‘Maiden Aunt’ staged at Portstewart church

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ANOTHER year and another treat for the patrons of Portstewart Presbyterian Church’s annual comedy play presentations.

The event this season will be in the church hall complex in Central Avenue on Saturday, 9th February, at 7-30pm when Garvagh and Finvoy Young Farmers’ Clubs will made a welcome return after delighting audiences last year with “A Wake In The West”.

Their chosen work for the Events Committee will be what has been described as a rip-roaring comedy called “The Maiden Aunt” by Irish playwright Jimmy Keary.

The three-act play tells the story of wealthy retired teacher and spinster, Gertie O’Grady, who comes to stay with her niece, Mary Murphy, and family after a spell in hospital.

Things don’t go quite to plan but Gertie’s very loving family is more than keen to look after her, or rather her money! Mary tries to get her aunt to make a will. When Gertie apparently ‘dies’, Mary’s husband, Dan comes up with an elaborate plan to get their hands on her wealth.

Jimmy Keary uses many of his real-life experiences in his characters’ names, scenes and behaviour. “The Maiden Aunt” was loosely based on a short story he wrote in the 1970s.

Idiosyncrasies such as the aunt needing her tea strained because of a bad stomach, or having seen “The Full Monty” as a film and giving Mary’s son the profession of an entertainer, all add authenticity to roles.

The dubious hit “Combine Harvester’’ features, as does the international dislike of the electronic music which plays on phones in businesses when customers are left hanging on.

The play premiered in Killala, Co. Mayo, in February 2000 and now premiers in Portstewart next month.

Tickets are priced at £5 and are available from Toms’ Butchers and McIntyres’ Newsagency, Promenade, the Church office, Central Avenue, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday mornings, or Impact Printing, Diamond Arcade, Coleraine (mornings).