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Sunday in the Park with George

28 Nov 2024

Jekyll and Hyde

7 Apr 2025

Crazy For You

4 Sept 2024

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

13 Apr 2025

To be announced

1 Apr 2025


Calendar Girls as presented by Fun House Theatre Company

Fun House Theatre Company Tullamore Calendar Girls, The Musical 1st – 5th May 2024 Esker Arts Centre, Tullamore. Adjudication Performance...

Fun House Theatre Company Tullamore  Calendar Girls, The Musical 1st – 5th May 2024 Esker Arts Centre, Tullamore. Adjudication Performance 2nd May 2024 Calendar Girls The Musical, a unique and heart-warming production by the Fun House Theatre Company, was a delightful experience with performances from the 1st to the 5th of May 2024 in Tullamore. The newly refurbished Esker Arts Centre's modern setting and top-notch facilities provided a perfect backdrop for the performance. The warm welcome was extended by the front of House Manager Shane Origan and Press Officer Deborah Stenson, acknowledging the audience's crucial role in the show. I was made to feel like part of the theatrical family, adding a personal touch to the experience.  The Director of this production, Mr Pat McElwain, brought his extensive experience to bear, resulting in an expertly directed show. Mr McElwain's solid understanding of the characters and keen eye for casting was evident from when the cast stepped on stage until the final word. Mr McElwain's ability to balance the comedic and emotional elements of the show was a testament to his skill, beautifully bringing the story to life on stage. Mr McElwain's clever direction seamlessly showcased this production's incredible talent and expertise. The ensemble cast delivered memorable performances, and the characters were magically created and developed with Mr McElwain's experience. It was no surprise that Mr McElwain's direction would be simply incredible and that it most definitely would make an authentic and engaging experience for the audience. And I was right. This production was a resounding success, offering a perfect blend of exceptional performances in a beautifully refurbished venue. Mr McElwain's passion for storytelling and dedication to bringing this heart-warming tale to life are commendable. Along with strong leadership, this show was so unique and full of emotion. Three words come to my mind to describe Mr McElwain's direction in this production. Humour, Heart, and Emotion.  Shane Farrell, the Musical Director, brought a palpable passion to this role. During the performance, I felt the Orchestra were a little behind the ensemble or could have been moved at a better pace. These instances were rare and mostly noticeable in the chaotic calendar shoot scene which is easily the most frenetic and funniest scene of the evening. So it is understandable. The cohesive and powerful sound produced by the ensemble singing was a testament to a commitment to excellence. His leadership and attention ensured this audience witnessed a memorable performance by the whole company. The ensemble's harmonious and powerful sound showed Mr Farrell's expertise and dedication, leaving a strong and very emotional impression on me and the audience.  The Choreographer was Chris Corroon. The choreography was captivating in many scenes, adding a considerable, charming, and essential element that significantly enriched the overall production. Mr Corroon's choreography demonstrated a masterful understanding of the musical's themes and characters, seamlessly weaving storytelling into each dance sequence. The choreography complemented the music and lyrics and was a powerful storytelling tool.  Furthermore, Chris Corroon's choreography and sheer professionalism added energy to the heart wrenching output in parts and fun in others, showcasing the many diverse dance styles that resonated with the audience throughout the show. As a Choreographer, Mr Corroon’s' talent was absolutely instrumental and indeed vital in creating a memorable and engaging theatrical experience for everyone. Mr Corroon, your choreography brought the show to life. As a member of the audience, Mr Corroon’s choreography and gift captivated us and left a lasting impression. And it was also simply a pleasure to meet you, Mr Corroon. Bravo.  The Stage Manager was Wayne Handy. The sets were simply stunning. So pretty, colourful, and danced in the light; the houses were beautifully painted, the flower cart with a blaze of colour that would light up the darkest of rooms, the set with the little stone wall where John Clarke walked as he left this earth when he passed and his spirit soared off into the sky was so life I was lost for words. The gorgeous sunflowers emblazoning the stage were a visual feast. The projections were simply stunning and ideally strategically placed. They were so immersed in the actual story on the stage that one could easily forget you were not looking out on a gorgeous green, vibrant meadow or that it was John Clarke's spirit soaring off into the light with the cast standing back to the audience watching him, which moved me to tears and was simply an incredible scene. Incredible. These sets, transitions, and attention to detail magnificently brought this story to life. I cannot but only praise the Stage Manager, Wayne Handy, and the superb crew and team involved in creating these sets, which were simply a stunning vision every second of the show.  The lighting design also played a crucial role in enhancing the overall atmosphere and the story. The lighting design very effectively sets the mood for each scene with gorgeous warm hues, fading lights and relevant spots and contrasts to reflect the emotional journey of many characters. The spotlights, in particular, and washes highlighted beautifully key moments on stage, such as when John Clarke is now in a wheelchair and he rises and starts walking towards the sun; the lighting here was sublime and so moving. The seamless coordination of lighting cues and the strategic use of light and shadow, particularly in Act 1, brought tremendous emotion directly to the show, and then again in Act 2 for the Calendar shoot, which was so clever and brilliantly lit subtly and effectively.  