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TONIGHT! A Laragh, Laragh laughs!

Story by Sean McMahon

Wednesday, 30th March, 2016 3:08pm

TONIGHT! A Laragh, Laragh laughs!

Cathy McKeown and Benny Sexton in a confession box sketch.

Three decades later and Laragh still hasn’t tired of its Gala Variety Show - the 31st of which opens tonight (Wednesday), March 30. The talent and variety locally is as vibrant as ever and the laughter just never seems to stop.
Chairman of the Variety Show Committee, Benny Sexton, and one of the leading lights in the comedy sphere of the show, told The Anglo-Celt that about a hundred people are involved in this year’s production between the cast, chorus and backstage crew.
The young people in the Foróige Club play a major part in the show each year and this year is no exception. Co-ordinated by John McDonagh, the club has numerous leaders and members. The Camogie club members are also actively involved with Ita Smith and Louise Reilly the driving forces there.
“The Gala Chorus, which has been a feature of the show for years, is under the guidance of Seamus Quinn and Carmel McCaffrey. A County Chorus is also featured and that is under the direction of Caoimhe Brady and Louise Reilly.
“Our aim is to stage as broad a variety show as possible – this broad stroke of variety can run right from a recitation to Strictly Come Dancing to hip hop,” enthused Benny.
In terms of comedy, the show has always been a real winner with the public and the packed houses over the years is reflective of that prowess with the laughter factor.
In terms of comic material, Benny revealed that the recent flooding and the General Election feature strongly.
“The comedy is produced by Sean Brady and myself and our aim is to come up with new, topical and good comedy each year,” he said.
Michael Leddy has been involved with the variety show for the past 31 years and, once again, was instrumental in the compilation of the comedy mime sequence near the end of the show.
He attributes the success of the show to the great community spirit that prevails in the area, not to mention the participation of generations of families.
Sean Brady agrees: “The hidden treasure of the production year is the fact that it introduces young people to the stage and gives them tremendous confidence and an opportunity to interact.”
Patsy Smith, MC for many years, is taking a backseat on this occasion. “After 41 years in the business – time to step down,” he quipped.
Paddy recalled that they started out with the Pioneer Talent shows back in 1975 and it was the late Frank Leddy who was the chief driving force at that time. “We won an All Ireland in 1979. Then it was decided to put on an annual show in the community centre. It ran for one night then. Now it runs for four nights and is packed out each night,” he said. “I would attribute its ongoing success to the great variety that is included each year and people like to get out to see a live show,” he said.
This quality home-grown production runs from March 30 through to Saturday, April 2, nightly at 9pm. Opening night promises to be a real family affair with special rates on offer for families. The show runs for a duration of two hours and 10 minutes.

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