Inis Nua Theatre Company “Hooks” Fergie’s Pub for Season Opener

(Happy!) Irish theater comes to Fergus Carey's beloved local watering hole.

"Hooked!" stars Corinna Burns, Charlie DelMarcelle, and Rachel Brodeur

“Hooked!” stars Corinna Burns, Charlie DelMarcelle, and Rachel Brodeur

It makes a lot of sense that a theater company whose mission is to stage provocative theater from Ireland, Scotland and Wales might get a little help from theater-loving Fergus Carey, aka Fergie—Philadelphia’s best known Irish import and pub owner—when it was discovered that its new theater space wouldn’t be ready in time for this week’s season premiere. So, in a happy turn of events, Inis Nua will debut Gillian Grattan’s three-person Irish comedy, Hooked!, this Wednesday on the second floor of Fergie’s Pub.

Founder and artistic director Tom Reing explains that his company moved out of its former space at Off Broad Street Theatre last spring and hoped its new home, a multi-company space at the Drake Theater, would be ready in time for the fall opener. The Drake is being converted from primarily a dance studio into two theater spaces. With the Drake unavailable until mid-December, Carey generously offered up the second-floor of his pub.

Reing goes way back with Carey, having directed a play more than 10 years ago for the theater company where Fergie serves as board president, Brat Productions. In fact, Fergie was the one who brought Hooked! to Reing’s attention. He’d seen a performance of it by Dublin’s Viking Theatre and quickly went into matchmaking mode, texting Reing from Ireland and encouraging him to read a copy of the play.

“I’m always searching for a happy Irish play,” says Carey. “I may not be remembering it correctly—some say it’s pretty dark—but my memory is that no one dies, commits suicide or is murdered. I finally found a happy Irish play.”

The tense 70-minute work unfolds as the three inhabitants of a small village in Ireland reveal the town’s secrets, gossip and scandals. Though the yarn is complex, the staging will be predictably simple.

“We do simple storytelling with innovative tales and good actors,” says Reing. “We don’t need bells and whistles and helicopters landing on the stage. It will feel like a pub tale, like when you come in from a cold, rainy night and make friends with a guy on the stool next to you and he starts telling you a story so good that you’re immediately enrapt by it.”

There’s no food and drink service during the actual production, but hopefully you’ll have a pint in front of you before it begins.

Hooked! runs at Fergie’s Pub October 7-25. Tickets, $25-$30, and more information can be found here.