“Top stuff” was how comedian Dara O’Briain described his recent charity gig in London’s West End.
The Wicklow funny man rounded up a tribe of fellow Irish comedians for the one-off show on November 20 – Dara O’Briain and Friends – in support of the Hammersmith Irish Cultural Centre.
Andrew Maxwell, Tommy Tiernan and a Michael Flatley dancing Jason Byrne all took to the stage at London’s Palace Theatre for a sell-out night performing to over 1,300 fans.
“Just did a charity gig in the West End that featured Irish dancing, a fracas in the bar, and a man threatening to punch me outside,” Dara joked as he tweeted this picture, below, of the funny foursome on Sunday night.
The BBC Apprentice: You’re Fired host promised the crowd a very ‘Irish night’ and the audience wasn’t disappointed. Dublin finance worker Sinead Morrin described Jason Byrne’s Irish dancing as a highlight. “I loved his hilarious and often bawdy set,” she said. “And Tommy Tiernan was on fine form. Overall it was a great evening’s entertainment.”
IT professional Tim O’Riordan from Cork added: “It was a great gig – very intimate considering the line-up involved. The comedians were top notch. Jason, Andrew and Tommy sailed close to the wind with some of their material but they stayed true to form and had everyone laughing all the way through. It was great to see Tommy Tiernan back on stage with some classic material and his sporadic kung fu kicks reminded me of Richard Pryor in his hay day.”
The show itself kicked off with traditional Irish music, bold bodhrán beats and an energetic performance by dance group Hammerstep. Founded in by Jason Oremus and Garrett Coleman the eight-strong group integrate traditional Irish step with tap and hip hop dance.
But it was the comedians’ encore that received the most applause as the four came back out on stage to enjoy a 10 minute banter session – topped off by Jason Byrne’s Michael Flatley routine.
A video was also shown about how the Irish Cultural Centre helps promote and encourage Irish culture on the capital.
In July 2010 the ICC was faced with eviction after Hammersmith and Fulham Council decided to sell the building it currently leases. A 5,000-strong petition secured the centre first refusal as buyers. In September the council said it would accept a £1.5million offer for the building – payable by March 2012.
The comedy gig was the latest in a series of ICC fundraisers for its Wear your Heart For Irish Arts campaign to save the centre.