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"Howlingly funny!" Indianapolis Theater: Reviews

On a remote island off the west coast of Ireland…

The company’s first show introduces the residents of the Perpendicular Island Parochial House: Father Ned Tully, Father Dermott McDermott, Father Finn Flannagan, and housekeeper Mrs. O’Boyle. When the Bishop arrives with news of a visit from the Pope, the crew is turned upside down as they prepare food and music and await Ned’s favorite news presenter. But beware Mrs. O’Boyle’s sandwiches. They’re death to the Bishop, and possibly the Pope. The show was the top seller at the District Theatre Cabaret, and was remounted in January 2019 as The Pope Walks Into a Pub directed by Robert Hay-Smith, and played to sell out crowds at the Harlequin Theatre in Columbus, Indiana.

Written by Kate Duffy, with Jeff Kirkwood, and David Molloy

Original rap music by Nathan Burner

Father Ned Tully – Jeff Kirkwood

Father Dermott McDermott – Blake Mellencamp

Father Finn Flannagan – David Molloy

Mrs. O’Boyle – Kate Duffy

Bishop Brannagan – Jim Lucas

Sharon O’Riordan – Kyrsten Lyster

Father Nate B Good – Nathan Burner



IndyFringe Festival: “The Pope Walks into a Bar, Father Ned!”

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While The Pope Walks into a Bar was inspired by the TV show Father Ted, I assure you that you don’t have to have seen the TV series to appreciate this howlingly funny production.

Perpendicular Island is a remote Irish isle that boasts 75 residents. It’s also the location of a Viagra factory, which spews its own special kind of fumy pollution. Take a whiff to get you stiff. The island also houses the Perpendicular Island Parochial House, a sort of exile in the wastelands for wayward priests. Father Ned (Jeff Kirkwood) gambled away funds that were meant for much-needed repairs to a convent — yet he is the most responsible and level-headed member of the household. Father Dermott (Blake Mellencamp) is a sweet man but seriously touched in the head. Father Finn (David Molloy) is downright feral. He communicates mostly in grunts and drinks his whiskey from a Hello Kitty water bottle. His favorite pastime seems to be looking at women in bikinis, whether in magazines or on his ViewMaster, followed by a close second of running around in his knickers … or nothing at all.

When Bishop Brannigan (Jim Lucas) arrives to oversee an impending visit from the pope, things start to get even more interesting.

The housekeeper, Mrs. O’Boyle (Kate Duffy), is described by the bishop as coming from the sixth ring of hell, but as the show progresses, she moves down another ring — and her mind deteriorates along with her into buckets of crazy. While her cooking skills are questionable, she does play a mean bodhran.

Clerical Error Productions gives us a full storyline and characters bursting with personality. Even some backstory slips in to flesh them out. The entire cast is fully invested, with Molloy and Duffy getting the most outrageous.

This is a must-see. Prepare yourself for priest-on-leash, playing “pocket rosary,” ecclesiastical rapping (Nate Burner), a bobbing journalist (Kyrsten Lyster), and lots of fecking fu

IndyFringe: ‘The Pope Walks Into A Bar, Father Ned!’


This show is part of the 14th Annual Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival, a/k/a IndyFringe, Aug. 16-26, 2018 on Mass Ave downtown. Info, etc., at www.IndyFringe.org.

By Wendy Carson

Whether you are a hardcore fan of the British television sitcom, “Father Ted,” or have never even heard of it, you will enjoy this show.

The residents of the tiny island of Perpendicular are an odd lot. They consist of 75 humans and 450 sheep; the most popular pastime is rock stacking; and their primary industry is a wonky Viagra factory which leaks fumes — much to the delight of many inhabitants (one whiff will get you stiff). They are blessed with a cadre of three misfit priests, Father Finn Flannagan (who is crass, lustful and perpetually drunk), Father Dermott McDermott (who is woefully naive and daft), and the eternally put-upon Father Ned (who does his best to oversee this circus). Add to this a dotty (and possibly murderous) housekeeper and you have the setting for a delightful farce.

