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Deborah Brennan tells an Irish tale in The Parting Glass

If quality musicianship, emotional storytelling and Irish whiskey is your kind of thing then The Parting Glass, presented by Deborah Brennan of Caught & Spark productions, is just the show for you. We were fortunate enough to ask this seasoned musician about her journey of developing this original cabaret work.

A group of people sitting at a table

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Deborah Brennan and her band | image supplied

The tale is set in Ireland and was inspired by Brennan’s experience of navigating an unfamiliar town and missing a beloved canine companion, “which really broke [her] heart” and resurfaced some childhood anguish. Sending Brennan down a research rabbit hole into “grief, trauma, and pain patterns,” she began asking the question, “why didn’t anyone ever tell me about this?” This opened up the idea for exploring grief in the cabaret format, “because [grief] is a shared experience so we shouldn’t feel like we have to go [through] it alone. We should feel like we can talk to each other about it.”

Brennan has always been in touch with her Celtic heritage, having “inherited more of the Celtic gene than any of [her] siblings – red hair, freckles, and the love of words”. Brennan leans into this heritage in her cabaret storytelling which intertwines well with what she learned of “how much the Celts love to hear [and] tell a story,” whilst travelling in Dublin.

A group of people standing in front of a cake

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The Parting Glass | image supplied

Audiences can expect this new show to be a beautiful hybrid of her previous shows Hummingbird and A Case of You, though “much more personal with more of a universal story line”, which Brennan “hopes will resonate more broadly.”

Supported by a band of accomplished musicians featuring Chris Neale, Max Garcia Underwood and Tim Wilsdon, The Parting Glass will showcase music from Brennan’s family favourite, Van Morrison, who always “loved the gypsy romance of Into the Mystic, so to finally have a show [she] can work it into makes [her] happy.”

Set in the intimate little underground cellar of the Gosse Bar, which audiences have previously adored, this outer city location, “does suffer a bit from isolation a bit being [away from] all the main East End action, but if you’re looking for somewhere a bit quieter, with parking and a King William Road dinner it’s a nice escape and your chance to spend an evening in the heritage listed Mawson House without having to be a member of a sporting car club!”

Being both the producer and performer is “a lot of work!”, though we were fascinated to hear that due to the “inherently personal” style of her shows, Brennan “[doesn’t think she] could trust anyone else with [her] baby.” Impressively so, Brennan did also share that she is “a bit of an admin nerd,” who likes the reward of benefitting from the work she puts in, “from the ground up.”

Brennan intends to treat this delicate matter of a show “gently, with care and love” and hasn’t overlooked that, “a show about grief is going to bring things up and could be an emotional journey for some, so maybe pack some tissues just in case. [She] promises it ends beautifully though, so you might only need them at one or two spots in the story.”

The Parting Glass is for anyone who has ever loved, lost, or loved again,” though a special acknowledgememt goes out to Robyn Archer. If you’re reading this Robyn, Brennan would love you to come see her show.

Sensitive and soulful, The Parting Glass will be a tale of the mutual human experience of grief and growth and, from what we can tell, it seems thoroughly beautiful. You are invited to come and share a drink (actually whiskey!) within the show, from 10 to 14 March at 8.15pm at the Gosse Bar, Sporting Car Club of South Australia.

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