The sound design was simply superb. Music and dialogue were so clear, and the balance of the sound amplified the performers' voices and musical arrangements, ensuring that every note and lyric resonated throughout the Theatre. A practical and well-balanced sound from each actor and ensemble was superbly made, and the sound was simply breath-taking throughout, especially in the significant Musical numbers and highlights such as “Yorkshire”, “Who Wants A Silent Night”, to and “Dare” the sound which bounced off the walls of the Theatre.  The costumes, hair, and makeup were again perfect. The Christmas costumes were superb and colourful, a testament to the dedication and artistry of the production team. The attention to detail in the costumes brought each character to life, capturing the essence of their personalities and the period with remarkable accuracy. From the vibrant and quirky attire of the calendar photo shoot to the everyday wardrobe of the characters, the costumes were both appropriate and lovely.  Colourful and sad, seasonal (Christmas), Spring, the individual characters and personalities of the ladies, all dressed to reflect their varying personalities, were superb and magnificently thought out.  The hair and makeup design further contributed to the authenticity of the production. The careful consideration of each character's hairstyle and makeup application added depth to their portrayal, allowing the audience to connect with them more personally. The makeup design was awe-inspiring in transforming the actors to fit the age and personality of their characters, adding to the overall believability of the performance. Additionally, the props used in the musical were meticulously chosen and crafted, enhancing the production's visual appeal and contributing to the seamless immersion of the audience into the story's world. The props were visually striking and served as functional elements that enriched the storytelling, creating a sense of time and place, along with meticulous attention to detail.  Jay Origan played the part of Chris. Jay's character in this production, which she made of it and brought to it, was nothing short of exceptional. Ms Origan brought a remarkable wit, infectious fun, and fantastic comedic timing to the role, captivating the audience with her vibrant and passionate portrayal of a character deeply devoted to her village and friends time and time again. Her performance was a true standout, as she skilfully balanced the character's humour with genuine emotion.  Her performance radiated with wit, charm, and magnetic energy that captivated the audience when she stepped onto the stage. Ms Origan brought an unparalleled sense of fun and light-heartedness to the character, infusing each scene with her fantastic comedic timing and a genuine passion for her village and friends. Her portrayal of Chris was a masterclass in comedic delivery, effortlessly drawing out laughter from the audience with her quick wit and infectious humour. Ms. Origan's command of the stage, with her presence and comedic prowess, was genuinely remarkable, making Chris a standout character in every scene she graced.  Amanda Cunningham played the part of Annie. This exceptional and captivating performance truly brought this gorgeous character of Annie to life on stage. Ms Cunningham’s' portrayal of Annie's persona was beautiful. Ms Cunningham seamlessly moved between moments of vulnerability and strength and optimism (holding out hope for John through the different times of the year of his illness. Her friendship with Chris and Ms Cunningham is a remarkable strength of emotion and sadness of her turmoil of losing her beautiful and adored husband, John. And yet there were some comedic moments filled with wit and charm, where I just burst out laughing as did the rest of the audience with this lady's genuine humour. It was infectious. I cannot but finish and not say that Ms Cunningham’s' portrayal of her more poignant moments was profoundly moving, evoking a sense of empathy for which I had tears. Super.  Sinead Handy played Ruth. Ms Handy was a confident and determined character, and her unwavering dedication to the cause of creating the calendar shone through every single line of her performance. Ms Handy effectively conveyed her leadership qualities and emotions, and we all watched in awe and empathised with her journey. She had a wonderful stage presence.  Emma Stowe played the part of Cora. Wow. This young lady brought a brilliant, vibrant, and lively energy to the production. I loved her comedic timing and infectious enthusiasm. Ms Stowe exuded a vibrant and dynamic presence as Cora, capturing the audience's attention with her charisma and wit from the moment she arrived on stage. Fabulous role, Ms Stowe.  Jenny McCabe played the part of Celia. What a sweet, warm, and nurturing nature Ms McCabe possessed, providing a sense of empathy and compassion within the group of friends.  Joan White played the part of Jessie. Ms. White brought a real sense of rebellion and free-spiritedness to her performance. Her bold and adventurous personality added a lovely element of unpredictability and excitement to the group dynamic. Ms. White had such a lovely and adventurous spirit and yet such inner turmoil; this role was played superbly by Ms. White, with excellent timing.  Grace Kinirons played the part of Marie. It was a remarkable performance, filled with emotion, authenticity, and simply a captivating presence on stage. Ms. Kinirons strong stage presence and powerful delivery meant this character shone, leaving a lasting impression on me.  