Bispham-born comedian Ricky Tomlinson – who famously played Bobby Grant in Brookside, DCI Charlie Wise in Cracker, and Jim Royle inThe Royle Family – stars as Scouse Jim, and Catherine Rice as the titular Annie, the bold and brassy landlady, in the musical comedy, which comes to the Joe Longthorne Theatre on North Pier, Blackpool, on July 1.
A live band plays all the Irish favourites, including Galway Shawl, Tell Me Ma, Dirty Old Town, Whiskey In The Jar, and Danny Boy, and audiences are invited to get up and dance along with the show’s various madcap characters, whose stories it tells.
Writer and director Asa Murphy, who hails from Mitchelstown, Cork, said: "The story is all about five different characters who come into the pub, and each has a story to tell. You have Ricky Tomlinson as Scouse Jim, and he's the guy who likes to come in the pub and tell a joke. Then you have an English aristocratic retired actor called Noel Smythe (Sam Conlan), Porky the postman (Nathan Murphy) who’s the village liar. You have Irish Annie, who’s the host of the show. There’s also Moira the money lender (Pauline Donovan), and she’s the one who all the characters in the pub owe money.
"Each character has a story with a little bit of a lesson, so by the end you learn about each character and their life.
“The live band plays all the well-known Irish songs, and the audience are encouraged to sing along and dance if they want. It’s a very interactive show – the audience gets given a song sheet with the lyrics to all the songs on.”
As well as old favourites, the play includes six original tunes written by Asa, who also penned the musicals Buddy Holly Lives and Mack The Knife: The story of Bobby Darin.
He appears in Irish Annie’s as Seamus Murphy, the guitarist and lead singer of the onstage band.
“We went on a successful tour in March, and we're very pleased to have Ricky Tomlinson with us again.
"The atmosphere of the show is lively, interactive and lots of fun. If you want a good night out full of laughter and music, come and see Irish Annie’s. Not online that, but you’ll have the opportunity to see a British comedy icon in Ricky Tomlinson on the stage, which is something he very rarely does.
“So far every show we’ve seen the audience on their feet dancing in the aisles, and afterwards they come away saying it’s the tonic we needed after the lockdown.”
Tickets to Irish Annie’s at the Joe Longthorne Theatre, 7.30pm on July 1, cost £22 each, and include a meet and greet with the cast after the show. Tickets can be booked online HERE, or call the North Pier box office on 01253 623304.