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Into the Woods as presented by MIDAS


21st March 2024 - 23rd March 2024

Adjudication Performance 21st March.

I had the pleasure of attending Midas Limerick's Into the Woods on their opening night. This production is the Society's first time being adjudicated in AIMS and I was impressed by the hard work and dedication of the entire cast and crew. From the moment I arrived, I was warmly welcomed by Brona McGlinchey, the Public Relations Officer, and Dave Cuddihy. Both of them shared the story of Midas and their history with pride. It was clear that this society has come a long way in the past four years. The front-of-house team did an outstanding job. Thank you Dave Cuddihy and team. You created a welcoming atmosphere for your patrons, in your pristine and gorgeous venue.

Seamus Klerkin and Brona McGlinchey did an excellent job as Directors of this production. They brought out the best in the actors and the storyline, creating a cohesive and captivating experience for the audience. The meticulous attention to detail in the set design, lighting, and sound contributed significantly to the overall quality of the production. The set design, in particular, was noteworthy, as it was so near the audience and the characters within touching distance, creating a lovely connection between the various characters and the different storylines. Mr. Klerkin & Ms McGlinchey did an excellent job balancing the show's darker themes with the more light-hearted musical numbers, creating an enjoyable and thought-provoking experience. The characters were developed beautifully, each character was so different, and there was a lovely depth to the personalities of each character. The cast moved beautifully around the stage. It was the clarity of the story, and how the characters portrayed these different characters so well and with such precision that made it a real treat to sit and enjoy.

Choreographer for the show was Holly McNulty. I really liked the choreography and how it was portrayed and moved. The dance routines were engaging and perfectly complemented the music and the story. “Into the Woods” was an absolute picture in graceful yet simple movement, and a highlight and sound. It simply flowed and indeed and others there was such grace and fluidity that the cast shone as they moved. Ms McNulty's creativity and talent and effort was very evident throughout the show and the cast executed it precisely and with confidence. The Choreography was one of the show's highlights, and it added significantly to the overall quality of the production.

Michael Young was the Musical Director and Conductor for this production, This orchestra's contribution was noteworthy, with a lovely, steady pace and tempo that added to the production's overall quality. Mr. Young's ability to balance the sound and adjust the tempo to match the performers' needs was critical in bringing the story to life. “Into The Woods” was a fantastic choral number with principals and a standout highlight. A few numbers to mention as highlights musically were “It Takes Two,” the gorgeous “Second Midnight,” “Ever After,” and the Prologue, which opened Act 2, “Into The Woods,” which was a triumph.

The Stage Manager was Zara O’Donnell. The Set of the forest was magnificent, with the gnarled trees and massive trunks enclosing the cast throughout the show. The set designers' attention to detail and creativity is apparent in every scene, with each set piece perfectly complementing the action on stage. I would have liked to have seen more height or different levels, particularly at the back of the stage for some scenes, apart from Rapunzel's castle. I felt you could have made fabulous use of the actual height of the stage. What you created with the width of the stage was a significant success. Overall Sets added hugely to the overall impact of the show and bar feeling that some height would have been a positive particular at the back of the stage, the forest, the vines and the gnarled trees and the wonderfully created trunks really worked very well. Well done Ms O’Donnell and team.

Starting with the lighting design, it is evident that a great deal of thought and effort had gone into creating a lighting scheme that complemented the musical numbers and helped to up the mood and atmosphere of the show. I loved the use of deep blues, greens, and reds lighting up the stage in many scenes, creating a gorgeous atmosphere and visuals. The lighting design was particularly effective during the show's darker moments; in "Into the Woods," “Any Moment” “Witches Lament” to mention but a few. Well done to the lighting team and the thought put into this area of the performance, capturing the mood and atmosphere beautifully.

The sound was good. The sound team paid attention to the venue's acoustics and worked hard to ensure that the music and vocals were heard clearly and appropriately. The sound design was particularly effective during the musical numbers, where the sound team balanced the vocals and the orchestra. The sound effects and the Mooing of Milky White when he lies down and dies brought a huge laugh and a cheer from the audience! Excellent.

Overall, the lighting, sound, and set design were well done and added much to the production. While there were a few minor issues, the teams responsible for these elements should be proud of their fantastic job making the show successful!