Carla Carey played the part of Mrs Tea, and Anne O’Sullivan played the part of Mrs Coffee. They are such a comical duo. You reminded me of a double version of Mrs Brown in Father Ted, which is a compliment! Superb facial expression and humour, great costume, your tea trolley was loaded with so much paraphernalia that it was simply fantastic with particular reference to the teapot!  Joe Steiner played the part of John. Mr Steiner. You broke my heart with your magnificent performance in this beautiful show. Such a gorgeous, charming, friendly young man with a wife you adored and a life you adored, and everyone loved you. The portrayal of the worsening of your illness and nothing working was blindingly emotional and so sad. Yet, Mr Steiner, you still brought comedy to the role, even up to the last few moments in your Santa dressing gown. Your acting was just splendid, and I could reach out and touch your love for Annie. What you made of this character of yours as John Clarke was an honour to watch you. Superb role. When John Clarke died in this production it really felt like someone somewhere turned a light off it had such an impact.  Cherise O’Moore played Jenny's part. Gorgeous role and beautifully acted. Ms O’Moore delivered an excellent performance. She skilfully portrayed Jenny's emotional complexity, her strength of character, her get up and get on with it personality with a hint of boldness and bravery all in one. With a powerful stage presence, Ms O’Moore delivered a powerful musical performance, and her determination and portrayal of this role were simply a joy to watch with her no-nonsense attitude and great rapport and fun with many of the characters. However, Ms O’Moore came into her own when she arrived for the calendar shoot, and her leadership, easy-going yet authoritative attitude, and organisation brought out the more mature side of Ms O’Moore’s character. And a charming actress.  Daniel Whelan played Danny's part. Watching Mr Whelan in this role was like watching a comedic maestro at work. His impeccable timing and knack for delivering punchlines with finesse had the audience in stitches. Whether bumbling through a scene or charming his way into the audience's hearts, Danny's performance was a delightful rollercoaster of laughter and amusement. Simply a fantastic performance. What a laugh you gave your audience, Mr Whelan. Brilliant role for you. It was your facial expressions and your side-eye looks that won me over. You were just consistently funny. Super.  Eoin Kenny played the part of Tommo. Mr Kenny’s interpretation was another comedic tour de force. His ability to infuse the character with an endearing mix of quirkiness and absurdity left the audience roaring with laughter. Mr Kenny’s hilarious and magnificent stage presence and facial expressions made me laugh at the drama. Your drama added a delightful spark to the show, turning even the most mundane moments into uproarious scenes. Superbly played. Bravo. Declan Finn played the part of Rod. He is Chris’s husband and a true gentleman who loves Chris. He played this role in such a beautiful way as a kind and supportive man. Mr Finn was a source of strength and stability to Chris during the challenges they faced. His relationship with Chris was so well played and yet heart-warming at the same time. He played a gorgeous role.  Ray O’Hare played the part of Laurence. A nervous disposition and very quiet he worked the stage naturally and in the calendar shoot scene was excellent in his quirkiness and slight eccentricity and yet a truly lovely gentleman. Lovely role played very well.  John Bourke played the part of Dennis Jessies husband, and Paul Spencer played the part of Colin who is Celia’s husband. These were two cracking roles indeed for these gentlemen, lovely bit of camaraderie and banter and a bit of shock what the wives were planning for the Calendar this roles although small were yet very significant and well played throughout. Good stage moments and great ease of movement around the stage. Two strong roles. Well done Gentlemen. The chorus in "Calendar Girls The Musical" brought extraordinary talent and skill to their performance, enriching the production with seamless harmonies, impeccable choreography, and dynamic stage presence. Their ability to transition effortlessly between diverse musical styles and emotional tones captivated the audience, drawing them deeper into the story's heart. The chorus's impressive vocal prowess and nuanced physical expressions conveyed the essence of each scene with remarkable depth and authenticity, creating a truly immersive and captivating theatrical experience. Their collective dedication and artistry elevated the overall impact of "Calendar Girls The Musical," leaving a lasting and memorable impression on all fortunate enough to witness their exceptional performance. It was a joy to be with you all on the evening of the 2nd of May. This team is a team that works. Stay together. Build together and continue loving each other as you all visibly do through thick and thin, as well as your dark days and clouds. Remember, there are always sunflowers and rainbows ahead, no matter how far away they seem. I will say goodbye to each of you on what has been a glorious emotionally filled performance with the words of YOUR song “Dare”……… “Find the rules you knew, and break them, 
 Find the roads you know, don’t take them, 
 Whatever is telling you no, 
  Whatever is changing your mind, 
 There's courage you’ll only ever find.  
 If you Dare, just for once, don’t stop and stare.  
 Spread your wings and trust the air.  
 When you feel you’ve gone too high, keep climbing…  
 If you dare, take a run and leave the ground.  Take a second and look down; 
 see a thousand arms are there – if you dare. 
 There are coastlines in the heart. If you dare,  
 You won't be ready if you don’t start if you dare, 
 Set a course for off-the-charts if you dare. You dared. And it was beautiful.  Those who dare sometimes Win. And you certainly DID!  Thank you all for giving me the gift of watching you dare tonight. Congratulations.  Caroline Daly Jones Sullivan Adjudicator 2023 / 2024

