The moral of the story from the All-Ireland winning sketch called ‘The Great Pretender’ by the talented Carnew Emmets Scór team has to be the value of having a spare pair of glasses in your house in case your everyday set are lost or broken.
his was the valuable lesson learned by the lead character called Seamus who very nearly lost one of his most prized possessions in an attempted, bare-faced robbery by a supermarket employee by the name of George due to the absence of his trusty spectacles.
The 10-minute performance from the cast of James ‘Bear’ Doran, Fergus Kinsella, Thomas D’Arcy, Emma Culkin, Tom Culkin and John O’Hara brought the house down in the variety act category at the national Scór Sinsir finals in Castlebar on Saturday evening and beat off strong opposition from the other three provinces to claim the All-Ireland title.
Assisted ably by Christine Kinsella behind stage, the Co. Wicklow and Leinster champions defeated Roscommon’s St Dominic’s, Newport from Tipperary and Donegal’s An Clochán Liath at a very enjoyable event in Mayo.
The clever and hilarious sketch drew inspiration from a variety of sources it seems. As well as references to current day events, one could taste notes of the finest crime thrillers from the likes of Agatha Christie, be transported back to Aesop’s ‘The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg’, sniff the distinct aroma of Charles Perrault’s ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ and feel the temperature rise during steamy moments that seemed to be inspired by the more provocative Mills and Boon publications.
The sketch opened with the lively Seamus, played superbly by James ‘Bear’ Doran, beginning to explain a clever plan to his somewhat harmless but very helpful friend, portrayed with incredible accuracy by sharp local solicitor Fergus Kinsella, about his intentions to impress a beautiful woman he met at the middle aisle of the local Aldi store – a place where many good people have lost the run of themselves to be fair.
The feisty Seamus lives in meagre surroundings, has the appearance and behaviour of a farmer of some kind and has recently come into possession of a white goose, powered by John O’Hara, who has a cozy nest above what we must assume is the rarely used front door. And, lo and behold, doesn’t the bauld goose lay golden eggs, as we find out when the creature makes three loud squawks before producing a heavy golden egg that drops through a hole in her shelf into the waiting hands of the waiting Seamus who quickly adds that egg to a collection of same in a bucket nearby!
We are not informed of Seamus’ background, but one can assume from his general demeanor and the wild look in his eyes that it has been some time since he enjoyed a passionate clinch with another human being. And given the fact that he keeps a goose inside his place of dwelling, one can make a reasonable stab at why that might be.
Seamus is aglow with the possibilities of an amorous connection with the belle we will later come to know as Thomasina, brought to life with incredible sexual energy and electric charisma by Thomas ‘Doc’ D’Arcy, but, as he explains to his friend, whose name we never learn but who has the real head of a ‘Eugene’, he might have told a lie or two during the chat over the drill bit sets, ladders and ski suits on the way to securing a date with the aforementioned Thomasina.
But Seamus is all over this slight issue. He is awaiting a delivery of a brand-new accordion with which he is going to wow his new lady friend but instead of him creating the beautiful music, it will be Eugene pressing play on a CD in an adjoining room at the precise moment Seamus begins hitting the keys and dancing about in a slightly agricultural yet surprisingly erotic manner. The reason for this deceit is that Seamus has no musical talent whatsoever.
The delivery of the accordion sees Tom Culkin enter the stage with all the attitude of a postman who missed out on a promotion 20 years before and is still sulking about it.
He demands that Seamus sign for the delivery, but it is at this point we are told that Seamus lost his glasses after refereeing an underage game the previous weekend. Tom Culkin’s character stings him with a suggestion that given his performance as the match official at the game that he was of the opinion that he had lost the spectacles prior to the game.
Culkin’s postman then has the cheek to ask for the one of the goose’s golden eggs, but Seamus quickly orders him out of his abode and the attention turns to the accordion.
A quick rehearsal of the cunning plan is followed by the arrival of Thomasina.
Immediately after ‘her’ arrival on stage we are fully aware that something is gravely amiss. Eugene’s face reminds one of a man who has drank deep of a glass of sour milk as he welcomes the colourful guest into the kitchen.
Granted, there is still something quite exotic and deeply attractive about this sultry Thomasina character on a certain level, but she doesn’t quite fit the bill of what we were expecting.
