Unoriginal Sin

Written by David Tristram
Directed by Brian Molloy
Performed in the The Mill Theatre, Dundrum - Tuesday 26 to Saturday 30 April 2011

Unoriginal Sin poster

On the last day of April 2011, a team of six actors and over ten support crew backstage, who became known to themselves as 'The Sinners', brought a special experience to a close. Without exception after the last performance, they described it as one of the most enjoyable productions on which they had worked.

Throughout the week of performances, and especially on the final Saturday night, they did it before a great audience that filled the Mill Theatre with laughter from beginning to end.

One of the great things about this play was that, depending on how you wished to approach it, it could serve up quite a varied menu. A full, but light bowl of nourishing laughter if that's all you fancied - or a bigger helping, if you had the appetite to explore an extra layer or two as you followed these delightfully imperfect characters through a few days in their quirky lives.

Either way, with no pretence at high art, it was very enjoyable to be in the company of these funny, unoriginal sinners for a couple of hours!

The Plough and the Stars

The writer of 'Unoriginal Sin', David Tristram, placed his story in a strong biblical context and his tongue firmly in his cheek when he included this Prologue as an introduction to the script. He describes his play as "the comedy with a little extra bite". Perhaps that's because of the biting wit and hilarious lines he puts in the mouths of his characters as some of them hiss at one another. Or perhaps it's the fact that, underneath all of the fun and frolics, it has a wry and caustic take on what happens when Eve comes in from the garden of Eden cottage and meets Mr Adams as his serpentine marriage unwinds and forbidden fruit begs to be bitten.

Director Brian Molloy brought this comedy written by David Tristram, to the main stage of the Mill Theatre in the week after Easter, from Tuesday 26 to Saturday 30 April 2011 at 8pm each night.

David Tristram

David Tristram

Comic playwright David Tristram was born in 1957 in Quarry Bank, in the West Midlands of England. He has published nineteen plays and a comedy novel. Widely performed by amateur and professional groups, his plays have parodied such pop-culture genres as soap operas and detective stories.


He studied English and Music at Birmingham University and was a commercial copywriter before turning to comedy. In 1985 he founded the Flying Ducks Theatre Company, which became a professional touring company.


Tristram's plays take a farcical view of sex, alcohol, drugs, crime, and theatre itself. He claims that he writes only comedy because he can't take himself too seriously. He usually tests his new work at a small theatre in Bridgnorth near his home in Highley before a wider release. His plays have been performed in South Africa, New Zealand, Mexico and Europe among other locations.


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Cast of Unoriginal Sin
Three of the cast members of 'Unoriginal Sin', Ciara O'Byrne who played 'Jenny', Susie Nix who played 'Eve' and Declan Brennan who played 'Bill'.


Cast of 'Unoriginal Sin' (alphabetical order)
Bill Adams
Fr Tomlin
Eve Tomlin
Jenny Adams
Declan Brennan
Francis Cahill
Len Nealon
Susie Nix
Ciara O'Byrne
Óran O'Rua
Production Manager
Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager
Lighting & Sound
Costume Design
Set Design
Set Construction
Stage Crew
Poster & Programme Design
Brian Molloy
Óran O'Rua
Aoife Braiden
Lorraine O'Hagan
Teresa Dempsey
Mark McLoughlin
Dympna Murray
Doris Cullen
Joe McCarthy
Bobby White
Muriel Caslin-O'Hagan
Aoibhinn Finnegan
Declan Brennan
Cast of Unoriginal Sin
Three of the cast members of 'Unoriginal Sin', Francis Cahill who played 'Miles', Óran O'Rua who played 'Neville' and Len Nealon who played 'Fr Tomlin'.


Picture Gallery

Photographs from productions are stored on the site. The Balally Players SmugMug account allows for the viewing and downloading of images at various sizes if high resolution pictures have been uploaded. The slideshow below can be run and stopped by clicking on the play (>) and pause (¦¦) icons. You can move forward and back by clicking on the right or left of the image. To go to the gallery of these images stored in the Balally Players pages of the SmugMug site, where you can see and download larger copies of the images, visit to see all of the available galleries of images.