Sister Act as presented by Clara Musical Society

Public Adjudication: Sister Act as presented by Clara Musical Society: Saturday 13th April 2024. I’m spending so much time looking at...

Public Adjudication:   Sister Act as presented by Clara Musical Society:   Saturday 13 th April 2024.   I’m spending so much time looking at nuns these days, I’m beginning to feel quite spiritual. Mind you, if the local churches presented their gospel in the manner in which I’m becoming accustomed to hearing it, the churches would probably have much larger congregations. For the joy that emanates from a production of Sister Act is something unique, as the audiences in  Clara have been witnessing this week. If it wasn’t for the murder at the start, the gangsters running around the stage and the cops in hot pursuit, it would be quite the religious experience. In actual fact, it’s a wonderful theatrical experience, and one that Clara Musical Society, under the guidance of Director, Alan Recks, have had great fun presenting.  There was a well-painted, well-constructed, attractive, and practical set for this production, doing enough to suggest the various locations without over-taxing the stage crew, who, under stage manager and designer, Wayne Handy, kept the action flowing with very little interruption. Alan’s focus was on using the stage space well, combining it with good visuals and strongly drawn characters, and putting an emphasis on the comedy and the musical quality of the piece, which, as Musical Director, he managed to achieve most successfully. Leading, from the keyboards, an orchestra who really got under the skin of the great gospel rhythms. He managed to keep a good balance between them and the energetic and enthusiastic chorus, as they pumped out quality vocals and great harmonies. They did all that was required of them and more, with good energy, a great sense of fun and an impressive level of discipline, which was also the case with their dance routines, which were varied and interesting, despite many of the big numbers having very similar rhythms. That variety was a result of good creative work by choreographer, Ruth Maher, who elicited good precision from her performers. There was also delightfully twee and highly amusing work done on the boys’ routines, with “Lady in the Long Black Dress” being the choreographic and comedic showstopper. All in all, Ruth gave us a very well-presented package.  Amanda Cunningham was a very good Deloris Van Cartier, with a great sense of comedy, and bucket loads of passion. In such a demanding role, she never wavered, and she sold her songs with a strong and note-perfect voice. Her interactions with the Mother Superior were particularly entertaining, always heated, but with great mutual respect also. Very well played. Joan White, as Mother Superior, had a lovely snippy delivery of her disdain at having to house Deloris at her church. Beautifully played, with well-delivered comedy, she had that befuddled confusion of trying to accept the changing times, but also a lovely sincerity in her devout religion. She certainly seemed to enjoy becoming ‘hip’ in the finale. “Her” was well sung.  Stephen Rabbette, as Sweaty Eddie, was a very enjoyable dork in the early scenes of the show, made the most of “I Could Be That Guy,” and comically became the hero at the end of the show. A lovely all-round performance. Stephen Keegan was a real louse as tough Guy, Curtis, full of evil and egotism as he sold “When I Find My Baby,” and happily brought down to size by Eddie and the nuns. A nicely played rogue.  Malcolm Whelan was a very jolly and slightly silly Monsignor O’Hara, but he made the most of his journey, delightfully transforming from proper and correct to wannabe rock DJ. Played with a fine sense of comedy.  Laoise Flanagan was suitably gentle as Mary Roberts in her early scenes, and then blossomed into an impassioned soul on her journey of self-discovery. Her rendition of “The Life I Never Led” was very good and displayed a very capable vocal quality.  Aoife Devery’s Sister Mary Patrick needed to lay off the Red Bull, if her hyperactivity was anything to go by! Played with a great sense of fun, she maintained her ditzy character delightfully all night.  Janet Coss was a suitably grumpy Mary Lazarus, but so much fun when she let her guard down and got into the spirit of the rock gospel music, and she could certainly ‘feel the beat.’ Aoife Fitzsimons aged herself beautifully and was a crooked and comical Mary Martin of Tours, and Grainne Donoghue wheezed her way to a very funny performance as Mary Theresa. As a collective, these sisters were great together.  Then there were those three dumb gangsters, Chris Corroon as TJ, Liam Cushen as Joey, and Barry Dunne as Pablo. These three were very funny together, oozing a kind of negative sex appeal, smarmy and inappropriate, and well, looking a bit like the leftovers from a bad 70’s porn movie. With good falsetto, deranged dance moves and much silliness, “Lady in the Long Black Dress” was the song of the show, for me, showing these three at their comedic best.  Ruth Kelly and Aisling Geoghegan performed very well as Tina and Michelle, Sean Keeney was a good Ernie, and there were several cameo roles that were all well-realized.  Lighting for this production was generally atmospheric, with some very nice effects and good definition of special areas. On the few occasions, principals missed their spotlights, but the efficient board operator quickly sorted the problem by adding more lights. Sound quality was good throughout the show, with pretty tight cueing and good balance between the singers and the musicians.  From a costume point of view, the nuns looked good in their normal day wear, funny and cute in their night dresses, and resplendent in their multi-colored, cabaret nuns’ habits. Those cheesy gangsters were (dis)tastefully attired in their gaudy seventies’ styles, with their garish hairstyles, all totally in keeping with the era and with their personalities. Props and the dressing of the stage were all very much in order, so that visually, the whole show had a good feel to it.  While Sister Act may not be the most challenging show ever conceived, it is certainly one of the best feel-good pieces on offer, and when it is presented as well as this one, it will not fail to send the audience home with bright smiles on their faces. My gratitude to all in Clara for a super night of entertainment.  Peter Kennedy Gilbert Adjudicator 23/24 Photos credit  Paul Kelly / Indigo Lighting

Legally Blonde as presented by St. Mels Musical Society

Legally Blonde as performed by St. Mel’s, Longford: Date of Adjudication: Wednesday 3rd April 2024. It’s just as well that Legally Blonde...

