the civil rights movement which everyone could support but what this play asks is 'where do you get off' when it turns into something else," he said.

Tickets are available for previews of 'The Big Fellah' tonight.

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