Ahead of the new Ross O’Carroll Kelly stage production Between Foxrock and a Hard Place, Alyson Gray chats to actors Lisa Lambe and Aoibhinn McGinnity
South Dublin hero Ross O’Carroll Kelly returns to the stage this October with his latest play: Between Foxrock and a Hard Place. The play sees the characters deal with Ireland’s latest economic crisis, as the world the privileged O’Carroll Kelly family knew no longer exists; Renards has closed, the economy has collapsed and their beloved Foxrock is being rezoned as Sandyford East. As if this isn’t enough to deal with, a gunman trying to pull off a tiger kidnapping makes an appearance.
Ross and his family, including his wife, son and newly-discovered sister Erika gather around to find out their cut of the sale. This premise forms the backdrop for the play as the audience see the cast on stage together throughout the drama. “It’s all set in the one time period and there is no set change,” remarks Lisa Lambe, who plays the character of Sorcha Lalor. “We’re almost doing a family portrait for the audience, so they’ll see the good and bad of everyone at the same time, under pressure.”
The story continues on from the previous play, The Last Days of the Celtic Tiger, showing how the characters have been affected from the recessionary times while “making light” of the situation, as Aoibhinn McGinnity puts it. She plays Erika; famous for her vicious repertoire of put-down lines and snobbish ways. “Playing her is great because you just don’t ever get to say the comments she makes in real life, you have to just bite your lip and she doesn’t at all, or at least her face says it for her,” explains McGinnity .
With the exception of McGinnity and Après Match star Gary Cooke as the gunman, the original cast return; with Rory Nolan playing Ross, along with other familiar faces including Susan FitzGerald, Laurence Kinlan, Lisa Lambe and Philip O’Sullivan. Yet in spite of her newcomer status, McGinnity claims she felt comfortable straight away and believes: “It will be hard work, but it won’t feel that hard, because there’s so much comedy in it. It’s funny every time you read it which is great.”
Ross has become a relevant part of Irish life, making this South Dublin caricature an obvious feature of 21st century Ireland. McGinnity, a Monaghan native, claims that Ross mania is something which is apparent as soon as you cross to the south of the Liffey: “Especially if you’re not from Dublin and you come here, you notice it straight away, you know the shops you’ll see it in. It’s very funny.”
One of the primary upsides of the play, according to the actors, is how easy it is to prepare for the role. Lisa explains: “It’s great for research because normally with a play, especially if it is a very old piece, you don’t have many sources except for the written stuff, whereas this is all around you.”
Between Foxrock and a Hard Place is now on in the Olympia Theatre, until 14th November.