The costumes were fantastic! Each character's costume was unique and helped to bring their personality to life on stage. The attention to detail was great, and it was clear that a lot of time and effort had gone into creating each costume. The costumes added to the production's overall experience, helped transport the audience to another world, and worked well. The hair and makeup were also really well done. I’ll mention in particular - the witch - Bravo, Little Red Riding Hood, gorgeous, and Rapunzel’s golden locks to highlight just one or two of the areas where Make up and Hair were simply awesome. Seeing the characters come to life through their hair and makeup was exciting.

Excellent attention to detail on props overall. The Golden Egg was excellent. Although Milky White was charming, I would have preferred a more “real” version rather than just the head of a cow on the end of a sweeping brush. It was okay, but I felt a little more imagination and ingenuity could have been put into this little fellow as it was funny. The birds-like puppets were so practical and very quirky.

Ethan Cassley played the Baker. A lovely lithe young man with a good vocal. Mr Cassley and Ms Greally as the Baker's wife really did work well with a lovely easy and confident stage presence. It was obvious to me that you had rehearsed your part carefully Mr Cassley. You were such a natural on stage. And you were so very comfortable in this role throughout. “Maybe They're Magic” was simply lovely. ”So Happy” was gorgeous and “You're Fault” was so well sung and acted. Well done Mr Cassley. You were a very fine and very strong lead and a great future in Theatre should you wish to pursue that path. Well done.

Laoise Greally played the Baker wife. Ms Greally’s character is complex and at the beginning of the show you were so devastated at not being able to bear a child because of a curse the pain was palpable. You have a very strong voice Ms Greally and you did an excellent job in this role and developing the character of the Baker's wife in a lovely way making it your own. You have a powerful voice that brings a lot of emotion and depth to your songs. I loved your rendition of "Moments in the Woods" ; it was indeed a highlight of the show, showcasing both your vocal range and showcasing your acting ability. This part was well cast, Ms Greally. You were simply a delight.

Emily Coleman played Jack's Mother. A maternal character you came across so very well, strict yet caring, beautifully played. You brought emotional depth and nuance to the imposing role. You captured the character's loving nature so very well, and yet acted so well allowing the audience to see your huge struggles with poverty and desperation. Ms Coleman, your singing was also noteworthy, “So Happy” prologue was of particular note.

Melissa Flaherty played Rapunzel. The role of Rapunzel in "Into the Woods" is brief, but you made an impact, Ms Flaherty. Your isolation and longing for freedom acted beautifully, with your loneliness and longing for a different life and escape I felt I could touch it Your acting and portrayal of your transformation were believable and inspiring, and your inner strength and determination were admirable. Well done!.

Eimear Leonard played the Narrator. From the moment Ms Leonard appeared on stage, she commanded the audience's attention with her clearly and concisely engaging them with the story's twists and turns. I loved the way you existed down stage right and there was always lovely light on you too highlighting your presence. Your timing and delivery were spot-on, equally bringing humour and emotion to the role. Overall, Eimear Leonard's performance as the Narrator was one of the production's highlights.

Jennifer Connell played the part of Cinderella's Stepmother. You were a really complex and intriguing character, Ms Connell, and your manipulative nature and her inner turmoil were acted beautifully. Your performance when Cinderella confronts you shows great direction and skill. And a sure defiance also. The contrasting relationship with her daughters was also well portrayed, with many moments of affection and hostility. That is another exciting role well played.

Gránia Curran's portrayal of the Wolf in "Into the Woods" was captivating. It was a lovely, engaging, entertaining performance, bringing a unique energy to the stage. Her interpretation of the character was spot on, and she flawlessly executed the intricate nuances of the role. Her stage presence was commanding and expertly captured the audience's attention.

Other characters, Holly McNulty as Milky White, Eadaoin Ni Riordan as the Steward, Ciara Reddy as Cinderella's Mother, Stephen McNulty as Cinderella's Father, and Jayde Ryan as the Giant's Wife, were perfect. Your cameo roles were so crucial to the overall continuation and addition to the story. They were essential characters to the show's overall quality, and they should be proud of your performances.

