Larne Drama Circle: curtain falls on production of 'Juno and the Paycock'

The curtain has fallen on Larne Drama Circle’s production of 'Juno and the Paycock’, which entertained audiences for three nights at the McNeill Theatre.
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The play – the 150th to be staged by the Circle - took place as the group marks their landmark 75th year.

There was a full house at the local venue for the final show on Friday, March 1, including Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna.

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With a detailed set evoking life in a 1920s Dublin tenement, the action centres around the Boyle family of Juno, her husband ‘Captain’ Jack, and their adult children Mary and Johnny.

Jim Shields as 'Needle' Nugent; Beth Alexander as Maisie Madigan; Simon Hunter as Joxer Daly; Alison McCubbin as Juno Boyle; Jay Alexander as 'Captain' Jack Boyle; Claire Millar as Mary Boyle, and Evan Morrow as Johnny Boyle in Larne Drama Circle’s production of 'Juno and the Paycock'.  Photo: Paul McIlwaine LRPSJim Shields as 'Needle' Nugent; Beth Alexander as Maisie Madigan; Simon Hunter as Joxer Daly; Alison McCubbin as Juno Boyle; Jay Alexander as 'Captain' Jack Boyle; Claire Millar as Mary Boyle, and Evan Morrow as Johnny Boyle in Larne Drama Circle’s production of 'Juno and the Paycock'.  Photo: Paul McIlwaine LRPS
Jim Shields as 'Needle' Nugent; Beth Alexander as Maisie Madigan; Simon Hunter as Joxer Daly; Alison McCubbin as Juno Boyle; Jay Alexander as 'Captain' Jack Boyle; Claire Millar as Mary Boyle, and Evan Morrow as Johnny Boyle in Larne Drama Circle’s production of 'Juno and the Paycock'. Photo: Paul McIlwaine LRPS

Director, Alison McCubbin took on the role of the long-suffering Juno, with the dynamic duo of Jay Alexander as her husband Jack and Simon Hunter as his equally work-shy ‘butty’ Joxer Daly.

They were joined on stage by a diverse range of characters, from Mary’s (Claire Millar) competing suitors Jerry Devine (Fred Gales) and Charlie Bentham (Jonathan Temples) to Beth Alexander, who made a musical turn as the Boyle’s neighbour Maisie Madigan.

Comedic quips like “you're never tired o' lookin' for a rest” and Joxer’s frequent proclamations of “darlin’” were interspersed with poignant monologues – particularly those delivered by Mrs Tancred (Margaret Steward) and Juno herself at the play’s tragic conclusion.

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The reality of the political situation at the time was driven home by Evan Morrow as Johnny Boyle, a young man left severely wounded by the events leading up to the Irish Civil War.

The play has been met with rave reviews on social media by audiences who attended the three-night run. “The amount of work involved was evident in every scene,” an audience member commented. “Enjoyed it from beginning to end.”

Others praised the play as a “superb production at every level” and an “amazing performance”, while another added: “[It] brought back memories from English Lit, some years ago now!”

Commenting on their Facebook page, Larne Drama Circle expressed their thanks to all of those who came to see the play. “We hope we have moved and entertained you - each and every time we take to the stage we are overwhelmed by your support,” the group added.

“We'll be back in the McNeill Theatre in Autumn 2024 with our 151st production.”