The Donnellys' story being told at Fanshawe summer theatre
London Community News
The Donnelly Sideshow is a true story of romance, faction fighting and murder set in and around Lucan, just outside of London, where writer-performer Jeff Culbert grew up.
Five members of the Donnelly family were brutally murdered in their homes in 1880, and over 130 years later; the story continues to inspire artists and scholars and to fascinate the general public. Many people know the family as The Black Donnellys, because of the 1954 novel by Thomas P Kelley, but the term is now considered to be derogatory in Lucan.
The Donnelly Sideshow, a play by Jeff Culbert will be the summer theatre feature this July at Fanshawe Pioneer Village. Performances will take place Tuesday to Thursday, July 10 to 12 and again the following week, Tuesday to Thursday, July 17 to 19 at 7:30 pm.
One of the key characters in the Donnelly story is Johnny O’Connor, the 13-year-old boy who hid under a bed during the attack and witnessed the whole thing. In The Donnelly Sideshow, Jeff Culbert plays a grown-up Johnny O’Connor, who is out to tell the true story of the Donnellys. Johnny was also a Lucan boy; in fact he and Culbert grew up on the same street in the village.
In the spirit of his mentor and hero Will Donnelly, Johnny doesn’t mind using a little showmanship, and in addition to the storytelling and dramatization, he sings four original songs about the feud.
And in spite of the gruesome core of the story, he tries to tell it with good humour and spirit, because “you gotta keep up your ent’usiasm” or you’re finished. He is out to entertain, but also to find whatever form of justice he can salvage, seeing how the legal justice system failed the Donnellys so badly.
Advance booking is required for the performances. Tickets are $15 each and can be booked on-line at www.fanshawepioneervillage.ca.
Find us on Facebook: London Community News