Married to the Sea

By Shona McCarthy
Directed by Jo Emery

11th – 20th February 2010
OVO @ Sumpter Yard

13th June 2010
OVO @ Pudding Lane



Shona McCarthy’s first full-length play is a warm, funny and beautifully evoked portrayal of the decline of Galway’s old Claddagh seafaring community in the 1930s. Eight-year-old Jo, who narrates the story, is happy when she’s with her dad learning the ways of the sea, but too young to understand the meltdown taking place in her parents’ relationship and the consequences of the events she’s witnessing. Her innocent interpretations bring humour and spirit to a story that’s ultimately about the devastation of a family and a way of life. The play enjoyed a hugely successful run at the 2008 Edinburgh Festival.

Over the sea and far away
18th February 2010

SUSPEND belief and a former bookshop annexe in the city centre really does become the heart of an old Irish seafaring community in the 1930s in the hands of drama group OVO.

And it just goes to show that with the use of just a red sail and remarkably effective lighting, even the most unlikely venue and sparse staging can be transformed into an effective set.

But what really makes Married to the Sea, the play by Shona McCarthy which OVO is performing at its Sumpter Yard premises, so mesmerising is the excellent direction by Jo Emery and an enthusiastic and talented cast.

The story of the decline of Galway's old Claddagh seafaring community is narrated by eight-year-old Jo with the remaining nine parts taken by four actors.

Through the eyes of a child, we learn how the devastation of a way of life is mirrored in the disintegration of a family - yet the incorrigible spirit of the child is never entirely quelled.

Newcomer to OVO Louise Edwards gives a remarkably good performance as Jo. She brings out the humour of a child's view of the world and the shock when the happy and innocent life of a youngster goes awry.

It is never easy for an adult to play the part of a child but Louise gets it so right that you never think of her as any older than eight years.

Director Jo Emery takes the role of Mam, worn down by years of poverty, the loss of her son and an absent husband, and Belfast-born Mial Pagan is well cast as Jo's Daddy.

Kieran Cummins proves his versatility yet again in a variety of roles, ranging from Jo's childhood friend Mikey, her Granny and as the priest. Clearly an expert at quick costume changes, he imbues all the roles he takes with humour as well as more than a touch of pathos.

Completing a very talented cast is Angharad Pugh-Jones as Jo's nemesis Teresa Naughton, the cuckoo in the family nest.

Married to the Sea is very evocative - you can almost hear the gulls wheeling and the cries of the fishermen - and it is one of those plays where, if you shut your eyes, you could imagine it working just as well on radio.

It was an imaginative step to stage it in such a small performing space but it really works.



Click here to view photos.


Kieran Cummins - Mikey, Granny, Priest, Townee man, Paddy, Tim
Louise Edwards - Jo
Jo Emery - Mam
Michael Pagan - Daddy
Angharad Pugh-Jones - Teresa Naughton

Creative Team

Assistant Director - David Berryman
Lighting Designer and Operator - Dorian Brook
Sound Designer - Paul Wilkinson
Sound Operators - Josie E. Scott, Clare Myerscough
Set Designer - Jo Emery
Properties - David Berryman
Media and Graphic Designer - Adam Nichols
Front of House Manager - Toby Nichols
Production Assistants - Imogen de la Bere, Adam Nichols