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The Gardeners of Eden!

The place where the story unfolds and the characters unravel is based within the biblical context that the writer set for the play. The set, our 'Garden of Eden', was created and maintained by a creative team of over ten people, who worked hard to create the desired atmosphere for the production and ensure that it worked efficiently every night.

Unoriginal Sin - two crew members
Backstage, the 'Garden of Eden' was brought to life by a full supporting crew all of whom helped get the show ready, including Dympna Murray (left) on Costumes and Aoife Braiden (right) as Stage Manager.


Director: Brian Molloy

Brian studied Drama and Theatre at N.U.I Maynooth and has been actively involved, for over 20 years, with many theatre groups as actor and sometimes director. Favourite roles played include: Mephisto in 'Urfaust'(NUI /University of Ulster co-production) , Leo in 'Chapter Two' (Andrews Lane). Napoleon Bonaparte in 'Man of Destiny' (B.O.I Arts centre) Joey in David Mamet's 'Disappearance of the Jews' (Theatre @ 36). Owen in 'Translations' (Dalkey) & Reverend Hale in 'The Crucible' (SPARC). Brian's association with Ballaly Players goes back to 1989 and he has featured in a number of productions including roles in; 'One flew over the Cuckoo's Nest', 'The Wooden Pear', 'White Liars', 'Move over Mrs. Markham', 'London Vertigo', 'Rumours' and most recently 'Out of Order Minister' and 'How the Other Half Loves' both at the Mill Theatre.

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Director's Note - "comedy is a serious business"

Director's Note

Somebody once said that comedy is "a serious business" and bringing a production like this from the page to the stage can indeed be a very serious undertaking at times. This is especially true when cast and crew have to juggle with all those things life can throw at you like work, family commitments , illness and grief to name but a few of the hurdles that need to be overcome before reaching the rehearsal room. Yet despite all this it never failed to impress me how much hard work, dedication and downright good humour the team brought to bear in tackling the "serious business" of the work required to realise this show.


Brian Molloy

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Unoriginal Sin stage set The 'Polaroids' that started off the sorry tale told of the wicker chair in the conservatory.


Six characters brought to life by about sixteen behind them
a personal view on the play and the process that put it on stage

Those who know and like the work of David Tristram perhaps know him better for his Inspector Drake farces, which have been described as "a laughing man's Agatha Christie". In 2011 the character was launched on the big screen in 'Inspector Drake - The Movie'

Fr Tomlin attacks BillNeville finds it's all bent!

His play, 'Unoriginal Sin', is comedy rather than farce, although there are farcical elements in it. An aspect that underlines this is the extent to which the characters give the actors and the audience an opportunity to see extra layers and dimensions to them, if they want to go there. Even without the engaging characters it's a barrel of laughs, but with them it's great fun on several levels. In this respect David Tristram's work has been said to have the wit and literacy of Michael Frayn, the feel for character and situation that is found in Alan Ayckbourn's work and the farcical imagination of a Ray Cooney play.

Humour, how it works and how it's achieved is a fascinating and difficult art rather than a science. So often it's not just what is said, but how and precisely when it's said that counts and how it's sometimes combined with a subtle gesture or expression. It's also very subjective - what makes one man smile can make another man yawn.

When all that is said and done, this is a very funny play and by far the majority of the audiences who came to see it in the Mill Theatre at the end of April 2011 laughed for two hours, lauded the production and loved the play.

