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King of the Kilburn High Road’ to open in the DPAC

Tae Andrews | Monday, October 15, 2007

The play “Kings of the Kilburn High Road” opens on the Decio Mainstage Theatre in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center tonight.

“Kings of the Kilburn High Road” was inked by playwright Jimmy Murphy, a Dublin native, whose other work includes “Brothers of the Brush,” “A Picture of Paradise” and “The Muesli Belt.” He is a former member of the Abbey Theatre’s advisory council and was a writer in residence at NUI Maynooth. He has won multiple awards, including The Stewart Parker Award for best first play in 1994 and three Bursaries in Literature from the Arts Council of Ireland.

The play’s plot revolves around the experiences of a group of enterprising young men who leave their homes in Ireland, hop in a boat and literally set sail for England in the hopes of improving their respective lots in life and returning home rich.

Unfortunately, one member of the group, Jackie Flavin, dies and his body is sent home for a wake.

Told from an after-the-fact perspective, “The Kings of the Kilburn High Road” follows the action after the rest of the bunch regroups in Ireland to recoup and recount their adventures and experiences in life.

Though Murphy’s original play deals with the subject matter of the hopes and dreams of Irish immigrants in London during the 1970s, tonight’s show features an all-African cast.

In the same way that Irish people left their native shores in search of a better life in other countries, today immigrants to Ireland include Africans and Eastern Europeans. In this way, “Kings of the Kilburn High Road” offers a parallel structure contrasting the immigrant experience of today against the immigrant experience of the past.