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Carrie as presented by Trinity Musical Theatre



14th February – 17th February 2024

Adjudication Performance 16th February 2024

First staged in 1988, the musical adaptation of Stephen King’s cult classic has mesmerised audiences for over 35 years. Heartfelt and horrifying in equal measure, Carrie has something for everyone, brought to life with music from Academy Award-winning Michael Gore – (Fame). Tragedy, romance, and family tensions intertwine in this truly horrifying coming of age story. This story takes place in Chamberlain, Maine. Appearances though are often deceiving, and drab exteriors can obscure a more gruesome reality. Not least in the case of Carrie White, a social outcast with perplexing hidden powers. Trinity Programme Synopsis.

This show was completely sold out as I arrived at the majestic O’Reilly Theatre in the heart of Dublin city on the evening of 16th February. A Fantastic front of house team and they all ensured that this queue flew in through the doors and into their seats in no time at all.

Personally I was greeted by Connie Angela McGowan, PRO of this Society and the Front of House Team. Trinity Musical Theatre was founded in 2016 and this is their 7th Production. I had the best seats in the house my view was superb. The stage is vast in width, and before the curtain even rose, black and red lighting all around surrounded us, which immediately created a feeling of foreboding and darkness. Brilliant. The scene was set, I had the most wonderful seat with my zero coke and my programme (thank you!) I sat back and waiting for what I was very soon to realise, a superb performance.

The Director was Ms Makena Margolin. This Director created a wonderful superbly directed vision, in every single moment of this show. The movement of each individual character was so very different in personality and with Ms Margolin’s direction I was immediately drawn into the town of Maine. From the moment the curtain opened, I was no longer in my seat in the Theatre- I was in Maine and there I stayed for the rest of the evening such was the finesse and staging of this masterpiece. Ms Margolin’s attention to detail was everywhere in this production. The book scene in the library- where Carrie discovers she has the superhuman force, when she looks at the books and wherever she went with her eyes and her stare the books started flying off the various bookshelves to the ground. Having seen this backstage after the show, this was so cleverly done, and this scene most definitely had the WOW factor. The sets were very simple and yet clever. However, the personalities you created in this story Ms Margolin were raw and spellbinding – throughout this show. I simply loved how your Direction brought this story to life helped by a wall of very talented cast and company. You are a very young and already very experienced Director and I do believe I will see your name in lights time and time again in future years. As a director you have a gift that is very special and rare, and I simply loved what you created in this performance with your talent. You brought out the best in everyone and everything and that in turn created a world where you brought your audience with you into that world, and we never left. A joy. Bravo.

Choreographer was Ms Grace Skowronski. Opening number was stunning and really set the tone for the rest of the show. The choreography was super throughout. Ms Skowronski you also had the added blessing of having the largest number of males in a show I have seen in my life all who could dance and sing and act! Such a rarity – (the numbers of men!!) Full of life, energy, emotion, and fantastic ensemble dancing made the choreography in this show simply incredible. “Prom Arrival” bounced off the stage with good vibes & fun. It was electric, the dance moves here were many, but for me this was indeed a highlight of your show. It brought so much life to the stage in this show and to each character and their individual performances and characters themselves. It was always captivating. And only added to the very emotional theatrical experience that was before my eyes from the first note to the last note of this show. BRAVO Ms Skowronski. Absolutely superb.

The Orchestra sat before me a band of 8 with Musical Director Erica O’Reilly at the helm. The instrumental before the curtains opened set the scene for what the music would bring to this production. Accompaniment was never too loud for the cast and only enhanced the talent on stage. There was a lovely empathy for the Company in this Orchestra, soft, loud, fun, dramatic and an Orchestral extravaganza from start to finish in total sync as a team and as an accompaniment to your Cast on stage. “Evening Prayers”, “Once You See”, “Prom Arrival” and “The Destruction” were a tour de force. Erica O’Reilly Musical Director / Conductor and Keyboard 1, John Duffy Keyboard 2, Colum Corken Guitar 1, Jasper Nolan Guitar 2, Isabella Littler, Cello, Reana Supple, Bass, Daniel Penrose, Bass and Tom De Paor Drums. Wonderful strong, gifted team with great musicality throughout never once upstaging the performers or being too loud too soft. Fine vocal work for the principals and chorus was due I’m sure to hours and hours of rehearsal. All performers knew their music impeccably and the confidence in their MD was obvious to see. Well done Ms O’Reilly and your wonderful team.

Stage Manager was Ella Clarke. Brady Dunne was Set Designer. Sets were deceptively simple. When the show began, it did occur to me that sets were “minimalistic”. Added sporadically throughout there were many set pieces such as “the room under the stairs” where Carries mother locked her in for hours on end, the chairs in the classroom arrived and were removed very eloquently during Sue Snell’s solo with effective but simple choreography. Transitions were smooth and flawless using the ensemble cast to move things around whilst they were singing. Different sets such as Carries home, school, prom evening stage, created a visually striking backdrop and although very simple they were very effective and worked extremely well for the Cast and Crew. The bucket of blood which was poured on Carries head when she was crowned prom queen was so detailed and indeed messy! Well done Ms Clarke and Mr Dunne. A good team.

