A Date with Shillelagh - Review by NYMA

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 A Date With Shillelagh it’s a Drama and Thriller short film. 

This short film deals with the world of music business and its sexual predators, focusing on the misogynist behavior within the entertainment industry. 


Highlighted in high profile allegations against media mogul Harvey Weinstein. We can add this film production supports The “Me Too Movement”. Used as a hashtag on social media, "Me Too” spread virally in October 2017 in an attempt to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assaults and harassment, especially in the workplace. It followed soon after the sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein. A theme so important to deal with in this historical period. 


The story we have in this short film is very well sustained by the performances of the actors, in particular Eleanor Burke (Jo) who previously appeared in the Oscar nominated film 'Kon Tiki' and Lauren Cornelius (Karen) a regular with BBC Radio 4 drama. In this short film we follow Jo's dreams of fame. Failing to heed Karen's warnings about slimeball music promoter Billy Tomkins (played by Peter McManus), Jo chances the dance with danger, to pursue her Rolls Royce road to stardom.

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On the screen many elements help to create the sense of danger and ambiguity typical of a side of the entertainment industry: cinematography is quite dark and full of shadows and “lights of the show”, movements of the camera closely follow the actors, diegetic music and sound design underline the sense of fear and suspence of this short film. The script well shows conflicts and contradictions typical of this working environment. 


Date With Shillelagh has two directors who together worked to create this interesting short film: Brian Johnston and Jeff Stewart.


Moreover this short film is written and produced by Keith Large who in a preceding interview said : “We filmed mostly in Loughborough. It’s set in the ‘seventies and there’s a great scene where the star is coming out of a venue stage door to get into her Rolls Royce with crowds of screaming fans eager to see her. The College’s performing arts students were part of the mob, waving album covers we’d had made up with Eleanor’s face on them. Our motor vehicle lecturer Darren Wallis even appeared as the bodyguard. The Shillelagh of the title refers to a weapon, which we actually had made up in rubber for the film. It is a tribute to my late Mum, who used to have the real thing behind the bar at a pub she ran, which could get a little lively at times.”


Date With Shillelagh is actually Finalist at New York Movie Award.