Live Love Laugh
Going on past experience, most autobiographical “my life” solo shows at the Fringe tend to be rather navel gazing, dull affairs, with any cathartic value normally the preserve of the performer rather than the audience.
Not so in the case of Eilish O’Carroll’s wonderfully entertaining one woman show, Live Love Laugh which is an absolute treat from start to finish. Not to mention one of the most life affirming hours I’ve ever spent in the theatre. Quite frankly if you don’t come out of this show feeling better than when you went in you have no soul.
Best known as Winnie McGoogan in her brother Brendan’s successful BBC sitcom, Mrs Brown’s Boys, Eilish comes into her own here with this reflective look on an eventful life that includes a strict Catholic upbringing, two failed marriages (one of them abusive), and coming out as a lesbian at the age of 50.
If this doesn’t sound your cup of tea you couldn’t be more wrong. There is absolutely nothing downbeat about this show. Instead it echoes Goethe’s line that “the point of life is life.”
A 50s baby, and the ninth of ten children, (Brendan was the last, usurping her as “the baby”) she describes her childhood with affection and good humour, be it straining to be heard above the rest of the brood, or attending her first confession.
Then there’s her discovery of the Big O via the hydraulics on a double decker bus. And her discovery of sex. In this respect, the pages of Jackie magazine taught her that there was nothing sinful about masturbating, while her best friend equipped her with some nonsensical urban myths regarding the facts of life.
Sex features quite a lot in the show, but never in a crude way. At one stage she was sure that there was something wrong downstairs because her sex life was unfulfilling. Catholic guilt is also in plentiful supply here. But she eventually succeeds in rising above it.
Her discovery that she was a lesbian is also tenderly handled with good humour. The end result is a warm, witty triumph that joyously celebrates being true to yourself. And you can’t ask for more than that?
Alan Chadwick, STV Entertainment
Well that’s it. Done and dusted, but boy oh boy what a show. Where ever you live if there is a theatre anywhere within a 50 mile radius from you check its Winter 2014 / Spring 2015 events calendar and if you are fortunate enough to see Eilish O’Carroll’s production “Live, Love, Laugh” in the upcoming events section book it straight away.
What a show, it has everything, nostalgia, history, pathos, comedy, truth and above all some very sound advice. It has just played two sell-out performances in St. Fursa’s Headford and received two very well deserved standing ovations. Brendan O’Carroll (of Mrs. Browns Boys fame and Eilish’s younger brother) is not the only O’Carroll who can pen a script, Eilish has a winner on her hands and it’s no wonder that it received five stars at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year. Everyone should go and see this production and if nothing else it should be used as a topic of conversation and education.
Congratulations Eilish on a wonderful, thought provoking night of theatre and a big thank you to all of the people who turned out in their hundreds to see this brilliant show.
A ROAR FROM THE HEART, controlling through vulnerability … Eilish O’Carroll’s Headford performance was a searing success last night and left the crowd humming and smiling and buzzing in a warm “aren’t-we-all-wonderful” glow …we can’t wait for the same all over again tonight & are blessed to live practically within walking distance of this remarkable heart-searching and terrifyingly honest dramatic event … Eilish had the audience eating out of her hands from the moment she stood on stage – petitely, like an Irish Edith Piaf – to the very last hum-along note of “you gotta live, you gotta love, you gotta laugh …”
Striking notes of pathos, humour, sadness,determination and heart-stopping mirth, Eilish showed that she is indeed her mother’s daughter, with immediately recognisable similar characteristics of un-stoppability, determination and true grit… she is the offspring of a woman who was decades ahead of her time and one who also visited Headford on her own particular personal mission, sixty-six years ago in January 1948. You have to have nerves of steel to do what Eilish does, putting it all out there in the hope that it comes back to you, and it all came back to her last night by the barrow load …
It was a “home crowd” in everything but name because Eilish’s grandfather was born just over the road from Headford in the parish of Caherlistrane and she mentioned all of those links and connections in her opening and closing remarks … they reeled us in hook, line and sinker and she was pushing an open door from that point on …It’s an extraordinary feat to pull off, controlling a crowd through extreme vulnerability but that’s what she did … it’s risky and heart-stopping high-wire stuff but Eilish has the required personality, intellect, acute observational skills, comic timing and burning desire to tell HER story to pull it off … and it’s such a turbo-boosted sugar rush when it works … please do yourselves a real favour and get your hands on tickets for this show if it’s coming anywhere within an asses roar of you in the next few weeks because it’s the real deal, a genuine roar from the heart.
Mary J Murphy