(Sara Keating’s article appeared in the Irish Times, 7/26; Photo: Waiting for Poirot performed at the People’s Park, Limerick. Photograph: Keith Wiseman.)

The daring murder mystery is full of action and keeps families entertained throughout

WAITING FOR POIROT

The People’s Park, Limerick
★★★★☆

It is 1925, the early days of Irish Independence and the newly established Garda Síochána is still finding its feet. In Limerick city, Sir Montague Garrick’s Travelling Theatre & Electric Cinematograph has taken up residence at the People’s Park to entertain locals with a daring murder mystery play. With the sudden death of the leading man, however, the drama spills off stage, and the audience is held hostage until the murderer is found. Will the elusive detective Hercule Poirot, expected any minute, solve the case, or can detectives Maguire and Patterson get to the bottom of the strange events?

Mike Finn’s script is embedded in both the site and broader setting for this enormously ambitious ensemble production, directed by Tara Doolan and Pius McGrath. The script is crammed with local lore that feeds off both the history and contemporary reality of Limerick city, as well as clever Covid puns that are integrated easily into the players’ rhyming welcome to the audience as it assembles for the beginning of the promenade piece, which is also the start of the show within the show.

Finn’s play is in open conversation with Beckett’s famous play in which nothing happens. However, the meta-theatrical dialogue is not overdone and there is plenty of action to keep a family audience entertained throughout the 90-minute experience: comedy chases, a changing cast of suspects, messenger boys coming to and fro on bikes, news of a theft from the nearby Limerick City Gallery of Art.

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