As a teenager, Cork native Mick Flannery wrote Creak In The Door, a song about the tension of familial relationships in a small town. When studying music a few years later, this served as the basis for his 2007 debut, ‘Evening Train’.
Flannery had originally intended to write a musical, but dialogue proved a challenge, and so ‘Evening Train’ became a concept album with a simple narrative thread. Flannery went on to have a successful career as a critically acclaimed and award-winning songwriter-songwriter, with a number of people approaching him throughout the years to broach the idea of performing his debut album on stage or screen.
This June, over a decade later, ‘Evening Train’ the musical will premiere at Cork Midsummer Festival, opening Friday June 14th, and running until Sunday June 23rd.
It was University College Cork alum Ursula Rani Sarma that rang Flannery to say she was interested in writing an adaption of ‘Evening Train’ for the stage. “The first time I listened to Evening Train, the world and the characters within it sprang to theatrical life in my mind” Rani Sarma explains. “I felt instinctively that this album could become a beautiful, and memorable night in the theatre. It’s been an honour to create a play that weaves around these incredible songs and a real joy to work with Mick in the development of this production”.
From her early play ‘Blue’, detailing coming of age in a small town in Ireland, to her more recent TV work with ‘Red Rock’ and Dawn French’s ‘Delicious’, Rani Sarma’s wealth and breath of experience promises to deliver a successful stage adaption of the critically acclaimed album. “I think she’s done a wonderful job of bringing the world to life, giving more meat to the characters, adding and subtracting with her knowledge of the theatre world” praises Mick, “I’ve had a great time working with Ursula. It has been a long road getting this play to the stage and I thank everybody involved.”
The musical, directed by Annabelle Comyn, features a stellar cast of Irish actors – Charlie Bonner, Brian Doherty, Deirdre Donnelly, Ger Kelly, Ian Lloyd Anderson, John McCarthy, Kate Stanley Brennan – and a live band that includes Flannery himself. In the story of ‘Evening Train’ itself we meet Grace, who dreams of a new life far away from her hometown, as she waits for Luther – who is late, again. Elsewhere in town, bartender Frank surrenders yet another pay check to cover his reckless brother’s gambling debts, while Luther promises Grace that by Christmas, he’ll have made enough money to get them out of town. Before long, a high stakes game is underway, in which everyone is a player, whether they like it or not.
It promises to be a must-see event on this year’s theatre calender.
‘Evening Train’ will run nightly from Thursday 13th – Sunday 23rd June, 7.30pm. Tickets €25, concession €30, students €25, are on sale now from everymancork.com or from the Box Office.