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Cast of The Unmanageable Sisters at the Abbey Theatre. Photo © Ros Kavanagh.

130 Minutes of Rib-Tickling Comedy

Who would have thunk a sociable gathering of inquisitive neighbours would turn into such a rollicking free-for-all?

One million Green Shield stamps. Fifteen delightful characters. A single winner - Ger Lawless. Fourteen family members & neighbours to help her paste the stamps in booklets to claim her prizes. Four outspoken sisters (1 spurned). Three tolerant daughters and one fabulously feisty mother-in-law. 130 minutes of rib-tickling comedy.

The backdrop: a bustling kitchen in the Ballymun flats is the perfect Irish counterpart to Michel Tremblay's renowned Canadian play, Les Belles-Soeurs. Irish Playwright, Deirdre Kinahan affectionately refashioned Tremblay's characters based on her own interactions with her beloved mother, grandmother and aunts, mischievously renaming it The Unmanageable Sisters.

What starts as a tedious evening, half-heartedly sticking stamps for their undeserved neighbour, proves too much for these plucky mother hens. A room jammed with a brood of busybodies with sharp eyes and clucking tongues can only spell trouble. The gleeful gossip could not be repressed and one by one astonishing secrets are revealed.

Timestamped in the early 70's, we are given an astute synopsis of the plight of Irish women some half a century ago. Beholden to the church and their husbands, they had audaciously begun questioning the hierarchy.

Seldom have I had the pleasure of seeing so many terrific Irish actresses congregate on a single stage. The witty dialogue dances deftly amongst the complex interrelationships and through the poignant use of soliloquy we become privy to the private aspirations of each courageous woman.

Kinahan affirms that "working on The Unmanageable Sisters has been a joy from the start." Well, it was an absolute joy to attend. Following a hugely successful run in 2018, The Unmanageable Sisters has hit the jackpot again. I envision every performance to be packed with theater goers who will rejoice, laugh, sigh and celebrate with these marvelous women of Ballymun.

The Unmanageable Sisters runs at The Abbey Theatre until 3 August 2019

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From This Author Jini Rooney