Naomi Mackay watched Seven Drunken Nights: The Story of the Dubliners at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre on Sunday 19 March.
Anyone who has Irish heritage will be familiar with the music of folk legends The Dubliners. In fact, anyone who has ever been in a pub on St Patrick’s Day (17 March) will have heard their music.
Born in the iconic O’Donaghue’s pub in the southern Irish capital, the group began in the 1960s, and continued to record and tour until they announced their retirement in their 50th anniversary year in 2010, but their legacy continues, in no small part thanks to this stage show, written and directed by Ged Graham, which has played in the West End and throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe to sellout audiences.
Set mostly – and most appropriately – in a pub, the show takes us from the band’s very beginning through TV appearances and live shows, to their last performances.
Ged leads the way, narrating the story, interspersed by songs and a good bit of craic – as you would expect. A good show should always have light and shade, and this is just how it is – with singalong favourites such as Seven Drunken Nights (banned by the Irish broadcaster RTE because of its raunchy content, but which brought the band a huge amount of publicity, a number one in Ireland and a top ten hit in the UK), The Irish Rover (which produced another TOTP performance with The Pogues in the late 1980s) and The Black Velvet Band, to the more mournful, but hauntingly beautiful Fields of Athenry.
Like any good session in an Irish drinking establishment, the show finished with a good old singalong, with the audience up on their feet, clapping and dancing along to more Dubliners classics.
What a way to round off a weekend of Paddy’s Day celebrations!