Legally Blonde as performed by St. Mel’s, Longford:   Date of Adjudication: Wednesday 3 rd April 2024.   It’s just as well that Legally Blonde has become one of my favourite musicals, for it has had plenty of outings during my years of adjudicating. The ‘snaps’ and oft repeated ‘Oh my God, you guys’ in the opening scene which initially irritated me, now serve to perk me up and prepare for a night of great comedy and high energy. St. Mel’s of Longford used the show to showcase many tried and tested performers, but also to give several young performers an opportunity to step into the spotlight. While the night threw up some technical issues, on a performance level, it scored highly for energy and talent. The production was very well paced, and the audience certainly appreciated the songs, the dancing and the strong comedy.  Musical Director, Vince Tully, led a very secure band of musicians who produced quality and tone from the pit, along with secure tempi and good rhythms. There was also much evidence of good work on harmonies from the chorus. There were a couple of small incidents when singers and musicians got slightly out of sync, particularly during the introductions of the Harvard students, but these seemed to be quickly remedied. There were also occasions when the overly high pitch of the Delta Nus led to a lack of clarity of diction, both in the singing and the spoken word. Ironically, the same Delta Nus provided the best moments of the show, due to brilliantly choreographed dance routines. Choreographer, Niamh O’Brien, did superb work throughout, with precisely executed synchronized routines, high energy and great variety in her steps. The skipping routine for Whipped Into Shape was excellent, and there was also good balance in her choreography, knowing when to flood the stage with movement, and when to keep the routines tight, precise and reflective of the lyrics being sung. This was top-notch presentation.  Director, Alan Greaney. Gave a good shape to the production, using the available stage space very well, with good, ever-changing pictures, and by and large, the pace of the show was very good. His pitching of the comedy was very good, with some lovely innovative touches. Using Kyle, the delivery man, to deliver the house notices at the start of the show was very clever and funny. Perhaps a bit more time needed to be spent on encouraging Elle and Emmet to play their romantic scenes a little less self-consciously, and the issue of high-pitched voices needed to be addressed, for the sake of rescuing some very funny punch lines. Setting aside some technical problems, this was still a very enjoyable and well-thought-out production.  The visual quality of the show, with a well-selected wardrobe, good hairstyles and make-up, and good soft furnishings for the interior scenes, was very good. In great costumes, Elle always looked radiant, and the Delta Nu had good individuality in their day outfits, and good uniformity in their routine outfits. Emmet went from scruffy casual to well-dressed lawyer very successfully, and there were good and appropriate outfits from the many diverse characters who appear throughout the story.  Unfortunately, the lighting of the show was very far from satisfactory. There were shadows everywhere, dark spots, poor focus and sudden on/off of lights throughout the performance that were distracting. I suspect there must have been a breakdown in communication, with set design, lighting design and director not always working off the same page. It didn’t ruin the show, but it certainly didn’t enhance it. The set for the show was satisfactory, but with a lot of moving pieces, I felt a tad sorry for stage manager, Eddie Kiernan and his team, who worked hard to keep everything moving. There were a few thuds of furniture falling off stage, which I suspect may have been the result of darkness in the wings. Sound quality, with the early exception of a couple of late cues, was pretty good throughout the show. I appreciate that the lack of clarity of some high-pitched voices was not the fault of the sound engineer.  What I enjoyed most about the show was the performances, some of them polished and experienced and others energetic and full of promise.  Aisling Farrell gave a great look, plenty of energy and a good voice to the role of Elle Woods, comfortable in her character and comedy, if perhaps a little tentative in her romantic exchanges. Initially, she spoke too fast and with her exchanges with the Delta Nu, she was a tad high-pitched. She was at her best singing and dancing along with the Delta Nu, and in her sequences with Paulette. This is a young lady full of potential, who will doubtless play many more roles in the future. This was a most impressive debut with St. Mel’s. Iarlaith O’Rourke got the character of Emmet just about right, nerdy and insecure in the early scenes, but maturing as his relationship with Elle developed. The romance between them was a little awkward but played with sincerity. His vocals and sense of pathos and comedy were good.  Kevin Gormley was an arrogant, self-centred Warner, as he should have been, seemingly full of swagger and charm, but underneath it all, a bit obnoxious. Of course, it was all played with good comedic effect, and Kevin also had a pleasing vocal quality.  Natasha Brady was suitably nasty and condescending as Vivienne in the early scenes of the show, and warmed nicely when she realized that Elle was actually a good person. Played with plenty of confidence and showing her vocal ability in the Legally Blonde Remix. Paul Hennessy made a strong impact as the unethical Professor Callahan, with very good delivery of Blood in the Water. He showed good authority and austerity in his early scenes, and a creepy nastiness when he revealed his lust. Nicely played.  Gráinne Fox had a lot of fun with the character of Paulette, particularly playing her scenes with Kyle and being freaked by the Delta Nu. Her comedy was well-delivered, and her rendition of Ireland was most amusing.  Perhaps the most confident performance of the evening came from Niamh O’Brien, putting great energy and flexibility into her routines as Brooke Wyndham. She also had a good comedic grasp of her character, delivering her lines with authority.  The Delta Nu, Aoibhinn Macken as Margot, Dearbhaile Madden as Pilar and Niamh Dempsey as Kate, all seemed to be suffering slightly from Helium-addiction in their early scenes, so high-pitched were their voices that I lost quite a bit of their dialogue. They were, however, highly energetic, delightfully girly, and superb in their dancing and singing. The exception was Leia Victory as Serena, who not only sounded great, but she completely commanded attention throughout the show with strong character and powerful presentation. Jim Maher got the show off to a great start delivering the house announcements, in the character of Kyle. He played the hunk believably, making the most of his comedy with Paulette, and then having great fun with his Irish dancing.  Joanne Sexton impressed greatly as an angry and animated Enid Hoopes. Gerard Rafferty was a convincing slob as Dewey and tidied up nicely as Winthrop. Sarah Hanley made an impression as Erin Schultz and Caoimhe Hennessy played the spoilt brat, Chutney, very capably. There was good camp humour from Jason Kenny as Nicos and Conor White as Carlos, adding much fun to the Gay or European courtroom sequence. Other performance of note came from Paul O’Brien and Sabina Ryan as Elle’s Dad and Mum, Lyndsay Considine as Whitney, Andrew Reynolds as Pforzheimer, Louise Walsh as the flirtatious Judge, Avril Kelly as D.A. Joyce Reilly, Crystal O’Doherty as Kiki the colourist, Maria Dunne as the flippant saleswoman, Leo Docherty and Noah Shannon as Guards, Oonagh O’Ferrall as Gaelan and Ava Hopkins as Leilani.  A well-animated chorus did a very good job of reacting to the business around them and performed all their dance and movement with good energy. For the most part, they were also vocally secure, although diction was a bit of a problem in the early high-pitched numbers. But there was evidence of good work on vocal harmonies. They made a very good contribution to the overall production.  As I headed home after the show, it was the slick choreography of the Delta Nus, and the great promise and energy of the very capable young Elle that stayed in my head as the most impressive aspects of a show that was engaging and thoroughly entertaining. Thank you to all concerned for your talent and commitment.  Peter Kennedy Gilbert Adjudicator 23/24 Photography by Frank McGrath and Shelly Corcoran.

Legally Blonde as presented by Newbridge Musical Theatre

Legally Blonde as performed by Newbridge Musical Theatre: Date of Adjudication: Tuesday 2nd April 2024. Oh my God, oh my God you guys!...

