Top

Life’s too Shortt to miss ‘I Am the Band’

February 10, 2014

By Christine Keighery

Pat Shortt’s one-man comedy show, “I Am the Band” comes to Silverbridge GAA Club on Saturday 15th March. Billed as a hilarious look at the life of Ireland’s true music legend, Dixie Walsh, the show sees acclaimed comedian and actor Pat Shortt bring the larger-than-life character of Dixie Walsh to audiences here for the very first time.

Dixie (aka Pat Shortt) scored a number one hit in Ireland in 2006 with the song “The Jumbo Breakfast Roll”. The song topped the Irish charts for 6 weeks with sales going 4 times platinum and the recession busting single “Where Did My Money Go” followed in 2008.

The Silverbridge show marks the second night of a three night stint Pat is making with I Am The Band, performing in the Hilltown INF Hall on Friday March 14th and Newry’s Canal Court Hotel on Sunday March 16th. The shows mark the final leg in his first UK tour, which has been a resounding success, playing to packed audiences since spring 2013.

The Examiner caught up with Pat ahead of the upcoming local dates and discussed how the comedy legend has managed to diversify in his career with leading theatre and film roles over recent years.

Although many still remember him as the madly unhinged character of Tom in the Father Ted series and, of course, as one half of iconic duo, D’Unbelievables, alongside fellow comedian Jon Kenny, Pat has also earned rave reviews for leading film and theatre roles over the last number of years.

His West End debut last summer in the acclaimed Martin McDonagh play, “The Cripple of Inishmaan” had critics declaring his performance “comedy genius” and film roles such as ‘Man about Dog’, 2007’s ‘Garage’ and the more recent recession comedy, ‘Life’s a Breeze’ have cemented his reputation as one of Ireland’s leading actors.

Shortt won the Best Actor award at the 2008 IFTAs for his performance in tragi-comedy ‘Garage’, a film which he says marked a turning point in his career, when the industry started to take him seriously as an actor.

“I had done quite a few films before ‘Garage’” says Pat,

“but always comedic roles and supporting roles. ‘Garage’ was a very serious role and because I led the film and got a lot of plaudits and recognition for it, it definitely led to directors taking an interest in me – realising I could act.”

Being taken seriously as an actor has helped to broaden Pat’s audience considerably.  This seems set to continue as he embarks on a stint in Broadway in New York with ‘The Cripple of Inishmaan’ before getting to work on a sitcom project currently in development with the BBC.

The busy actor/comedian has also just finished filming ‘Queen and Country’ in Romania with legendary director, John Boorman. Pat plays a British soldier in the movie – the loosely autobiographical follow up to Boorman’s 1987 film, ‘Hope and Glory.’

Pat’s ‘I Am the Band’ tour sees him return to his “first love” – live comedy shows. Despite juggling so many other exciting projects, Pat says he so enjoys the rapport of a live audience that touring with a one-man comedy show is something he will always return to.

“It’s what i started out doing and I love the whole process of it,” he enthuses.

“I spend a few months every year in my own purpose-built studio developing and writing new shows with a stage crew.  I just love the whole process of creating a comedy theatre show, a one-man show and then trying to tour it round the world. That’s what I do for a living and I love it.

“The feedback from the audience is fantastic, there’s nothing like it and the fear drives me on too! When I first took ‘I Am the Band’ to London, I hadn’t done a show in front of an English audience for a long time and, while I’m always confident the material will work, there’s still that fear before stepping out in front of a new audience.  Dixie brought the house down though and spurred me on to do the UK tour and bring the show here.”

‘I Am the Band’ certainly showcases Pat’s creative comedy genius once again, with the character of Dixie being one that audiences everywhere can relate to.

“He’s  a local musician, in a small town and the local gigs he does in the two of three pubs he plays in are, to him, like playing the national stadium. To Dixie Walsh, it’s the big gig.” he explains.

“I love that passion that’s driven by a small thing but to this person, it’s their world. I started out in music myself and I’ve met similar characters over the years, but I think most people can identify with or know the types of characters that just live for the music, live the scene, just like Dixie who lives for the Country Irish music. There’s an empathy for those types of people, a sadness even for this character – and how everyone laughs at him for writing these tunes and his passion for it all.”

‘I Am the Band’ is staged as an event to celebrate Dixie Walsh’s life in music with the audience having been invited by Dixie himself.  The audience become people Dixie has worked with down through the years so, as ever with Shortt’s live shows, the character will get among the audience and bring the whole show off the stage.

“People come to the show for a mad night’s craic.  My shows are always very energetic from the minute I bound onto the stage and the audience participation and getting among the crowd really brings a great vibe and even more energy to the show, makes the audience part of the madness!” says Pat

“We love to bring the show to the smaller towns. Because we have all our own trucks and stage equipment we roll into towns that wouldn’t have a theatre venue and we create a theatre in the halls and clubs with the staging and lighting etc. “Anytime you can go to a gig down the road and not have to travel, people appreciate it so I’m really looking forward to bringing a bit of madness to Silverbridge!”

Tickets for ‘I Am the Band’ on Saturday March 15th at Silverbridge GAA Club, are available from the Silverbridge GAA Club Shop or via the Box Office on 028 30 861128.

For tickets to ‘I Am the Band’ at Hilltown INF Hall, contact Gerard at the Box Office on 07743509136. Tickets for Sun Mar 16th at Canal Court Hotel Newry are available online at www.canalcourthotel.com or telephone the booking office on 028 3025 1234

Bottom