The story centers on the impending visit to the island by His Holiness himself, The Pope. He is visiting the far-flung parishes across the globe and has decided that Perpendicular Island would be a fitting representation of the Irish. The Bishop then shows up to try to get this madhouse in order and not disgrace his position, or the church as a whole. 

There is also the arrival of an ad agency to name Father Flannagan as their spokesperson since he is the primary consumer of their product, Boggy Dew Whiskey, as well as a spunky young reporter from the area news show. Of course, hilarity ensues.

 So, avail yourself of the offerings of The District Theater’s bar, sit back and prepare to laugh yer feckin’ arse off.
 Presented by Clerical Error Productions, performances are on the Cabaret stage of the District Theatre (formerly Theatre on the Square), 627 Mass Ave


"This show almost killed me. I laughed so hard I couldn't breathe!" Maripat Allen

In the company’s first gender bender casting, Ned and Dermott find themselves in charge of a foundling. Mrs. O’Boyle is on vacation and Mrs. McShane is snooping and supervising their every move. Will this interruption hurt Ned’s chances at becoming Outlying Very Remote Rural Parish Priest of the Year? Sean Connery to the rescue!

Written by Kate Duffy and Directed by Nicole Brinkman Reeves

Original rap music by Nathan Burner

Father Ned Tully – Kate Duffy

Father Dermott McDermott – Kyrsten Lyster

Father Finn Flannagan – Tracy Herring

Mrs. O’Boyle – Manny Casillas

Mrs. McShane – Anthony Logan

Annie – Case Jacobus

Nate – Nathan Burner

"Anthony Nathan is something to behold as brash, devious Mrs. McShane who tends the home of a rival priest." John Belden

"Kate Duffy's version of the smugly condescending parody of Olenna Tyrell is worth the ticket price alone." Wendy Carson

In this tribute to Game of Thrones, the residents of Perpendicular Island find themselves the victim of a scam when international thief The Dragon and his daughter come hunting for rare Viking coprolites. The Bog Monster lurks in the background as all out war descends on the island and the characters assume identities from their favorite television drama, Game of Crows. But Father Finn has some surprises lurking in the bog – and in his pants.

Written b

Written by Kate Duffy 

Original rap music by Nathan Burner

Father Ned Tully/Lord Ned Stick- David Molloy

Father Dermott McDermott/Greyboy – Blake Mellencamp

Father Finn Flannagan – David Whicker

Mrs. O’Boyle/Lady Oleander Tralala – Kate Duffy

Hugh O’Toole/The Dragon – Jim Lucas 

Bridget Roberson/The Dragon’s Daughter – Kyrsten Lyster

Boggy Nate – Nathan Burner


"There's certainly some lovely lines, and here and there it's pleasantly risque."
Robert Hay-Smith

Irish Catholic comedy has more than a prayer of success at Harlequin


 Brian Blair


What can one say other than Lord have mercy on three eccentric Catholic priests and their unstable housekeeper with their shenanigans in an upcoming comic production at The Harlequin Theatre?
God only knows what will happen — other than holy humor — when the trio of wayward priests, banished to a remote Irish island, live out their days in oddball exile.
Locals can see the developments for themselves when the Indianapolis-based Clerical Error Productions present the original comedy “The Pope Walks into a Pub” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the venue inside FairOaks Mall, 2380 25th St.
Indianapolis resident Kate Duffy, one of the writers and the actress portraying the priests’ housekeeper, is careful to pontificate that the show steers away from mocking the faith.
Instead, it mostly pokes good-natured fun at Irish heritage, which Duffy herself claims as part of her lineage (“No one makes more fun of themselves than the Irish”). Plus, Duffy, a retired English professor, was raised in a Catholic family. So she offers a media-ready and serious answer when asked why the denomination has been such a rich resource for eons for playwrights and screenwriters.
“Catholicism is theater,” Duffy said. “What is Mass, if not theater? Even if you simply follow the order of the Mass, there is exposition, and there is climax and there is resolution. There’s costuming, music and audience participation.”
The priests — played by actors Jeff Kirkwood, Blake Mellencamp and David Molloy — have been banished for various misdeeds, including gambling away funds earmarked for a convent. One, apparently out of his once-righteous mind, now swigs whiskey from a Hello Kitty bottle. But don’t expect smooth, Irish whiskey to flow from the Harlequin bar for the show. Only wine and beer will be available to lightly lubricate the laughs, including a rapping cleric.

