It Runs In The Family

Written by Ray Cooney
Directed by Karen Carleton
Performed in Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire, January 2003

First published in 1990, this play, like so much of Ray Cooney's work, involves the cast in expending vast amounts of energy of all sorts, nervous, emotional and whatever else they can muster! The production moved the story from its original British setting to Dublin, but preserved everything else about this fast paced, fun-filled farce.

Rosemary Mortimore (Patricia McConville), Dr David Mortimore (Kevin Fahey), Jane Tate (Claire Joyce)

Jane Tate (Claire Joyce), Rosemary Mortimore (Patricia McConville)

The cast of 'It Runs in The Family'
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About the Show

Set in a Dublin hospital the show revolves around Dr Mortimer. He is having an exasperating day. He is giving an important lecture at midday. A visit from Nurse Tate, a nurse that he had an affair with sixteen years ago brings bad news, a son!. Dr Mortimer entangles his work mates, patients and others in a web of lies in order to keep his wife and the rest of the hospital from finding out about his little "indiscretion".


This is only the start of Dr Mortimer's complications Leslie, his new son is drunk and in the hospital with a police escort demanding to see his father. There are two hundred neurologists waiting for him to give them the prestigious Noel Browne Lecture . Mrs Mortimer is roaming around the hospital dangerously close to discovering the truth about Nurse Tate, who she believes, is Mrs Leslie or is that Mrs Tate or perhaps the dog is called Leslie?


Dr Mortimer's intricate web of lies begins to unravel. He decides there is only one solution and it involves two men in drag, two vicars, three matrons (one unconscious), Mr Leslie from ward C and some frilly knickers. The result is an audience full of belly laughs and tears.

Dr. David Mortimore
Dr. Mike Connolly
Rosemary Mortimore
Dr. Hubert Bonney
Jane Tate
Garda Sergeant
Kevin Fahey
Hugh Gallagher
Patricia McConville
Brian Molloy
Doris Cullen
Paul Sharpe
Claire Reilly
Brian Slattery
Triona Daly
Geoffrey O'Keeffe
Gerry Doyle
Jean Monahan
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Review of 'It Runs in the Family' at the Pavilion Theatre

There was a great buzz in the foyer of the Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire on Friday January 24, prior to the Balally Players show. Saturday night was booked out, we heard, and just a few seats left for this evening’s performance. Members of Sandyford Little Theatre were out in force as were many local theatregoers. The support from the west of the county was excellent.

From the moment the lights went up and from the first laugh a few seconds later, it was obvious that the company had a hit on their hands. Fast and furious the laughs came. Kevin Fahey was superb, driving the show along at a tremendous pace. His role as the harried doctor in St. Fintan’s with the wife and the girl friend plus son meant that he was on-stage for most of the play. His professionalism and comedy technique was remarkable. He was well supported by his sidekick Dr. Bonney played superbly and with great aplomb by Brian Molloy. Patricia McConville made a very welcome return to the stage with an assured and fluid performance as the wife while Ballinteer actress Claire Reilly gave a stunning performance as the dizzy girlfriend. The young punk was delivered by Brian Slattery from Taney whose acting shone with talent and energy and who gave a very strong performance. All of the characters were well cast. Jean Monahan, Paul Sharpe and Gerry Doyle gave outstanding performances as the more mature members of the cast while Doris Cullen’s matron brought the house down with laughter on several occasions. Geoffrey O'Keeffe played the Garda as only a man from Cavan can and Triona Daly had a delightful cameo as the nurse.

Later in the evening I asked the director Karen Carleton if the group intended to continue to play the Pavilion. Surely it was too expensive a venue for an amateur group? She agreed that it was an expensive undertaking-but feels that there is an audience for comedy at the Pavilion. Last year’s show ‘ Don’t Dress for Dinner’ did very good business and having sold well with this week proves that laughter is the key to a mid winter success. So what’s next for Balally? Karen tells me that the group has an entry in the Bray Festival early in February and a play for the USA in May. I asked if we would see another Shakespeare at Airfield this summer and I’m told rehearsals will begin in March.

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