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Forty-Seven Roses: An Evening with Peter Sheridan at Waterloo East Theatre

Fiona Doyle

The passing of Peter Sheridan's father is at the centre of this one-man show and acts as a catalyst for a multitude of anecdotes about the intricacies of family life in 1960s Dublin.

The setting is simple; two small tables, a chair and some flowers are Sheridan's only props. The rest is down to him and his memories. The central story line is that of the triangular relationship between Sheridan's Ma and Da and Doris. Doris was the other woman in his parent's marriage and a big skeleton in the Sheridan family closet. Discovering and understanding the difficult truth behind this long-kept secret is Sheridan's main focus. Yet the performance of this personal family saga never wallows in self-pity and manages to find wit even in the darkest of closet corners.

Sheridan is a softly spoken man with an agreeable stage presence and as the evening progresses, he succeeds in making his audience empathise with him and the individuals he obviously cares so deeply for. At times, character differentiation is a little too subtle and occasionally, an accent will slip or a song might be sung slightly off key. But the story remains compelling thanks to Sheridan's neatly woven narrative and ability to strike the right balance between tragedy and comedy. The everyday becomes remarkable and in a strange way, the remarkable becomes everyday. By the end, we feel an affinity with Sheridan, his family and Dublin – the backdrop of all his childhood endeavours and the place he lives in to this day.

One of two memoirs written by Sheridan, this dramatic interpretation is directed by Maggie Byrne, produced by Sheila Sheridan and runs as part of Waterloo East Theatre's Irish Season until 22 May.

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