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Death Of Australian Comedian, Actor, Author, Satirist, Barry Humphries.

“I was born with a priceless gift, the ability to laugh at the misfortunes of others.”
“Australia is an outdoor country. People only go inside to use the toilet, and that’s a recent development.”,
Above quotes from the great stand-up and now late comedian, John Barry Humphries (1934-2023).

Television viewers here in Co. Tipperary and indeed far beyond, will be greatly saddened by the news of the death of Australian comedian, actor, author and satirist, Mr John Barry Humphries [Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) & Order of Australia (AO)], who passed away today, aged 89 years.

Mr Humphries was best known for writing and playing his on-stage and television alter egos of Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson.

Although best known to his audiences for his delivery of deliberate irrationality and absurdist humour, Mr Humphries was also a film producer; script writer; a star of London’s West End musical theatre; a writer and a landscape painter.

His alter egos of the lilac-rinsed haired Dame Edna Everage evolved over a forty year period, latter to become a satire of stardom; while his portrayal of an inebriated, boorish, loud-mouthed, uncouth and uncultured, ‘cultural attaché to the Far East’, in the character of Sir Les Patterson, over the past 30 years became a regular feature in his solo theatrical appearances, both in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Having entertained on stage and screen for over ​70 years, we understand that Mr Humphries tripped on a rug, while reaching for a book, back in February, latter resulting in him requiring surgery at St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia. He had been readmitted to hospital just this week, yet despite his accident, he had fully expected to be back and fighting fit within weeks, but sadly he never recovered.

His passing means the loss of one of our all-time great stand-up comedians.

Oíche mhaith, possum – In ár gcroíthe go deo.


Sudden Death Of Comedian Paul O’Grady MBE DL.

Late Paul O’Grady, R.I.P.

Sadly, we wake up to news of the death, yesterday, of the well-known and much loved comedian, television and radio presenter, actor, drag queen and writer Mr Paul O’Grady, MBE DL. [Order British Empire – Deputy Lieutenant].
Mr O’Grady achieved notability in the London gay scene in the 1980s and 1990s, with his drag queen persona “Lily Savage”.

Mr O’Grady dropped the latter character in the 2000s, to become the presenter of various television and radio shows, including the much loved ‘The Paul O’Grady Show’.

Born to a working-class Irish migrant family, [Father Paddy Grady Co. Roscommon & mother Molly Savage latter with strong Co. Louth connections], in Tranmere, Cheshire, Mr O’Grady moved to London in the late 1970s, initially working as a travelling care officer for Camden Council.
He developed his drag act in the late 1970s, basing his character “Lily Savage” upon traits found amongst female relatives.

Touring England, Mr O’Grady became a popular stand-up comedian in the early 1980s and for the next eight years performed at a South London gay pub, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT), where he gained a popular following among London’s gay community, and used his character to speak out for gay rights.

Having being nominated for a ‘Perrier Award’ (now known as Dave’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards), in 1992, Mr O’Grady attracted mainstream attention, making numerous television, radio, and theatrical appearances.

Later as “Lily Savage”, he presented the television shows The Big Breakfast (1995–1996), Blankety Blank (1997–2002), and Lily Live! (2000–2001), earning various awards and becoming a well-known public figure.

Additional television shows included Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs, Paul O’Grady’s Animal Orphans and Paul O’Grady’s Great British Escape (2020). He published several books, including a four-volume memoir.

Mr O’Grady was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2008 – Birthday Honours list for his services to entertainment.
In 2020, he became president of the British Music Hall Society.

Sadly yesterday, March 28th, 2023, Mr O’Grady passed away “unexpectedly but peacefully” aged 67 years. His death was confirmed by his husband, Mr André Portasio.

In ár gcroíthe go deo.


Thurles Tops 40th Tipp Drama Festival in Holycross, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Tom Ryan Reports:

The 50 years old Thurles Drama Group were accorded a very enthusiastic standing ovation at the conclusion of Conor McPhearson’s “The Seafarer”, in a packed St. Michael’s Community Centre Holycross, last week.