Harlequin founder Robert Hay-Smith, a well-known local actor, playwright and comic, is offering tweaks and suggestions for a script that he already finds loaded with laughs.

“There’s certainly some lovely lines,” Hay-Smith said. “And here and there, it’s pleasantly risque.”
Hay-Smith has added local musicians Carolyn Dutton on violin and Alan Kays on guitar to provide bridges between scenes.
“A lot of the jokes were just part of my upbringing,” she said. “I think he is smiling over my shoulder every time I go on stage.”
Duffy credits her late father, Indianapolis’ James Duffy, an actor, poet, singer and English teacher, for much of the humor.

"I have been a theatre patron for years; this is my firt time as a producer and a priest; one in faith, the other in farce."
Jeff Kirkwood, the original eponymous Father Ned

"One of the best parts of writing for a repertory company is that the actors becomes so familiar with, invested in, and protective of the characters. It's very gratifying as the playwright to be at a read thru and hear, "That is totally something I would say." Clerical Error has built a crazy little family." Kate Duffy, Head Writer

Already excited by rumors of a mysterious bog walker, the  crew on Perpendicular Island are sent head over heels when a pair of robbers visit the parochial house pretending to be producers of the massively popular show, “Game of Crows.”

The zaniness escalates from there as everyone on the island gets into the spirit and the homages emerge faster than the puffin eggs from Father Flannagan (David Whicker)  – he was apparently a prime nesting spot during the “Great Puffin Migration.” Pop culture references from all over fly fast and furiously throughout.

David Molloy steps up to the new role of Father Ned Tully wholeheartedly and plays it very well. Blake Mellencamp’s turn as the dim-witted Father Dermott McDermott brings all the silliness necessary to highlight the character, while Kyrsten Lyster and Jim Lucas do an excellent job of portraying the wily grifters, Bridget Roberson and Hugh O’Toole. As is tradition in their shows, local rap artist Nate Burner as Squashy Nate acts as our narrator through this farcical tale.

Kate Duffy is delightful as the dotty housekeeper Mrs. O’Boyle, who cheerfully serves up the puffin eggs in everything possible. However, it is her version of the smugly condescending parody of Olenna Tyrell that is worth the ticket price alone.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy some laughs as well as a nice up of puffin tea with Clerical Error Productions.

In the company’s first full length – not Fringe length – script, we pick up where Who’s Minding the Snapper left off. Father Ned, recently returned from temporary disciplinary assignment to Antarctica, is at war with his archrival Father Pat Curran. Who will emerge as top priest in the remote Irish parish? But it’s not just Ned’s reputation that’s at stake. Lock up your sheep, and watch your back. Shameful McShane is on the loose and Mrs. O’Boyle is calling in favors from the mob.

Table read hosted by the Indiana Playwrights Circle/Indiana Writers Center.

Written by Kate Duffy; Father Ned Tully – Jon Lindley; Father Dermott McDermott – Kysten Lyster; Father Finn Flannagan – David Molloy; Mrs O’Boyle – MaryAnne Mathews; Bishop Brannagan/Mrs. McShane – Rick Plummer; Sharon O’Riordan/Annie – Shari Grinnell; Stage Directions/Elvis – Ben Lagow

After a year’s COVID-induced hiatus, the company’s first full musical hit Indy Fringe in 2021. Ned, Dermott, and Mrs. O’Boyle unwittingly disrupt the Vatican’s intergalactic mission scheme and find themselves hurtling across space pursued by angry Jesuits. Cheesy sci-fi references abound as Dermott explores his true identity with The Alien and Cosmic Otter, only to learn there’s no place like home. 

