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Tuesday December 18th 2018

An Awfully Big Adventure | 1995

An Awfully Big Adventure location: Olympia Theatre, Dame Street, Dublin
An Awfully Big Adventure location: The ‘Liverpool’ playhouse: Olympia Theatre, Dame Street, Dublin

Full marks to Hugh Grant, risking his newly-acquired star status after the phenomenal success of Four Weddings and a Funeral by playing the seedily manipulative gay theatre director in Mike Newell’s film of Beryl Bainbridge’s backstage tragedy.

Set in Liverpool during the Forties, the movie was filmed, apart from a couple of establishing shots of the Mersey, in Dublin as, once again, the Irish government scored with the tax breaks.

The ‘Playhouse’ is actually the beautiful 1,300 seat Victorian Olympia Theatre, 72 Dame Street, near the Temple Bar district.

An Awfully Big Adventure location: Bewley's Oriental Cafe, 78-79 Grafton Street, Dublin
An Awfully Big Adventure location: Gossip in the tea-room: Bewley’s Oriental Café, 78-79 Grafton Street, Dublin

Not far away is another Dublin institution, the tea-room where members of the company swap gossip. It’s Bewley’s Grafton Street Café, 78-79 Grafton Street.

Dublin Docks stand in for Liverpool’s Merseyside equivalent, where grand actor PL O'Hara (Alan Rickman) rides his motorbike.

The theatre’s rehearsal space might look familiar – it’s the same ornate, arched rehearsal room, above a snooker hall, used by the band in Alan Parker’s The Commitments. It was Ricardo's (itself once a cinema); it's now been dramatically restored, to become the stylish Camden DeLuxe Hotel, 84-87 Lower Camden Street. The ‘rehearsal space’ is now the Palace Nightclub, and the beautiful ceiling preserved.