Fr Tomlin attacks BillWhat a cheek! - Fr. Tomlin attacks Bill

There were many of us who worked on and off stage to make director Brian Molloy's vision and ideas a reality. The result was a wonderfully fulfilling end to a couple of months of highly concentrated effort devoted to this production. The full team was about sixteen people. Some had a lot to do, others had less and at different times, but everyone took this funny business very seriously. It was not without its difficulties, mostly unforeseen personal issues or commitments that compressed the time available for rehearsal. However, in a very real demonstration of the collaboration and teamwork that characterises the best productions, the commitment to the end result and the mutual support within the group minimised the challenges. It even strengthened the resolve to get the job done really well and to have a great time doing it.

For all of us involved in making words on a page jump up and ignite an emotional response in a room full of people, performing before an audience is exciting, not least because, like anything that carries a risk, it might not work! And because it's live and done for just a few days, it's also likely to be different, even slightly or subtly, on each of those few occasions.

Fr Tomlin attacks BillBill at a rare and brief moment off stage in the wings

The constraints that limit a production like this to one week before a live audience mean that the process involved in getting to the point of performance is far longer and in some ways more intense than the playing of it on stage. So, from an actor's point of view it's little wonder that the process is often what you remember most. Hardly surprising really when you consider all that's involved - from audition, to reading the text and exploring the characters, to learning the lines and animating the words with an appropriate set of actions, movements and behaviours. All of that is as important a contributor to a sense of fulfilment as the actual delivery of the final result on stage.

If viewed only from the point of view of the balance of time and effort, the process of getting a production like this on stage is where most of the joy of learning and the fun of collaborating happens. That is not to say that what happens on stage doesn't matter - it does, but when the process works really well, what could be just hard work is transformed into something special and very worthwhile. When an audience agrees, it's magical and memorable.

This is one I won't forget - thanks to all who made it so.

Declan Brennan


A living space to bring a story alive

Unoriginal Sin stage set The stage set for 'Unoriginal Sin' was built by SceneMaker from a design by Joe McCarthy.

Our set was built by SceneMaker, a company that provides design, construction and storage facilities for musicals, plays, concerts and also corporate events. They worked with our designer, Joe McCarthy, to build and decorate the set and after the last curtain call, SceneMaker took it all away! For more details on their services, contact Bobby White on 086-814 5868, email bobby @ or visit their online presence at


'Unoriginal Sin' programme and 'Escape to Eden' artwork

Programme cover Programme cover
Programme cover Cover art for 'Escape to Eden'

The 'Unoriginal Sin' programme is available here as a PDF file (907KB). To open the document, left-click on the link above. To download a copy, right-click on the link above and select "Save as....."

The programme was created as a tri-fold, that is, an A3 sheet folded to give three double-sided pages. The PDF of the artwork has two pages, one for the outside and one for the inside panels.

The artwork for the cover of the book, which was used on stage, is shown on the right. This is one of the popular romantic novels that Bill has written and which is referred to by both Eve and Fr Tomlin. This graphic and the design work for the posters and programme was by Declan Brennan.



Rehearsal pictures

The full set of pictures taken during the technical and dress rehearsals are in the slideshow above, just below the cast and crew credits. Here's a small selection of the many pictures taken. To view and/or download any of the pictures, visit to see the '2011 - Unoriginal Sin' gallery and all of the available collections of images.

Francis Cahill
Francis Cahill (Miles)
Ciara O'Byrne and Declan Brennan
Ciara O'Byrne (Jenny) and Declan Brennan (Bill)












Óran O'Rua
Óran O'Rua (Neville)
Len Nealon and Susie Nix
Len Nealon (Fr Tomlin) and Susie Nix (Eve)













Ciara O'Byrne, Francis Cahill and Declan BrennanCiara O'Byrne (Jenny), Francis Cahill (Miles) and Declan Brennan (Bill)
Declan Brennan and Len Nealon Declan Brennan (Bill) and Len Nealon (Fr Tomlin)
Declan Brennan, Len Nealon and Susie Nix Len Nealon (Fr Tomlin), Susie Nix (Eve) and Declan Brennan (Bill) close to the end!


The Plough and the Stars


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