Patrick and Billy are old
friends. Very old. They
haven't seen each other
since they were at school.

Patrick has married and
moved away. Billy has
stayed, married and

Patrick is a teacher. Billy is a plumber.

They have nothing in common but their childhood. But they have to spend the night together as they are the only guests at Danny's Wake.

Danny was their mutual friend. The Third Musketeer. He is dead and lying in the coffin on the sideboard.

As the hours pass, it becomes clear that Patrick's misty - eyed memories conflict with Billy's recollections of their childhood days.. A bottle of vodka later and old wounds are opened, current worries are shared and pizza is eaten.

Patrick:   Jim Sweeney
Billy:   Steve Steen
Director:   Lee Simpson

Danny's Wake premiered at the Wimbledon Studio Theatre in August 1999 before travelling to the Edinburgh Festival where it played to sell out houses.

The production was awarded a Scotsman Fringe First.

Jim won the Granada Media Comedy Writing Award.

Danny's Wake was adapted for radio and broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2000.

"Danny's Wake" as broadcast on BBC Radio 4
Click to Listen Now : Part One : Part Two

Danny's Wake is the first piece that Sweeney has written for the theatre and….it begs the question : why hasn't he done it before? Sweeney and Steen turn in
profoundly funny performances.
A perfect cast.

The Independent.

It's poignant plot reaps regular bouts of regretful laughter …deftly written, acutely acted…
The Guardian

Impeccably performed…wittily written…Danny's Wake is worth raising more than just one glass to.
The Times

..a gem of a play that deserves to become a comedy classic. Go and see Danny's Wake today.
Or tomorrow. Just make sure you go.

The Scotsman

It is remarkable that Danny's Wake is Sweeney's first play, as it is such a fully realised,
finely crafted piece of work

Evening News

It is very brilliant. I haven't seen it yet. But I've held the script and it's a very good weight.
Josie Lawrence

Download Jim's original script here
Danny's Wake - eBook format

Jim's Award Winning Play 'DANNY'S WAKE' at Sound Theatre, Leicester Square
Danny's Wake
Cracking Up Productions presents
DANNY'S WAKE By Jim Sweeney
Directed by Jason Lawson
With Alan Drake and Oliver Fishman
2ist February to 16th March
Monday to Saturday 8pm - Sat matinees 4pm
Sound Theatre, Swiss Centre, Leicester Square, London


The Stage
Death always makes a person appreciate life, comic actor Jim Sweeney says in this his first play, revived for the first time since it won a Fringe First in Edinburgh in 1999.

Two school friends, Patrick, played by Alan Drake, and Billy (Oliver Fishman), are reunited for the first time since they left school some 15 years before. The third member of their 'gang' Danny has died and, devout Catholics that they were, his mum wants Patrick and Billy to stay with the body throughout the night. Both in their thirties and having followed different paths, it gives them a chance to address their lives thus far.

Sweeney's Ayckbourn-esque black comedy is funny and well-structured. Each scene reveals a new twist just as things seem to be approaching a cul-de-sac. The two characters have depth and are allowed to disclose their various crises at a pace that pulls the audience along with them. Somehow these crises - failing marriages, unrequited love, betrayal of friendship - are given a fresh approach despite being well-trod territory.

Jason Lawson's direction brings to the production subtle touches. His intelligent, unobtrusive asides from the two actors reinforce Sweeney's script, ironing over the creases normally apparent in a first effort.

Drake has the harder of the two roles. The stuffy, uptight teacher Patrick suppresses the failings of his marriage before letting go as the liberally imbibed vodka takes effect. He effectively allows the character's tension to boil over and then be cast aside. Billy is the more comedic of the two, but Fishman expertly mix the tragedy and bitterness in order to create the pathos necessary to fuel the character.

- Jeremy Austin, The Stage, October 6th 2005.
Review of performances at the New End Theatre, Hampstead - October 2005
21 February - 18 March   Tickets: 0870 890 0503

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