• Amy Toledano

Catch Of The Day presented by Red Fox Theatre

What Is It?

Fresh from a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe, Red Fox Theatre bring their hilarious piece of gig theatre to the Vault Festival. Created by the ensemble through recorded interviews and directed by Megan Jenkins.

What Is It About?

Based on a true story, Red Fox Theatre bring to life the events of an April day in 1966 when skipper Joe Welch brought home an unusual catch in Dingle Bay, Ireland. What follows is a riotous tale involving nuns, Eamon De Valera and the Queen of England herself, portrayed by the talents of actors Callum McGuire, Ben Simon, Jonty Weston and Anna McCormick through Irish trad-inspired music and a brilliantly funny script.

How Did It Make Me Feel?

I will freely admit that I am a sucker for Irish music. There is something utterly joyous and inherently emotional about the traditions of Irish music that really resonates with me - perhaps it’s my watered down Irish heritage shining through. Whatever it may be, I came into Catch Of The Day with a smile on my face that did not leave it for the entirety of the show.

This is an (almost) unremittingly exuberant show with a naturally hilarious story which is accentuated by the energy of its ensemble cast. To coin an acting phrase, none of the cast let the ball drop in this show - in other words, their rapport with one another and the audience is such that the flow of the show’s energy does not fade or fall for an instant. While their characters are at times outlandish and absurd (think Father Ted levels of absurdity) their portrayals are focused, detailed and considered. There is nothing lazy about the comedy they bring to this show - they do not stray into the generalised broad strokes or silliness that comedy can sometimes produce, instead every action is honed and precise.

This focused energy is what then allows for the moments of poignant reflection on Ireland’s history and its politics to hit home. The figure of Eamon De Valera, while first amusingly portrayed like the Almighty in a manner reminiscent of God’s appearance in Monty Python and The Holy Grail, is a presence that casts a shadow upon the ensemble. For all the laughs, this show does not let us forget the historical pain that has shaped the Irish identity for seven long centuries. In a particularly heart wrenching song, written to the tune of Don McLean’s ‘American Pie’, the injustices of the nation’s treatment by the English is stripped bare, and it is a moment made all the more painful when framed by the brilliantly executed comedy.

For all the hilarity, there are tears that lurk beneath the surface, but the power of hope and laughter is what drives this piece and what makes it a truly excellent piece of gig theatre.

Anything Else?

The vocal talents of Anna McCormick are truly a wonder to behold. She is one of the best comic character actors I’ve seen in recent years - reminiscent of Julie Walters and Pauline McLynn. Definitely one to watch.

Alexandra x

Catch Of The Day is playing at the Cavern, VAULT Festival until the 31st January 2020.

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