Sound. Sound Designer was Barbara D’Orsi, and Sound Operator was Vinny Osbourne. And sound was excellent. From the first note of the show I loved the tone and volume used and the balance between the performers and Orchestra was so good it was if they were as one. Radio Mics worked extremely well and there were many, but this show bounced off the stage in quality of vocals and had for me personally a huge part to play in the overall success of this performance. It was simply Super.

Lighting Operator was Thomas Fitzgerald. I loved the lighting in this show so many foreboding colours especially in the gory scenes where Carrie kills everyone and the bucket of blood falls on her from the prom stage. Very effective and very chilling indeed! As was the opening scene which I wish to mention where Sue Snell is sitting on a chair downstage centre covered in blood and the lighting here was so effective, so scary and so ominous. The lighting in this show is crucial as it sets the mood of the scene, from the dark dismal house of Carrie to the school prom to the fantastic lighting in the massacre at the prom. The contrast created here between the varying scenes was very well-done Mr Fitzgerald.

Lighting overall was a huge success in this show and was another key to its success and to the overall story, where many emotions and pictures are involved to create Carrie the Musical in such a beautiful and as I say sometimes in a bloodcurdling gory way. The contrasts and the effects of your successful lighting were magnificent and really did make a huge difference to the overall show and its success. Well done.

Costume Designer was Pearse Crowley. What a talent this young man possesses. Mr Crowley created Costumes which were simple and effective and superb. I mention here the opening scene with Sue Snell covered in blood, Carries Prom dress after she had murdered everyone including her mother with her powers, the blood on the dress was such a visual. The pink prom dress also destroyed in blood and the torn material was very good and very effective and in complete contrast to Carries attire in the opening scenes with her pleated skirt and cardigan and drab colours. The blue jeans and white shirts for the men and the red shorts and white shirts for the ladies worked very well and showed again the contrast from the normal day life to the darker side of the show and of Carrie. Makeup as appropriate and Props were very good. The bucket of blood for the prom, the knife, the loaf of bread, were such small things but made a huge difference to the story bringing it to life. Make up overall was very good. All the above brought the characters to life, chilling, scary, realistic, normal, a world of adjectives could use to convey through costume the world in which Carrie lived in. Congratulations to all.

Carrie White as played by Aoife McCormack. The heart of the show with a bigger heart in life. A flawed, shy, scared, sensitive teenager bullied incessantly by her classmates hiding away in the shadows living in a dark despairing house with her mother who locked her under the stairs regularly to repent her sins. I could feel the power in this young lady’s performance both in acting and in singing from my seat in the auditorium. Ms McCormack, I loved the emotional rollercoaster you brought us on your journey. You have a glorious voice, and a great stage presence, and you are a wonderful actor. You have a beautiful tone throughout your vocal register mentioning showstoppers such as “Carrie”, “And Eve was weak”, “Unsuspecting Hearts” and “Stay here instead”. The power of your voice and your character in the “Destruction Scene” really showcased Carries pent up anger and emotion as you unleashed your telekinetic powers on the world. A magnificent role you played here Ms McCormack. You were terrific.

The part of Margaret White (Carrie’s Mother) was played by Lily-Kate Hearns. Who is also Chairperson of this Society. What a voice. The strength of your vocal, your emotionless cold exterior, your religious fanatical way of living, and your white deathlike make up, your dark home, the closet under stairs where you threw your daughter Carrie in frequently and left her there for hours showed a cold hearted, dark, evil, and abusive character with controlling behaviour a religious fanatic. Your character you created was so well done that that every time you came on stage, when you were quietly sewing, I was waiting for an explosion of rage, anger, and or violence, such was the intensity of the persona created by you in Margaret White. You were indeed a very compelling figure Ms Hearns. I loved your voice Ms Hearns. You played the part of Margaret White here so wonderfully well. A key role in the overall success of this production. Congratulations Ms Hearns.

Sue Snell was played by Hannah McNicholas Roche. You opened the show sitting on stage alone covered in blood with singing that put the hairs standing on the back of my neck immediately. A beautiful character you were Ms McNicholas Roche. Gorgeous voice, clear and concise and lyrical with a gem of a personality, who stood up to the bullies for Carrie and became her friend. “Once You See”. A friend that any person would be glad to have indeed. Your relationship with Tommy Ross, portrayed a love beyond your years, that would last forever – You are a natural on-stage Ms McNicholas Roche gifted with a talent that this show brought out the best in you in this character and I simply loved Sue Snell throughout. So very well done.

Juliet Hill played the part of Chris Hargensen. The innocent looking bad girl and bully to Carrie, making fun of her, setting up her fall and the inevitable aftereffects of your damage and horrible behaviour setting her up to win Prom Queen and then dropping the bucket of blood on top of her head destroying her dress hair makeup and her life really in front of everyone at the Prom was as horrible as it sounds. Truly. And it was your talent and your acting skills along with a fine vocal performance that I highlight here in this role you played. Great role, and you made it your own.