It was a truly sterling and hugely entertaining production that last Sunday night saw them scoop the awards for Best Production (The Tipp FM Trophy) presented by Geraldine O’Neill to Johnny Fogarty; Best Tipperary Play (Dr. Morris Cup), Most Entertaining Play (Hannifin Trophy) and Best Producer (Frank Gleeson Award) to Margaret McCormack Purcell.

Picture Courtesy Thurles Drama Group

The Tipperary Star cup for Best Play in the Confined Category went to Harvest Moon (“God of Carnage”) and Stephen Gleeson of the Tipperary Star was present.

Thurles, who have appeared in eight All-Irelands at Athlone had qualified for this year’s All-Ireland also in Athlone, with four festival wins achieved before Holycross. And this may not be the end of the Thurles success story. The national finals will be held in late April or early May.

The nine top groups who competed were from as far away as Lifford in Donegal and Rossmore in West Cork and a number of top thespians with professional experience were present in the audience including a member of RTE’s “The Offenders” from Cobh.

So also were many faithful festival fans from all over Tipperary and further afield. Festival Director for the last 40 years, Mr Donal Duggan, paid tribute to these great amateur theatre folk for their dedication; people he said who all have jobs to go to in the mornings after the show and after along journey for many miles through the nights and mornings for months from October onwards.

The Festival committee in Holycross also had dedicated much time and effort into organizing this wonderful festival the only one of its kind in County Tipperary. The Adjudicator, whose insightful remarks were appreciated by discerning and theatre loving audiences, was Mr Peter O’Driscoll. He was an actor, designer, and director with Strand Players and many other companies.

The hard working committee, who deserve to be congratulated on their trojan efforts, comprised of Very Rev. Celsus Tierney (President), Donal Duggan (Festival Director), Tommy Lanigan (Chairman), Claire Ryan (Secretary), Maudie Bourke and Tommy Lanigan (Joint Treasurers), Geraldine O Neill (PRO), Marty O’Neill and Ger O’Dwyer (sponsorship), Diana Lacey (Raffle), Marty O’Neill and Paddy Connolly (Technical), and Marie Spillane, Peg Ryan Elaine O’Dwyer, Andy Slattery (Committee).

The Sub Committee comprised of Jack Henchion, John Glasheen, Aishling Henchion, Gerry Kennedy, Derek Doherty and Jim Fin.

The popular festival continues to attract many loyal fans and also new faces including Presentation Thurles secondary school teacher Deborah Harty.

What Splendid entertainment we had in the picturesque village from Ireland’s top theatre groups performing top plays from tragedy to comedy.

It is also a great social occasion when friendships are formed or renewed. It is one of the most convivial occasions of the year and, of course, the tea breaks and Diana Lacey’s raffles for splendid prizes are all an integral part of the occasion always.

The large attendances included Archbishop (Emeritus) Dermot Clifford, a faithful festival fan, Denis Carroll Clonoulty, Tom Purcell Littleton, Josephine O’ Gorman Thurles, Mary Moore Thurles, Pat Maher Freighduff Cashel, Nora Maher Thurles, Martin Fitzgerald Holycross, Michael and Mary Blake Thurles, John Quinlan and friends Moyne, Comedian Tim Curran Thurles, top actresses Patricia Lowry and Jacqui Lacey Thurles and Cashel.

Other Awards.
GALLAGHER AWARD – for most promising actor/actress – Siobhain Corcoran Helen (The Cripple
of Inishmaan”)
BEST SET OVERALL- Josie Slattery Award – (Blithe Spirit”): Kilmeen D.G.
BEST LIGHTING: – Declan McCarthy – (“The Father”): Brideview D.G.
BEST SOUND: – Zara Holmes – (“When Elephants Collide”): Lifford Players.
1st ADJUDICATOR AWARD: – For Live Music – (“Playboy of the Western World”): Hinterland.
2nd ADJUDICATOR AWARD : – Allison Murphy as the Maid – (”Blithe Spirit”): Kilmeen.


