I never thought I’d see our Troubles through the eyes of two undertakers but Gerry McSorely (BJ Hogg) is Catholic body and soul and so is his clientele whereas Basil Gray (Shaun Blaney), a fan of cult films, is the opposite his realistic corpses are true blue. There comes a time, however, when barriers are broken down and Gray steps over the line to accept bodies from the ‘other side’ and so the fun begins. As McSorely says, `Brexit, Trump and a prod funeral parlour doing catholic funerals’.
Things get worse when a young attractive Polish woman Irena Bukowski (Nuala McGowan) sets up her home of rest and is prepared to take all comers no matter what religion – or none – and a lot cheaper with a cup cake thrown in for good measure.
Four actors play a number of parts, Hogg becomes the stuttering paramilitary heavy, sun glasses would have helped distinguish him from his undertaker role, and Nuala McGowan excels as Mrs. Kennedy the cleaning woman.
Matthew McElhinney, who plays apprentice Simon Doherty, bounces his way through the action, wanting to be a rap star but working with Uncle Gerry in the meantime, not a job he relishes, shaving dead bodies all over is not his idea of fun but it is for the audience.
Writer Stephen G Large has come up with a novel way to expose our divisions and how united is better than divided. He’s one to watch, a new talent to the local scene who certainly has an ear for the Belfast wit and speech. I hope he will develop to other subjects because the Belfast scene is on the verge of being overdone. Make no mistake this play is coarse, Large obviously knows that for some reason, the ‘f’ word and a couple of ‘c’ words will bring gales of laughter but a little goes a long way and so the effect is diluted and becomes tedious. There are highlights in the plot especially the first time we see a body being prepared for embalming and the most realistic private parts are exposed – there’s a gasp from the audience and the biggest laugh of the evening. Young Simon’s reaction is truly funny.
Coffins and corpses come and go at an alarming rate in this slick production, directed by Martin Lynch, and a good night’s entertainment – bodily functions and all.
Three’s A Shroud
Until 21st October 2017.