Tommy Ross was played by Will Robbins. What a dote. Tommy exuded the perfect boyfriend to Sue Snell, who with Sues encouragement offered to be Carrie’s prom date so that Carrie would not have to go on her own was Sues way of apologising to Carrie for bullying her in school along with her other classmates. By asking Tommy to take Carrie to the Prom to make up for her vile behaviour was the catalyst in losing Tommy forever. Lovely stage presence, costumes, beautiful lyrical sweet singing voice, great acting and perfectly cast in this role. A part beautifully played Mr Ross. Well done.

Colm Lombard played the part of Billy Nolan, Chris Hogenson’s boyfriend. Very easily manipulated by Chris. Great role. Mr Lombard did everything he was told, like a little lap dog following his master around – this stage duo really worked well. Good stage presence where you came into your own setting up the destruction of Carrie with Chris in the fatal prom scene. Your stage presence was very good and overall a very strong Billy. Well done.

Mrs Gardener was played by Beth Strahan. And Mr Stephens was played by Stephen Hayden. Two professors in the Chamberlain High School. Ms Strahan a lovely character, saw through the horrific bullying of Carrie and set the bar high when she made each of them apologise in turn for bullying Carrie. A teacher with a sympathetic ear and a soft spot for Carrie, lovely vocal, lovely stage presence and appearance and you really came into your own in the gorgeous scene with Carrie at the prom when you were seated down stage left quietly in the corner chatting. You had her back Ms Gardener. And you were a wonderful character. Singing, dancing, and acting you had it all. Great role superbly played. Well done.

Mr Stephens work colleague to Ms Gardener was a lovely contrast to his fellow teacher. A bit eccentric and mostly not aware of what was going on and struggled in his role as bringing out the best in his students. unless Ms Gardener informed him. Great costumes, lovely clear speaking voice, and good stage presence. Well played Mr Hayden. A strong role indeed.

The role of Norma was played by Eva O’Sullivan. Swayed by Chris’s interactions with Carrie and her bully she follows Chris’ lead throughout the show. Part of the bullying crowd that taunted Carrie- her role added to the overall cruelty that led to the tragedy that unfolded at prom night. Strong clear diction and very good stage presence.

The part of Freddie was played by Luke Reid, lovely role, strong diction, and character well played. A friend of Tommy Ross and had a nice relationship with Carrie in this role.

Other roles most worthy of mention Eva O’Sullivan as Norma, Jane Roe as Frieda, Emer Hearns as Helen, Nathan Young as George, Luke Reid as Freddy, David Cosgrave as Stokes along with an extremely talented ensemble really were exceptionally good in enhancing this performance through their various talents on stage. Well done to you all.

Vocal Technician was Mr Hayden Kline. Superb work done by this gentleman on every aspect of vocals in the show. Mr Klines tuition was everywhere throughout ensuring balance and ease for each vocalist and chorus member throughout the show. Well done.

Finally to the Chorus. What can I say? What a sound you made. I was / am in awe of you all and that of Mr Cline’s ability to bring you as a group to the level your arrived at for this show.

You bounced, danced, and sang your way around this Theatre and back. What a vocal. What an amazing quality and the envy of many societies – so many MEN!!!!! This Chorus was special. You felt every move, every word, and were as one. A unit. A wonderful wall of sound in every single number throughout the show. I looked forward every single moment to your arrivals on stage where the sound of your voices literally lifter the roof of the O’Reilly Theatre and brought the house down with applause sometimes even in the middle of songs!

Absolutely glorious Chorus, every single number was Grade A, and I simply loved the chorus in its tone, sound, volume, emotions, life, and its simple happiness which hit the walls of the auditorium consistently in every number without fail. BRAVO.

A Wonderful Society, with great talent and a fabulous choice of show for this young cast.

And remember…………

An eagle’s just another bird, until he can spread his wings, A river is just a sheet of ice, till Winter turns to Spring, And though the clouds may block the sun, it doesn’t mean it left the sky, Just when you think you’ve seen it all, there’s more than meets the eye. Like things I dream, and things I feel, there’s more to me than I reveal, And ‘cause I shine in quiet ways, someone you don’t recognise, I’m a diamond in the rough, a dreamer in disguise. An eagle is just another bird until he can spread his wings……………………. (A Dreamer in Disguise” Carrie the Musical) 2024 Trinity Musical Theatre Society

To the Cast and Crew of this lovely Company that is Trinity Musical Theatre Society. You have an amazing Society full of talent and life and fun and song. I wish you all everything your hearts dream of and more. Love the talent you have been blessed with and enjoy every second. I know I will see many of you again someday down the road and I wish you all every happiness and success. Thank you and Bravo.

Caroline Daly Jones

Adjudicator Sullivan 2023 / 2024

Some photos kindly shared by the society - Photographer - Connie Angela McGowan


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