Legally Blonde as performed by Newbridge Musical Theatre:   Date of Adjudication: Tuesday 2 nd April 2024.   Oh my God, oh my God you guys! What a bright and breezy tonic this show proved to be for Newbridge Musical Theatre. The last year has been all about Barbie at the movies, but when it comes to Pink, I’d much rather enjoy the antics of Elle Woods, as she sets out to empower  women and to win back her man. This wonderful show, with its wit and wisdom, goes straight for the funny bone, and Newbridge put good emphasis on the comedy of the piece in presenting a joyously happy encounter.  Director, Art McGauran, handled this show with a light touch, revelling in the comedy of the piece and making good sense of the story, and good use of the stage. Characters were well realised, and the cast seemed to be having a ball in their presentation. Good attention has been given to the technical aspects of the production to allow for a smooth pace to the whole performance. The set for the show worked very well and was artistically pleasing. It wasn’t over-elaborate, but it functioned very well and gave good variety for the various scenes, with a particularly well-used central revolve. Stage Manager, Orla Kavanagh, had her crew well drilled in carrying out their duties and the scene changes ran smoothly and efficiently.  Musical Director, Dave McGauran, presented an animated and strongly rhythmic score with lightness and energy, and gave good leadership to a feisty orchestra of very good musicians. He had also done very good work with his chorus, who presented their vocals with crisp diction and good secure harmonies.  Jodie Kelly played the challenging role of Elle Woods with good confidence, good comedy and a heart full of emotion. There was much sincerity in her affection, firstly for Warner, then delightfully for Emmett. She carried off her routines with good energy and sang with good tone and lovely expression in what was a nicely controlled performance. Daniel Ryan gave an endearing performance as Emmett Forrest, suitably nerdy and guarded in the early scenes and growing in confidence and stature as he falls for Elle. His vocals were pleasant and secure, he had good comedic timing, and when he stood tall to Callahan, he rightfully blossomed into the perfect romantic hero of Elle’s story.  Helena Begley, as Paulette Buonufonte, provided a great down-to-earth character, contrasting well with the more uppity attitudes of the sorority girls. Helena displayed a wealth of talent as both an actress and a singer. Her delivery of Ireland was great, and she was extremely funny and vocally top-notch in learning the Bend and Snap. Her comedy was highlighted by her encounters with Kyle.  Rory Dignam was a delightfully shallow Warner Huntington III, which is exactly what he needed to be, but perhaps, had he been a little more suave, he might have more believably merited the affections of Elle and then Vivienne. He handled Serious very well, and he had a good sense of the comedy of his scenes.  Conor Kilduff proved the old adage of Don’t judge a book by its cover, by presenting himself as a rather likeable Professor Callahan, only to reveal himself later as a sleaze. Despite his initial pleasantness, there was an undercurrent of ruthlessness in his great delivery of Blood in the Water. This was a very nicely played role.  Clodagh Donnelly impressed greatly as Vivienne Kensington, a seemingly heartless vixen at the start, deliciously bitchy and superior in attitude, and then proving her worth when she acknowledges her admiration for Elle, which she did with a quite dynamic vocal quality.  Brooke Wyndham was nicely portrayed by Áine Winter, feisty and energetic in her Whipped Into Shape sequence, and very secure in her attitude and comedy.  Ava Trundle presented a strong character in the shape of feminist and activist, Enid Hoopes, and made the most of all her comedic opportunities.  As the Delta Nu’s, Elizabeth Stears as Pilar, Aisling Kelly as Margot, Lauren Dooley as Serena and Tanya Gallagher as Kate, worked extremely well together as a team while also showing good individuality of character. Their singing and their dancing was impressive and energetic, and their antics were most amusing.  Adam Trundle was a convincing Aaron Schultz, alongside a strong Cian McKeon as Sundeep Padamadan, who also doubled as a very funny Nikos.  Sinéad Ní Ghríofa was a very capable Whitney, and Hayley Campbell was a spoilt and sulky Chutney. Michael Maguire was as slob as Dewey, and more sophisticated as Pforzheimer, while Gearóid McGauran (my God, they’re everywhere) made a very worthy and amusing contribution as Kyle. Art McGauran made a Hitchcock-style cameo appearance as a credible Mr Woods, alongside his wife, played convincingly by Shirley Campbell. There were other note-worthy performances from Ciara Stanley as Gaelen, Tara Haughton as Leilani, Rachael Kearns as Taylor, Danielle Hayden Mangan as Courtney and Joyce, John Mullen as Winthrop and Orla Williams as The Judge.  Star performances came from Paco as Bruiser, and Penny as Rufus.  As mentioned, the chorus involvement in the show was strong and secure, especially from a vocal point of view, making a good impact with their harmonies and their confidence. They acted and reacted convincingly to the action of each scene, and worked hard to perfect their dance routines, courtesy of Choreographer, Áine Foley, who created nice patterns with the  Delta Nu, and a great energetic routine for What You Want. Whipped Into Shape had an odd skipping rope error but it was still a very well-designed routine, and Bend and Snap was wonderful in design and execution.  A good lighting design provided atmosphere to the sets and there were good special areas to highlight the action, with performers never left in shadow. Visually, costumes, by and large, were very good, with the Delta Nu looking as good as the imagined Greek Chorus as they did in reality. Elle’s costumes were good but maybe not outstanding enough, particularly the Bunny costume which looking a little frumpy, despite the actress’s ability to look good in everything. Emmet smartened up nicely after his shopping spree with Elle, and the other principals were well-defined by their outfits. The dressing of the stage, with many appropriate props and furnishings, was very good. Apart from one or two slightly late cues, the sound system was well-operated throughout, with good balance between the cast and the orchestra.  All in all, this was actually a very smooth, secure, if perhaps a little safe, production of a highly entertaining show. Essentially, it did what Legally Blonde should do, it thoroughly entertained a highly appreciative audience and sent them home with their toes tapping, their faces smiling and their ears ringing with the wonderful music of a great fun night of musical theatre, provided by a talented and energetic cast and crew. Thank you to all concerned, and I wish you well in all your future endeavours. Peter Kennedy Gilbert Adjudicator 23/24 Photos by Conway Photography

Little Shop of Horrors as presented by Ballinasloe Musical Society

WEDNESDAY 20TH March to Saturday 23rd March 2024 Adjudication Performance 22nd March As I drove into the town of Ballinasloe, immediately...

