November 8 2019 | Lua McIlraith - Growing Old (Dis)Gracefully


Songwriter, actress, and singer Lua McIlraith takes a riotous look at ageing in her one-woman show ‘Growing Old (Dis)Gracefully’.

Has your sex drive taken a bit of a dip as you age? Or what about your constant battle with the scales? And how are you managing with babysitting those ‘modern’ grandkids?

If any of those issues strike a chord with you, then you’re on the same page as Dublin-based Lua McIlraith, who has written a one-woman show called Growing Old (Dis)Gracefully, featuring “a riotous look in song” at the perils of ageing.

The material for her lyrics is taken from her own life and that of her friends and she compiled the show, she says, because “there was absolutely nothing out there relevant to older people, that wasn’t utterly negative”.

The 75-year-old amateur songwriter, singer, and actress blasts all that negativity away when she takes to the stage, striking a high note in more ways than one, with her original fun commentary on the ups and downs of what American octogenarian actress Jane Fonda calls the ‘Third Act of Life’. Her song ‘The Libido Blues’, for instance, is self-explanatory, she says wryly. And when it comes to the number called the ‘Diet Song’, many would empathise no doubt, with her own battle with the bulge.

“As I say in my show, when I go to my doctor and say I’m comfortably cuddlesome, she says ‘no, you’re obese’,” laughs Lua, who admits to currently being “on one of those diets — yet again,” for the benefit of her arthritic knees.

Despite the knees and high blood pressure, she is otherwise a bundle of energy, as seen in the creativity and stamina it takes to not only write the music and lyrics for a show, but to stand up alone in front of an audience under the heat of the spotlight.

She is quick to point out she is not totally alone and pays tribute to her pianist Pauline Lennon and friend Aileen Byrne, stage manager. “People are really enjoying it and I don’t have any trouble filling the venues. I like to stage it in small theatres of around 100, so it doesn’t lose its intimacy.”

It’s obvious her energy is instead focussed on her passions and her sense of fun, which of course includes taking a poke at her ageing self, but also at some of her peers who “don’t have any interest in things, who should be out there doing things and going places, but who just go ‘ah, I couldn’t be bothered.’”

She wholeheartedly embraces the maxim that laughter is the best medicine: “If you can have a good laugh every day it will stave off depression. So I try and find as many fun things as I can during the day; sometimes even looking at the jokes on Facebook, you just get a great laugh. So I’m always looking for something not to make fun of, but to turn into fun.

“Life is too short and you’re only here for such a short time; make the most of it!”

Tickets for this event will be available shortly, at Plain and Pearl on Arklow's Lower Main Street, and also at the Arklow RNLI Lifeboat Station.

Posted September 16, 2019.