Even someone newly-arrived from another planet would probably notice the lively competition now engaging the restaurants in Great Falls.
It’s a tough venue where the Old Brogue Irish Pub maintains its senior status with a reliable menu, dark-bar ambiance, and a good sight line from Georgetown Pike.
The Brogue also tends a deep commitment to the community with charity work, fireworks on July 4, and a vintage fire engine equipped with root beer on tap for community events.
Pubmeister Mike Kearney has for years served coffee to the Great Falls Friends at 8 a.m. once a month.
Last week, the Brogue ripped out the bar in its non-smoking Snuggery and filled the floor space with high-top tables to launch an original musical play written by a member of its staff.
The actors are waiters and waitresses. The story has conflict and resolution, action and humor, couched in dialogue that is quintessential Great Falls.
It has trophy wives, traffic jokes and a few bawdy references to the late-night action that playwright Becca Shoenfeld Holmes said she gleaned from the Great Falls populace.
ONE NIGHT after work, she said, she was singing in the car with waitresses Alison Jeans and Rebecca Williams. Their vocal stylings developed into the precis for a stage show.
“I’ve been sitting in a bar for three years, talking about Great Falls,” said Holmes. She satirized some of the stories she’s heard and wrote some music. She cast her husband, professional actor Bruce Holmes, as Harry Harp, a slimy developer who drives a Lincoln Navigator and has a cell phone appended to his ear.
He wants to cut down a tree in Reston where Thomas Jefferson wrote his memoirs and now is home to a spotted owl nest.
Rebecca Williams is Glory Guinness, an air-brained dimwit who drives “a Toyota Camry piece of [trash].”
After the two cars collide on Route 7, the plot thickens when neither Harry nor Glory can cross the highway to get help.
“Aren’t there any crosswalks on Route 7?” Harry asks in despair, failing to recognize Glory from one of his previous one-night assignations.
The dialogue is funny, pathetic, accurate, and quite often blue, but where there were three generations seated at one table in the Snuggery on opening night, all of them laughed at the same time.
A few gags, such as a cameo by Harry Potter, may have limned the awareness level of two of the generations, while others were too “inside baseball” to be understood outside the Brogue’s inner circle.
Newcomers may miss the references to zebras [at the former Pet-a-Pet Zoo] at the intersection of Baron Cameron Road and Route 7, where most of the action takes place.
But it’s a fun show, the food is good, and much of the humor is self-deprecating. The lewd humor was subtle enough to glance off diners who were out to celebrate Grandparents’ Day, but any barfly would enjoy this show very much.
Its witty dialogue is rife with references to Great Falls: Is there really a need another dry cleaners? Is there a crosswalk anywhere on Route 7? Can spotted owls and developers co-exist?
The Brogue Show continues through September with shows at 6 and 8 p.m. on Sundays ; $12 per person is added to the dinner check. For reservations, call 703-759-3309.