WEDNESDAY 20TH March to Saturday 23rd March 2024  Adjudication Performance  22nd March As I drove into the town of Ballinasloe, immediately upon turning onto Main Street on my right-hand side, I saw the most beautiful building, so historic, loads of character, and a little quirky, with a gorgeous red door and a sign that said “Town Hall Theatre” carved over two gorgeous red doors. I hoped this was where my journey had led me on this evening in March. And I was right!! Delighted, I parked and headed inside to be met by the most gracious gentleman, Gerry Sweeney. I was handed a very elegant-looking folder with my program, a notepad, and a pen and was shown to a gorgeous prime location seat. I looked forward so much to what would be my world for the next couple of hours or so. And I was most definitely not disappointed. I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the outstanding work of your front-of-house team. From the moment I arrived at the Town Hall Theatre, I was met with a warm welcome and hospitality that was second to none. Their total friendliness and attention to detail were remarkable, and they made the experience all the more enjoyable. This level of hospitality is not always found in amateur productions, but here, it exceeded my expectations, and everyone had a fantastic time. Congratulations to the entire Front-of-House Team on a job well done. The Director was Ronan Lardner and this was his first time working as a director with the Ballinasloe Musical Society, adding a fresh perspective and excitement to the production. The opening number, “Little Shop of Horrors,” was lively and energetic. I immediately sensed the individuality of the characters of the girls Ronette, Crystal, Chiffon, and Diamond (what glorious names!) and the ensemble. This show moved beautifully and at a marvellous pace. It was directed in such a way that there was fun, there was humour, there was pain, love, music, and joy, a cacophony of emotions and personalities all on stage, all blending beautifully, and an immediate sense of camaraderie and friendship that was powerful and very quickly this whole Theatre transformed into a bit of place in our world where the audience and the cast became one – or so it felt like this anyway. The Direction in scenes such as Skid Row (Downtown) and “Somewhere that’s Green” melted my heart, the opening number was so catchy, and the scene in the Dentist chair (“Now it’s the gas”) was hilarious.  The Musical Director was Shane Farrell. As a Musical Director, there was a lovely rapport between you and your talented orchestra, which obviously shone. This team was very tight, with marvellous respect for each other and the production. Mr Farrell moved, swayed, and nodded through every musical number. The Prologue was stunning. It was a gorgeous sound that I wanted to continue. “Skid Row” was marvellous; it had a delightful pace and life. The Choreographer was Ms Aoife McClafferty. The opening number, "Little Shop of Horrors," set the tone for the rest of the show with its energetic and lively choreography. The choreography perfectly fit the cast, with a great mix of styles. The ensemble numbers were awe-inspiring, with all the performers working together in perfect synchronisation. The dance routines were executed with precision, grace, and fun. Even the bows were beautifully moved, with dancers skipping on in unison, dancing, singing, and taking bows, and the choreography was simply breath-taking. It was gorgeous and perfectly executed by a talented and well-rehearsed cast. A very talented young lady, Ms. McClafferty, I hope to see more of your talent again. Beautiful. I loved the Sets. The level of detail and creativity was simply outstanding. From the greasy, slimy, filthy walls of Skid Row to the quirky and colourful Mr Mushnik Flower Shop, each scene felt like stepping into a new world. The design team put in tremendous effort, and it showed in every moment on stage. Audrey 11 was a glorious creature (with a gorgeous voice!) The sets were visually stunning and added depth and dimension to the story, creating a truly immersive experience for the audience. I loved the brick wall at the back of the set, the wallpaper in Mr Mushnik's Flower Shop, and the window in the flower shop. It was so authentic when you could see outside the continuation of the brick wall that wrapped the set. Overall, the sets were a true highlight of the show. The lighting design was equally impressive. The use of colour and shadow was particularly effective, and the way the lighting shifted to reflect the mood of each scene was truly masterful. I was particularly impressed with the use of spotlights to highlight individual characters and create dramatic moments on stage. Well done to the lighting team for their exceptional work in this performance. The sound was indeed excellent. The music and vocals were perfectly balanced, and the sound effects were realistic. The sound team clearly put in a tremendous amount of effort, and it showed in every moment on stage. Technically, you all truly brought the show to life in the most magical way possible. Bravo! The costumes were very good. I loved Seymour Costume and Mr Mushnik’s and, of course, Audrey’s. The costumes were vibrant, fun, and ideally suited to each character. The costumes for the girls Ronette, Crystal, Chiffon, and Diamond were particularly noteworthy, with each character having a unique style and flair. The attention to detail was impressive, with each costume perfectly tailored to fit the character's personality and body type. The costumes for Audrey and Mr. Mushnik were also excellent, and Audrey's outfits were particularly memorable. The use of colour was also fantastic, with each character having a unique colour palette that perfectly complemented their personality. Overall, the costumes were a real highlight of the Production. The hair and makeup were very good. The team did a fantastic job of bringing each character to life, with a particular focus on Audrey and Seymour. Audrey's hair and makeup were stunning, with the signature blonde locks perfectly styled and her makeup perfectly complementing her character's personality. Seymour's hair was also noteworthy and the use of special effects makeup for Audrey II was also impressive, with the plant looking terrifying and larger than life. The props were also very good. The attention to detail was impressive, with each prop ideally suited to the period and the production's overall tone. I