Maeve Binchy’s Minding Frankie
Adapted for stage by Shay Linehan at Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre
The premiere was part of a celebration of Maeve’s life at Dalkey Castle during the 2013 Dalkey Book Festival. It was attended by Maeve’s family and her London agent. It was staged again in Dalkey Castle as part of Dalkey Creates Festival in 2014.
Shay Linehan concentrated on the central character from a large cast in this adaptation of Maeve Binchy’s novel.
Noel Lynch is a functioning alcoholic when he gets a call from Stella, a woman he shared one drunken weekend with. Stella tells him she is having Noel’s child, but she is also dying from cancer. She asks Noel to raise their daughter, Frankie.
He tries, with some relapses, to transform his life to care for Frankie. The entire street gets involved. A social worker, Moira, doesn’t approve of this daisy chain of caring and tries to take the child from him. When Frankie is one year old, Noel takes a DNA test and discovers that he is not the biological father. He decides to keep the DNA result a secret.
In the play, we meet Noel on the morning of Frankie’s wedding day. As father of the bride, it is his duty to ‘give Frankie away’. But his doubts as to whether she is his to give away, bother him. Eventually, it is up to Frankie to decide whether he has earned the right to be her father, whatever the DNA report says.