The kindhearted Eugene tries to explain to his friend about this alarming situation but Seamus, lost in a riotous storm of hormones and desire, will hear nothing of such concerns and suggests that Eugene should leave while covertly directing him to the adjoining room to set the seduction plan in motion.
It just so happens that the goose, following three loud squawks, lays another golden egg at this stage, an event Thomasina seems to be particularly interested in, and pieces of this tricky puzzle start to come together.
The first run of the musical deception goes swimmingly. Seamus belts out the tune and dances like a man who is aware that his time on earth is coming to an end.
Thomasina is mightily impressed but we can’t help feeling that there are dark forces at play here.
After that 15-second spurt of musical genius, Seamus loses the run of himself and launches himself at a shocked Thomasina. However, poor Eugene is having awful technical issues with the CD player and accidentally blasts out another burst of music.
Seamus, desperate for his clever ploy not to be revealed to the apple of his eye, leaps off the bench like a lunatic just after being stung by a wasp, grabs the accordion and lashes out the tune.
When calm is restored, he returns to his slightly sleazy groping of poor Thomasina, but he soon begins to realise some odd physical attributes when he’s up close and personal and his eyesight issues are not as pronounced.
“Thomasina, what big feet you have,” says Seamus.
The startled minx has to think quickly.
“Why, Seamus, all the better to dance with you,” she replied while batting a pair of long, thick manly eyelashes.
Poor Eugene causes another musical mishap in the other room and up jumps Seamus in a frenzied tangle of limbs, sending Thomasina flying, and gyrates across the stage while gesturing madly to Eugene to press stop.
Thomasina seems genuinely impressed at Seamus’ athletic ability while at the same time no doubt somewhat uneasy given the absolute random nature of his energetic outbursts.
Seamus dives back to the seat to continue his pawing and rather direct approach play only to notice something about Thomasina’s hands.
“Thomasina, what big hands you have,” he gasps in the tone of a man who wouldn’t be put off in the slightest by such an attribute.
“Why Seamus, all the better to hold your hand with,” said the impressively quick-thinking minx.
Alas, another musical meltdown from Eugene spells disaster as the CD starts sticking and jumping from one piece of music to another.
A panicked Eugene runs out and reveals the true nature of the technical issue, blowing the lid on Seamus’ cunning plan.
Thomasina, only now realising the extent of their deception, is outraged.
‘You’re not the man I thought you were, Seamus,” she exclaims.
As well as emerging from the room in a distressed state because of the CD disaster, Eugene has also located Seamus’ missing glasses.
With eyesight restored, a stunned Seamus realises that this is not the Thomasina he met while browsing the middle aisle in Aldi at all, at all.
“And you’re not the woman I thouht you were,” retorts a wounded Seamus.
And then, as if we hadn’t had enough shocks to the system and plot twists at this stage, who comes in only the real Thomasina, played delightfully by Emma Culkin.
“Who are you?” shouts a very cofused Eugene.
“I’m Thomasina,” she says.
“Well if you’re Thomasina,” shouts Seamus while turning towards the other Thomasina, “then who is that?”
The real Thomasina charges across the stage, accosts the imposter, pulls off the wig to reveal that it is George from the Aldi store where Seamus met the real Thomasina who has tricked his way into the house to steal one of the golden eggs.
Suddenly, the goose lets out three squawks to signal the arrival of another egg. George sees his chance.
“I’m going to get what I came here for,” yelled the charlatan.
Under the shelf he went and cupped his hands to catch the valuable prize, but he got a nasty shock when instead of an egg dropping, he was showered in droppings of another kind.
“Well, I’m going to get what I came here for as well,” shouted Seamus, who took a firm hold of the real Thomasina’s hand and they both began skipping across the stage.
“I’m going to Scór,” he shouted (see what he did there).
And with that the curtains fell, and a hearty round of applause and a chorus of cheers went up.
The Carnew Emmets team had wowed the crowd and the judges, and they were rightfully crowned All-Ireland champions a few hours later.
An incredible night in Wicklow Scór history, and Sunday evening saw the team welcomed back to Carnew with a parade up the main street before festivities and food in Kenny’s Corner House.
Congratulations to one and all.