loved the bin in skid row and the wreckage on the walls, which showed it was practically condemned! The props for Audrey II were particularly noteworthy, with the plant looking truly menacing and larger than life. The props for the Florist shop were also excellent: the phone, the signs, and the small attention to detail with each prop perfectly capturing the gritty, urban feel of the setting. Much time and care went into this area, and it worked. Congratulations. Keith Hanley played Seymour. Mr. Hanley brought a unique charm and energy to the role, making Seymour a relatable and endearing character that the audience couldn't help but root for. His vocals were impressive, with a rich and smooth tone that brought each song to life. Mr. Hanley's rendition of "Suddenly Seymour" was particularly captivating, with a heartfelt delivery that left the audience in awe. But it wasn't just his singing that stood out; Mr. Hanley's acting was equally impressive. He flawlessly captured Seymour's nervousness, quirkiness, intelligence, dark side in places with the Audrey 11 and devoted love for his Audrey. Overall, Mr. Hanley's performance stood out in an already very good production. He brought talent and professionalism to the role that truly elevated the show. Watching him bring Seymour to life was a pleasure, and I have no doubt that he has a bright future ahead of him in musical theatre. Emilia Fallon played the part of Audrey. Ms Fallon brought a lovely, unique charm and energy to the role, making Audrey a relatable and endearing character that the audience couldn't help but root for. From the moment Ms Fallon stepped on stage, I was captivated by her character. This young lady exuded a natural confidence that made her stand out and she connected with the other cast members and the audience effortlessly and genuinely. Blessed with a beautiful and powerful voice that brought her songs to life, the rendition of  "Somewhere That's Green" was particularly moving, with a heartfelt delivery that left the audience in awe. Your range and control were impressive, and Ms Fallon conveyed the character's emotions through her singing beautifully. Ms Fallon’s vulnerability and innocence were endearing. Your chemistry with Seymour was palpable, and you looked great together. Your role elevated the show, Ms Fallon. It was a pleasure to watch you in this role, and I wish you all the best in the future. Seamus Feerick played the part of Mr Mushnik. Mr Feerick's vocal and acting skills were excellent. I loved your interactions with Seymour – they were delightful, and the chemistry between the two characters was super throughout the performance. Mr Feerick had a paternal way about him, and his love and care for his beloved employee, Seymour, was so lovely. The emotions he portrayed during their scenes together were touching and heartfelt. His vocal skills were equally impressive, and his singing was soulful and moving. I think that a lot of time, effort, and rehearsals were put into this role to perfect this lovely performance, and it certainly paid off. Bravo Sir. Fergal D’Arcy played the part of Orin, The Dentist. This gentleman made a massive impression on me from the moment he arrived on stage with his big entrance, bold and loud voice, and thug-like appearance. In contrast to the darkness of this character the scene in the dentist's Chair with Seymour were humorous. You were arrogant yet had charisma, making you repulsive in some parts and captivating in others. It is not an easy role for anyone to play with different personality traits, but you managed it and managed it very well. The parts of Chiffon, Diamond, Ronnette, and Crystal were played with such fun, care, mischievousness, and joy. Rachel Walker played Chiffon. Izzy Tuohy played Diamond, Ruth O’Neill played Ronette, and Niamh McSweeney played Crystal. Great voices that gelled well together.  From the get-go, it was clear that these four actresses had a strong bond and worked well together in their acting and singing. These gorgeous ladies' shining moments on stage they included "Little Shop of Horrors" and your standout performances in "Downtown" and the excellent Act 2 Finale. The costumes were fabulous. Chiffon, Diamond, Ronnette, and Crystal performed as a team on stage. As four friends, you brought incredible fun, energy, and vibe to the story. The vocals were beautiful, and the acting was top-notch. You, indeed, were a delightful group, beautifully cast. Sarah Corcoran played the plant Audrey II. What a superb job this young lady did in this role. The plant's voice matched its movements intricately throughout the performance. For the plant to sound so lyrical and with a lovely tone when it was “making its demands” to Seymour was a beautiful addition to yet another element of this show. The treat for me was when Ms Corcoran arrived on stage in person for the end of Act 2. She blew us away with her solo with the Cast in her fabulous green dress that shone from the rafters with the most stunning voice that rocked. This was a highlight of the show for me. This young lady's voice is simply gorgeous. I wish I could have heard more of this young lady's gorgeous vocals. It was simply a fantastic finale and befitting of a company that believes in shining a light on all characters in the performance. Congratulations, Ms Corcoran. The Chorus Master was Mr Shane Farrell. It was a lovely, beautifully sounding chorus. This Chorus’s vocal abilities were gorgeous, and the harmonies produced were beautiful. “Skid Row" was a showstopper, and the cast set the tone for the rest of the performance with warmth of tone and balanced harmonies. You brought the house down with your powerful choral singing, and I was particularly impressed with your performance of "WSKID Radio Jungle," which was a real highlight. However, your Chorus for the Finale of Act 2 stood out for me. How your voices blended was magical, and you created truly unforgettable moments in the show. Finally, thank everyone for making my time in Ballinasloe such a delight The quality of your production was excellent, and I do not doubt that you would fill the theatre again two-fold. Your hard work, dedication, and talents deserve to be seen by as many people as possible, and I believe adding an extra performance would be a fantastic way to showcase your skills.  Caroline Daly Jones Adjudicator Sullivan 2023 / 2024 Photos Shared by the Society // Gregory Blackwell


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