Florinda and Lucinda, Cinderella's ugly stepsisters were played by Nicole Fitzgerald and Ellen Keane. I loved the shades! Costumes and makeup were also exceptional, adding to the overall visual impact of the show. The hair and the frocks and the drama oh my goodness the drama !!! Seeing how you balanced the comedy with the show's darker themes was impressive, creating well-rounded performances.

Your chemistry with the other characters, especially Cinderella, was also noteworthy, as we saw the shadier side of your characters and your intentions!!. Overall. You were simply excellent.

Adam Bowe played the lovely part of Cinderella's Prince. From his first moment on stage, Mr Bowe, you captivated the audience with your powerful voice and charming presence. You brought a wonderful blend of humour and arrogance to the character, making you alluring and a bit of a dark side maybe! One of the highlights of your performance was your singing voice, showcased beautifully in his solo number "Agony." Mr Bowe, your performance stood out in an already very good production. You put your heart his heart and soul into the role. The audience was genuinely charmed by your performance

Jack Doheny played Rapunzel's Prince. He gave a strong performance. Clear diction and a confident young man. You portrayed the character's charm and determination well, particularly in the song "Agony," where he and Cinderella's Prince displayed great comedic timing and chemistry. Mr Doheny's you have a commanding stage presence. I again liked your performance and your part and what you made of it really significantly contributed overall to a lovely show.

Aoife McNelis beautifully played the Witch. You were visually stunning in both Acts, and your dress in the 2nd Act was gorgeous and caught my eye. Your vocals were pure, clear, and very distinct, with a lovely tone. Your makeup was fabulous with that striking pointed chin and scary wig! You played this role with great conviction and intensity and did an excellent job capturing her evilness and controlling and poisonous personality.

Tara Flavin played Little Red Riding Hood. Ms. Flavin, you had an infectious energy and enthusiasm and did an excellent job bringing out the character's youthful exuberance. You were such a cute and gorgeous Red Riding Hood. Particular mention to your gorgeous grey cape. A very relaxed character with a little bit of devilment in your eye.. Loved you!

Aoife O’Ghormain played Cinderella with incredible grace and elegance. The actress did an excellent job of capturing the character's inner turmoil. —a most beautiful voice. “Cinderella at The Grave” and “A Very Nice Prince” were standout performances in this role. There is a lovely clearness and crystal apparent twinkling in your voice, and I was drawn to and looked forward to you arriving on stage each time. It's a beautiful costume also. This really was a superb role for you Ms O’Ghormain. Bravo.

The part of Jack was played by Matthew O’Rourke. A gorgeous role played acted with great enthusiasm and energy Such was your part and your love for Milky White and your excellent acting I felt sad myself when poor Milky White passed on. A significant role, you really did play this part very well.

Andrew Keegan played the Mysterious Man, a great gravitas and depth character. Mr Keegan, you did an excellent job of capturing the character's enigmatic nature. Good stage presence and a notable role in the show. “No More” with The Baker was so very good and so well sung.

The Chorus Mistress was Ms Christine O’Keeffe. The chorus provided a rich and layered backdrop to the solo performances, helping to create a sense of depth and complexity to the show. This Chorus showcased wonderfully your lovely sound, especially in the more significant musical numbers, such as the gorgeous and most touching and emotional “Children will Listen” there were tears in my eyes. “Into The Woods” was gorgeous also and again another choral highlight, sung beautifully.

To be honest the Chorus here for me were very strong and a highlight. Your talent as a group, your hard work, and time spent perfecting this sound and learning the music significantly added to this whole production without exception. You brought a depth to a difficult score to sing to a high level and it was pure when you sang. Bravo.

Overall, the entire cast and crew should be incredibly proud of their hard work, dedication, and attention to detail, which resulted in a high-quality production. Your ability to create a thought-provoking experience for the audience and balance that with the show's darker themes with the more light-hearted musical numbers was commendable. The performance was visually and emotionally gorgeous, and the cast quickly moved beautifully around the stage. It was a joy to witness such a lovely production and I sincerely wish you all the best for your futures and the future of MIDAS. Bravo.

Caroline Daly Jones

Sullivan Adjudicator 2023 / 2024

Photographer Credits

In The Woods (but on stage) - Brona McGlinchey

In The (actual) Woods - Conor Keane


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