PHELIM DREW is an actor. He is currently on tour with 'Port Authority' by Conor McPherson. He will next appear in an Abbey production of 'King Lear'. Son of folk singer Ronnie Drew, he has a country blues band, The Baskervilles
I knew of the Nualas before I met Sue in a pub, introduced by mutual friends: a friend told me he’d seen their show in the City Arts Centre and said they’re really funny – and also quite hot. When I met Sue I thought she was beautiful, but also had a strong face, was extremely intelligent and very funny. We just hit it off. We took it quite gently initially, but I ended up spending so much time with her I sold my own place and we moved in together.
I remember going into Nearys to tell my parents – they adored Sue and my mum and dad were thrilled. We had a fantastic time at our wedding, stayed around for a few days. The day after the day after the wedding, my dad said “I can’t wait to go home and put my feet up and just watch the ads” . . . it was proof that he’d had a wonderful time.
I’ve worked as an actor since I left school, would be well-established in the Irish theatre community. Being a son of Ronnie Drew’s, people sometimes ask why I didn’t go into music. But whether it’s writing, acting or playing music, you have to feel the need to do something, and that’s the way I feel about theatre. Right now I’m doing a tour with Conor McPherson’s Port Authority with the Decadent Theatre Company – it’s run by a guy called Andrew Flynn, a real powerhouse . . . it’s a three- four-week tour that’s taken us from Galway to seven different cities and towns so far.
Most of the time, I come home to Dublin after a show. If I’d been offered this job even two years ago, it might not have been possible – because it’s so stressful being on your own with four small children. Now they’re that little bit older, it’s not quite so daunting. Sue has been incredibly supportive while I’m doing this.
We both just grab time to work . . . we don’t have a study, the house is not that big. The Nualas are absolutely fantastic – it’s not easy writing new material, they work incredibly hard.
I suppose I am quite domesticated. My father wasn’t a new man, he was spoilt by my mother – but she was a very strong woman who ruled the roost at home. When we got to the age of six or seven, my mother would put a cloth into our hands and we’d be told to go and clean the sittingroom. My dad was a very good cook, but his idea of doing the dishes was to throw everything into the sink and fill it up with water. I would be slightly neurotic about keeping the house clean, having a nice dinner, but you do have to lighten up when you have four children.
Port Authority is in Cork on November 18th-20th and in Limerick on November 21st-23rd.