Written by Kate Duffy and Directed by Dane Rogers and Sarah Hoback

Original music by Blake Mellencamp, Kate Duffy, and MaryAnne Mathews

Music arranged by Ryan Fitzharris

Choreography by Cindye McDaniel

Father Ned Tully – Jon Lindley

Father Dermott McDermott – Blake Mellencamp

Father Finn Flannagan – David Whicker/Dane Rogers

Mrs. O’Boyle – Kate Duffy

General Jesuit – David Molloy

Captain Jesuit – Manny Casillas

Alien – Kyrsten Lyster

Cosmic Otter – MaryAnne Mathews

"The truth about working with Clerical Error:
This was a great and refreshing experience for me. The artists were very serious about their craft and the director and producer were first rate."
The Magic Comic Jamahl Keyes

Clerical Error Productions, Inc., launched its first vaudeville revue, bringing this iconic American theatrical genre into the 21st Century. A variety of acts showcased some of Indy’s favorite performers to a sell out crowd.  Full pictures and a link to the video on our vaudeville page. Hosted by Kate Duffy and Jon Lindley, produced by David Molloy. Featuring Jason Adams, Matt Anderson, James Solomon Benn, Jamahl Keyes, Lola Lavacious, and Minnie Ryder.

IndyFringe 2022 and our collaboration with Mark Harvey Levine

Growing up requires you to leave home. Clerical Error left Perpendicular Island for Indy Fringe and mounted a series of short plays by internationally produced playwright Mark Harvey Levine. We’re proud that Mark reached out to us and trusted us with his work, and delighted to have brought a new ensemble of talented actors into the Clerical Error family.

Play by Play is a collection of fifteen very short plays that make wry observations about the human condition. Situations range from the mundane to the surreal with a commentator and announcer popping in from time to time to sum up the action and predict the outcome. Bryan Ball, Adam Crowe, Tracy Herring, TJ O’Neil, Talor Ray, and Michelle Wafford performed multiple roles during this fast paced, minimalist production. Jon Lindley directed. Cameo appearances by assistant director Kate Duffy and producer David Molloy.

“These folks are blessed with exquisite comic timing and natural delivery. Their pacing is on the money, and, most importantly, they understand the subtleties of acting that are essential to selling both comedy and drama.”

 Larry Adams, “A Seat on the Aisle”

“Every year, once people learn I’ve seen and am reviewing a whole bunch of Fringe shows, I’m asked what is good to recommend. This one’s at the top of the list, with something for every sense of humor, and not too challenging on the feels.” 

 John Belden, “Plays with John and Wendy”


Click on the link to hear Mark talk about Play by Play and Indy Fringe.
Video by Blake Mellencamp. Jig of Slurs. Dublin Reel - Merry Blacksmith. The Mountain Road by Sláinte is licensed under a Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Click on the link to hear Jon and the CEP Board of Directors talk about the troupe's origins, Play by Play, and Indy Fringe.
Video by Blake Mellencamp. "Jig of Slurs. Dublin Reel - Merry Blacksmith. The Mountain Road by Sláinte is licensed under a Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License"

Indiana Writers Center
10-Minute Play Festival

Clerical Error Productions joined Catalyst Repertory, Elliot Productions, Monument Theatre, Southbank Theatre, Loving Life Productions, and Theatre Unchained in producing seven ten-minute shorts by Indiana playwrights, October 6-9, 2022 at the IndyFringe Theatre.

 We collaborated with Becky Schlomann,  producing her short play DollyDirected by Kate Duffy, produced by David Molloy, featuring Talor Ray and Stacy Long. 


Gwendolyn arrives at Melissa’s door at 4:57 AM wearing a wedding veil, toting a doll (er, dolly — Salvador Dali, that is), and convinced that Melissa’s pastor husband should perform her wedding. Struggling to connect, the two women reflect on the many forms that love and loneliness take. 

