Ricky Tomlinson brings ‘infectious’ Irish Annie’s live stage show to Fife venue

Ricky Tomlinson may be 84, but he has no plans to bring the curtain down on a remarkable career in television and theatre.
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His is the name in lights in Irish Annie’s - a live stage show which celebrates the very best of Irish culture and is packed with music and laughter - which comes to the Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkcaldy on March 22.

Tomlinson, who starred in Brookside and the Royle Family, joins talented singer-songwriter Asa Murphy who plays the eponymous landlady of an Irish bar, and stellar live six-piece band The Shenanigans, along with some madcap regulars for an evening of irresistible comedy, music and mayhem.

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The much loved actor describes the show “infectious” - and added: It’s for anyone who likes a laugh, to feel good inside, to be able to participate. It’s a feelgood thing, and what I love about it - and this is amazing - it doesn’t matter where we’ve played, the finale is like a Glastonbury for pensioners! They’re up dancing, waving their handbags, waving their hats. It’s unbelievable.

Catherine Rice and Ricky Tomlinson on stage in Irish Annie's (Pic: David Munn)Catherine Rice and Ricky Tomlinson on stage in Irish Annie's (Pic: David Munn)
Catherine Rice and Ricky Tomlinson on stage in Irish Annie's (Pic: David Munn)

He plays a customer in the bar, and his role is to have a little laugh on the stage, gee people along when they start to sing, and, if he has a tambourine handy, join in!

“I’m basically Ricky Tommo really, or Jim Royle, or whoever you want. I’m used to entertaining in pubs,” he said. “It depends where you are, but sometimes if there’s someone in the audience you can have a little fun with, then we do that too. We have a bit of license to have a laugh with the audience.

Tomlinson, who can also play the banjo and harmonica, is a huge of the show’s soundtrack.

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“The music in Irish Annie’s is great – Asa Murphy, what a singer!” he said. “I love Irish music. I recorded an Irish song called Are You Looking at Me? by Shane Macgowan’s backing band The Popes)and it got into the top 30 so I was made up with that.

“The video had Mickey Starke (Sinbad in Brookside) and Noddy Holder in it – we had to sign a contract with Noddy. He wanted 2/6, a bacon sandwich and a week in my caravan. I never fulfilled the contract so I’m waiting for the solicitor’s letter!

Irish Annie’s is, ultimately ,a celebration of Irish culture. It tours the UK and Ireland across this year. Ticket details here

Tomlinson said: “This might sound corny, but I’m looking forward to meeting the people after the show who come to see us. I’m old-fashioned, and I am what I am, but I want to say to them – thanks for coming to this show, thanks for giving us your support.

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“And we spend as much time there at the end of the show as we do on stage, because we have a great time when we’re on the road. We all get along together like a house on fire, and not a lot of people can say that. We play practical jokes on one another, we have laughs. That’s what I’m looking forward to as well.”

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