‘Made In Dagenham’ – All Set For Stage In Premier Hall, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Cast of Thurles Musical Society 2023

Thurles Musical Society (TMS) is all set to stage the hit show ‘Made in Dagenham’, which opens in the Premier Hall, Thurles on Tuesday evening next, March 28th, and runs until Saturday April 1st.

Three years after it had been originally billed, this brilliant show, (latter centred around a strike in the Ford factory in Dagenham in Essex, London, dramatizing the Ford sewing machinists strike of 1968, and aimed at obtaining equal pay for women), is all set for the stage, with Director Oliver Hurley having collaborated with Musical Director Mary Rose McNally and Dance Captain Siobhan King, to bring this stunning piece of theatre to life.

TMS had originally planned to stage this show in 2020, but Covid 19 put paid to their plans. Thankfully the majority of the cast and chorus has returned for this run, with a number of notable additions as well. In fact, almost a cast of sixty will don costume for the show, bookings for which can be made through Gr8events.ie or at Bookworm, Thurles from Thursday March 23rd – Saturday 25th, between 11:00am-2:00pm.

There is huge interest in this production locally and it is anticipated that many regular show goers will travel from distance to enjoy what is still, a relatively new show. Patrons are encouraged to book tickets early, so as to secure the seat you wish to have.

Among the main role players are Fiona Delaney (Rita), John Hayes (Eddie)(John is also joined on stage by his children Éanna and Fiadh)Brendan Bailey (Harold Wilson), Linda Ryan (Barbara Castle), Barry Derby (Monty), Frank Tuohy (Tooley), Peter Donnelly (Barry), Therese Murphy (Sandra), Mary Callanan (Beryl), Denise King (Claire), Siobhan King (Cass), Nina Scott (Connie), John Butler (Mr Hopkins), Cole Flanagan (Cortina Man) and Deirdre Hayes (Lisa). There are also roles for Geraint Fyler, Peter Stockborough, Finbarr Shelly and Gerard O’Hagan – it is indeed a big cast.

The set and stage are in the final throes of preparation by Anthony Kirby (Stage Manager), Rita Dempsey (Stage Director) and their teams, while the orchestra members under the guidance of Mary Rose McNally are also fine tuning their work.

In total, there will be well over 100 people involved in this production– a real community event and Thurles Musical Society is most appreciative of all the support received so far. Anyone wishing to submit subscriptions or patronage would be very welcome to do so – simply place your sub into an envelope and address to Thurles Musical Society, Hickey’s Pharmacy, Liberty Square, Thurles.

So make sure to get along to the Premier Hall next week and witness a great piece of local theatre right on your doorstep.

[Prepared to be entertained, but please note the show does contain some strong language.]


Death Announced Of Chaim Topol.

Israeli actor, singer, and illustrator, Chaim Topol (also spelled Haym Topol), sadly passed away yesterday, March 8th, 2023, aged 87 years.

Mononymously known to most people as Topol, he is possibly best known for his portrayal of the character ‘Tevye’, in the musical ‘Fiddler on the Roof’.

He was a founder of ‘Variety Israel’, latter an organization serving children with special needs, and ‘Jordan River Village’, a year-round camp for Arab and Jewish children with life-threatening illnesses.

In 1956 he married Ms Galia Finkelstein, with the couple having three children; one son and two daughters.

Topol’s first film appearance was in the 1961 film ‘I Like Mike’, followed by the 1963 Israeli film ‘El Dorado’. His breakthrough role came as the lead character in the 1964 film ‘Sallah Shabati’.
In 1966, Topol made his English-language film debut as ‘Abou Ibn Kaqden’ in ‘Cast a Giant Shadow’.

His numerous TV appearances included ‘War and Remembrance’; ‘Queenie’; ‘The Winds of War’; ‘The House on Garibaldi Street’, and ‘The Going Up of David Lev’.

His Awards included; Kinor David Prize, (latter an Israeli cultural award), in 1964; Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer—Male, in 1964; Golden Globe for Best Actor, in 1971 and Israel Prize, in 2015, latter an award bestowed by the State of Israel, and regarded as the state’s highest cultural honour.

In ár gcroíthe go deo.