Jim Nolan‘s play, Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye, complements a body of work that is as varied as it is impressive.
The cream rises to the top. What’s left is expendable . . .
As it prepares to mark the centenary of 1916 and the opening of the Memorial Peace Park changes are being forced on The Derryshannon Chronicle, a local paper once family-owned and now being absorbed into an international media conglomerate. Coyne’s old-school values and the innocent enthusiasm of a new recruit clash with the cynicism of a temporary manager whose sole interest is profit.
Add in a Latvian immigrant’s prediction of the Second Coming on Easter Sunday, a ferret on the loose at Mass, the disappearance of a solicitor with questions to answer and revelations about the burial place of one of the ‘disappeared’ to savour the exact and entertaining relevance of Jim Nolan’s provocative and probing play.
‘Jim Nolan has an unapologetic affection for small-town life. But it never blinds him to its dangers and its faults. There are distinct echoes of Lennox Robinson in his work: and that is no small compliment. And this is never more clear than in his new play Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye, set in the fictional midland town of Inishannon in the (very) near future . . . Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye is an old-fashioned, well-made play, about old-fashioned, well-tested moralities.’ — Emer O’Kelly, Irish Independent