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It's no day at the beach, but see 'Da' at Irish Classical anyway

ImagesIt's June and Western New Yorkers are thinking about outdoor concerts and scenic drives to Niagara-on-the-Lake.

But in the tiny Irish Classical Theatre downtown, there's something you shouldn't miss, even though it doesn't shout "summer fun."

 It's the Irish Classical Theater's new production of "Da," the Tony-award winning play by the great Irish writer Hugh Leonard.  I had the chance to see it Friday, on the second night of its three-week run.

As with many things Irish, "Da" is both funny and sad.  If you've endured the death of a close family member, it will surely resonate.   And this production is especially moving because of its deep connections to director Vincent O'Neill, shown in the photo above, whose late brother Chris played a major role in its Dublin production and is still closely identified with the play.  The O'Neills grew up 10 minutes from Dalkey, where this autobiographical play is set.

Now, longtime Buffalo actor Gerry Maher plays the title role with verve, leaping about the stage like a deranged sprite and pulling at our heartstrings all the while.

News critic Colin Dabkowski's preview of the play, including a video interview with O'Neill, provides the details.   

It's well worth putting down that plastic beer cup for a couple of hours to see it.  "Da," strangely enough,may  turn out to be one of the most memorable events of the summer.   It's on stage through July 1.