Civic Engagement to
Bring Out the Vote

 Kate Duffy and James Benn moderated a Spirit&Place session on voter identity, November 6, 2022.  The interactive workshop was part of the Spirit and Place Festival and hosted by Indiana Vote By Mail and the League of Women Voters. Clerical Error Productions urges everyone to be an informed and diligent voter.

This fun and illuminating entertainment features James Benn giving voice to the jazz and blues songs from the Harlem Renaissance including works by Bessie Smith, Billie Strayhorn, and Duke Ellington as well as songs popularized by Alberta Hunter, Ethel Waters, and Ma Rainey — all of whom had, to different degrees, same-sex inclinations and involvements, though married during portions of their lives. 

This cabaret show included songs from the Harlem underground including Tain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do, Pretty Baby, Lush Life, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Nasty Man, and Am I Blue? with Carl Hines at the keyboard. 

“A little-over-an-hour musical romp through what was both the gay culture and Black culture of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s with lingering effects into the 1930s, an important part of both gay history and Black history — two histories Gov. De Santis wants to erase from the teaching of American history. It was a delightful romp in song featuring vocals by James Solomon Benn, who has an excellent, expressive voice, and who was accompanied on piano by long-time Indianapolis musician Carl Hines, now 82 and still going. A delightful evening!”

George Fish

Thanks to our sponsors: Arthur’s Music; Tom and Judie Doehrman; Jean Ellenberger; Happiness is Courage; Mass Ave. Pub; Mowery Heating, AC, Plumbing;  Nine Lives Cat Cafe; Denise Owens, Yohe Realty; Startup Ladies; Dr. Terry Whitt Bailey; Union of Black Episcopalians, Indianapolis. Video by Rob Slaven, Indy Ghost Light

Parodies recorded on Zoom

Unable to assemble on stage in 2020 due to the pandemic, the company took advantage of Zoom to create a virtual Father Ned, and two parodies of well loved shows in 15 minute shorts.

It’s a Quarantine, Father Ned! finds the residents of the Perpendicular Island parochial house isolated from one another while trying to carry on the parish business via Zoom. Dermott believes becoming Mr. Clean will create a healthier environment, while Ned is faced with an ethical dilemma: refuse to hold mass in person and face the Bishop’s ire, or hold mass in person and be castigated by the press. And how is Mrs. O’Boyle capable of serving tea through the screen?

Written by Blake Mellencamp

Music and video editing by Blake Mellencamp

Father Ned Tully – David Molloy

Father Dermott McDermott – Blake Mellencamp

Father Finn Flannagan – David Whicker

Mrs. O’Boyle – Kate Duffy

Bishop Brannagan – Jim Lucas

Sharon O’Riordan – Kyrsten Lyster

Your favorite vamps are back in What We Do in the Pandemic. Assembled for a virtual house meeting, the undead must come to terms with human blood tainted by COVID. Is there a role for them screening samples for the CDC? Meanwhile, the energy vampire is lapping up all the bad vibes created by his housemates’ consternation and public  quarantines and mask mandates.

Written by Kate Duffy

Music by Blake Mellencamp

Pandora the Persistent – Kate Duffy

Alphonso Ravensville – David Molloy

Lydia Ravensville – Kyrsten Lyster

Evan Livingstone – Blake Mellencamp

Jorge – Manny Casillas

It’s a Schlitz Crick Covid Christmas! The Bloze family are all in quarantine.  Donnie is trapped in the bathroom, Roman won’t come to the rescue without money – and more money, and Nora is hiding information that could be the key to salvaging the holiday and spicing up her marriage. But first, they have to fit a fully decorated Christmas tree through the bathroom window. Eeeewww, COVID!

Written by Kate Duffy

Donnie Bloze – David Molloy

Nora Bloze – Kate Duffy

Charlie – Kyrsten Lyster

Roman Schlitz – Jon Lindley

Daniel Bloze – Kaya Kyle Dorsch

Peter Baker – Manny Casillas

Alexa – Shari Grinnell