BASED on Frank O’Connor biography of Michael Collins, the acclaimed theatre show The Big Fellow is to be staged in Killarney on October 25. The play, by Declan Gorman, will have a special showing in the INEC Acoustic Club on that date, prior to touring to India.

“If there were no wild boys, there would be no great men,” Frank O’Connor’s mother wrote to him in 1922, when he was a prisoner-of-war at Gormanston camp. This original play, based on O’Connor’s writings, captures the life and times of the wildest boy of them all, Michael Collins, as he graduates from masterminding the most dare-devil raids, prison breaks and escapades of the War of Independence, to commanding the official army of a newly-formed state. Greatness did indeed follow Collins but so too did division, torment and tragedy. And herein lies the mystery. Frank O’Connor fought against Collins’ side in the Civil War. So why did he divert from a glittering literary career just a few years later to write a book apparently in praise of his dead enemy?

“The Big Fellow” is an imaginative and entertaining piece of non-stop, high-energy theatre, from the action-packed opening images to the gripping conclusion. It is driven by a powerful score composed by Colin Blakey (ex-Waterboys) and Cillian McNamara’s evocative lighting. Gerard Adlum and Cillian O Gairbhi give outstanding performances, bringing to vivid life a nation embroiled in the excitement and turmoil of formation.

Following its hugely successful nationwide tour earlier this year, this outstanding play on Michael Collins will have one special showing in Killarney before travelling to the Mumbai Literature Live Festival where it will be performed as part of the 70th anniversary celebrations of India’s independence. Not to be missed!

Tickets, €19, are on sale now from or INEC Box office on 064 6671555.

Above: Cillian O Gairbhi (as Michael Collins) and Gerard Adlum (as Frank O’Connor). Pic: Tom Maher