As a night out it’s hard to better A Wine Goose Chase.
Susan Boyle’s one woman show, now showing at 37 Dawson Street, Dublin, is part wine tasting and history lesson.
It’s also part of the Dublin Fringe Festival.
The play, also written and produced by Kildare town native Ms. Boyle, is a dainty skip and hop through 2,000 years of Irish history.
The confluence of historical events and circumstances that conspired to make the Irish major players in the wine industry is explained, not like a boring old history lesson, but through the eyes of those who were there at the time - in a lively re-imagining by Ms. Boyle.
The play takes place in a bar, literally with the Kildare town actress your host, who is more story teller than historian.
She flicks through the bottles behind her condensing the long saga of how a bunch of monks, aristocrats, political refugees and farmers from a country where you can’t even grow grapes were major contributors to what we now understand to be the modern wine industry.
From New Zealand to Bordeaux, Mexico to Germany, Paddy was there. In some cases the part played was in planting the all important vines, in others it was the development of trade routes, or of a certain type of bottle.
But above all, Ms. Boyle leaves you with the strong sense that the Irish love of family, community and general conviviality had more than its fair share to do with it. At one point in the middle ages there was six times as much wine being imported into Ireland than into Britain.
And it wasn’t all alter wine!
Every few minutes in this hour long show, there’s a wine tasting. Each one has an Irish link somewhere along the line. The final tasting is not wine at all. It’s a deliciously rich Hennessey congnac.
As in all great Irish nights, the play ends with a song, ‘The Parting Glass’, where the audience is invited to rise and toast all the great Irish men and women down the years who contributed so much to making the wine industry what it is today.
And as if play writing and acting weren’t enough, it turns out that the multi-talented Boyle has a good voice as well – deep, strong and well rounded, much like a good wine.
As shows go it’s fascinating, it’s fun, and it’s tasty.
The show runs until next Wednesday, September 19. There are still tickets available at http://www.fringefest.com/programme/a-wine-goose-chase
- Conor McHugh