Last Train From Holyhead

There's a point in the torpid Last Train From Holyhead when the actor, Mick Lally, is left alone on stage waiting, it appears, for a light cue. It doesn't come- not for almost five minutes. The audience is transfixed. To watch a person do nothing at all can be fascinating. To watch Mick Lally, a man with a lifetime of exits and entrances, exquisitely communicate haunting shiftlessness, unease and dread in total silence, is a sublime experience. His breath is laboured, emitting hisses of air with a pfsssstttt, he shifts uncomfortably. When the cue does kick in, Mr. Lally directs himself to the the light, the essence of his long dead wife. He bursts into halting utterances of sorrow, the fragmenting emotional strain pulling the heavy creases of his face downwards, his azure blue eyes upwards as he shouts “I'm worn out, I'm worn out, I'm worn out!”. And then, he laughs. The mocking laugh of irony. The lights dim, there's a transition, and we're back in the play.The play, written and directed by Bernard Field, is a tale of what happens when two men, on the same train, are told by a roving psychic gypsy (Shirley Walsh) that they are long lost father (Mick Lally) and son (Tony Dowling). A familial showdown begins during a game of poker as we learn that fifty years ago the son was put up for adoption by his unwed teenage parents under pressure. A chance for reconciliation, surely. But the son refuses to concede very early on that the man is his father and maintains that position to the end. Even when begged for an occasional meeting or a drink, he refuses. This singularity results in a static drama with characters that do not develop. Immobile staging, the poker device and the relaying – not discovery – of their relationship crams this play into very small dimensions. But the presence of Mr. Lally, his enigmatic portrayal of a man destitute of expedients in the last gust of his life, is the chance to witness something far greater; bravura and undeniable magnitude.

The Blurb

Two men discover more than they bargained for as they while away the night on a train to nowhere. With the help of drink, poker and a beguiling Gipsy they encounter the truth within through the lives of each other.