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Carrie as presented by Trinity Musical Theatre

CARRIE THE MUSICAL, TRINITY MUSICAL THEATRE SOCIETY O’REILLY THEATRE, DENMARK STREET, ROTUNDA DUBLIN 1. 14th February – 17th February...

CARRIE THE MUSICAL, TRINITY MUSICAL THEATRE SOCIETY O’REILLY THEATRE, DENMARK STREET, ROTUNDA DUBLIN 1. 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

Guys and Dolls as presented by Entr’acte

Guys and Dolls as presented by Entr’acte Date of Adjudicated Performance: Saturday 2nd March 2024. Entr’acte’s biggest achievement, with...

Guys and Dolls  as presented by Entr’acte Date of Adjudicated Performance: Saturday 2nd March 2024. Entr’acte’s biggest achievement, with their production of the ever-popular Guys and Dolls, was to give the show a fresh coat of paint without losing sight of the original masterpiece. The show was a kind of fusion of cartoon characterization and cabaret stylization, on the one hand, employing musical and comical devices to accentuate comedic business, and on the other, presenting the show on a cabaret stage, opting for minimal scenery, a great lighting plot and a cracking pace that was rarely interrupted. The lighting design for this production was very good, as indeed, it needed to be, given the lack of a structured set. In its place, we were given three rows of cabaret lighting that were very well-used, a New York sky-line behind an on-stage orchestra, which was also well-lit, and very good area lighting for the various scenes, always with appropriate back or side lighting to add atmosphere and ambiance. The musical numbers were particularly well-lit, and The Crapshooters Ballet was a work of art. Isolated spotlights were used effectively to introduce each character to the story in a frozen moment, with an accompanying musical trill. Stage manager, Kate Canavan, was probably enjoying tea and biscuits for most of the show, as the cast themselves seemed responsible for moving all the props and furniture, but I do appreciate that such slick operations require excellent organization skills in advance of the performance. Even against a full orchestra, the sound balance was pretty perfect with very good cueing of the radio mics, and good sound effects. The biggest benefit of Director, Niamh McGowan’s decision to opt for this cabaret style, was pace, in a show that never faltered in its continuity, with scene after scene running seamlessly together with only the use of furniture and a change of lighting to signify the altered locations. The furniture was invariably choreographed into place by members of the cast with much precision. Did I miss the scenery? Well, perhaps a little, based on my own perception that when Damon Runyon paints a picture, (in his writing) it’s about characters and their environment. However, it could be said that this style does incline one to focus more sharply on the characters, and in paying tribute to Runyon, Niamh’s attention to individual characterizations was excellent. Indeed, I was much impressed that everyone on-stage seemed to have an individual identity; for example, each member of the Mission band had very distinct character traits. The touches that made a great impact by being unique and unexpected were the sound effects, nicely orchestrated, that accompanied much of the comedic business, most notably, the rolling of the dice in the Crapshooters scene, which was pure cartoon in nature and execution, and the little vignettes of the flights to and from Havana, adding great comedy and effectively covering the transition from one location to another. This cabaret style of production also gave us the benefit of enjoying a full 20-piece orchestra, on-stage, for the entire show, nesting unobtrusively below a good background of a New York skyline. And what an orchestra! Rich, melodic strings, a rasping and vibrant brass section and the laid-back, rhythmic jazz and swing styles of the reeds, creating a well-balanced, beautifully controlled and consistently enchanting accompaniment to the show. Musical Director, Róisín Heenan, not only conducted the players with aplomb, but had also done excellent work on arranging and adding a plethora of sound effects to accompany the various quirky touches that this production threw up. I also enjoyed the strolling players in Havana and in the Mission Band. Róisín had also vocally prepared the company to produce quality in their harmony, their diction and their strong delivery of their music. Things looked all proper and correct in the Wardrobe department. Well-fitted suits or jackets and trousers for the crapshooters, and good attention to footwear as well. The ladies had appropriate styles, from their general day dresses to the traditional uniforms for the Mission Band. However, having embraced the overall Cabaret style of the production, I’m not sure that ‘all proper and correct’ was the best option in costuming. I can’t fault the era-appropriate accuracy of the styles on display, but I did feel that Bushel and a Peck could have had more Razzle, Take Back Your Mink could have had more Dazzle and Havana could have been much more flamboyant and exaggerated. It was almost as if you gave yourself a license to go to extremes, but then reined-in the very scenes where you could have maximized the Cabaret effect. That said, the Hot-Box costumes were more than adequate, and Havana did have a holiday feel to it. Perhaps a matching set of fur-stoles would have looked better than the random selection that was used for Take Back Your Mink. Very good attention was given to wigs and hairstyles, and there was a good noticeable difference between the plain Jane make up of the Mission girls and the flashier make-up of the Dolls and Dancers. Props for the show were very good, except for a rather tatty newspaper stand in the final scene. In the role of Sky Masterson, Morgan Moore had a cool, cavalier attitude to risk, and a reluctant yet moveable attitude to romance, falling in love almost by accident with Miss Sarah Brown. His character was strong and well-defined, even if the hands constantly in the pockets irked me a little. Vocally, at his most tender, there was a hint of Michael Bublé about his delivery, while his bigger numbers could perhaps have been more robust, but there was no doubting his pitch, which was spot on. As Sarah Brown, Caoilfhionn Ní Dhúlaing acted the role to perfection, believably naïve and insecure in her early scenes with Sky, devout without piety in her religious fervour and deliciously embracing her hitherto subdued Joie de Vivre when she’d had a few Bacardis. Every scene was thoughtful and well-balanced. Vocally, she was at her best in her more upbeat numbers, where her voice sounded relaxed and comfortable, while the slower romantic soprano pieces occasionally seemed slightly forced, despite being nicely in tune. Michael Bergin played Nathan Detroit with a wonderful sense of physical comedy. His legs, his arms, his torso and his face all seemed to have different controls, none of which seemed to be connected, such were his contortions of discomfort in presenting his character as a fragile man, living on the edge of his nerves. After first fearing he might have some unfortunate affliction, I quickly realized that it was all deliberate, and highly comical. His facial reactions, particularly, were excellent, and his timing was top-notch in this wonderful performance. He could sing too. As his long-suffering fiancé, Adelaide, Louise O’Connor gave an assured comedic performance, combined with a sincere portrayal of low-self-esteem, but ultimately a presence that refused to go unrecognized. Her vocal delivery was strong, and she fronted the Hot-Box numbers with confidence and charisma. Adelaide’s Lament show-cased all her attributes. A vocally strong delivery of Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat was the high-point of Daniel Whelan’s performance as Nicely-Nicely Johnson. This performer does not lack confidence and may even have been a tad too ‘cool’ in the role, but that went hand in hand with great vocal and physical comedy. He was particularly good alongside Cian Gallagher, who was absolutely perfect as Benny Southstreet. His “I’m alright!” after he gave testimony in the Mission scene, epitomized perfect delivery, perfect tone and perfect facial reaction. His performance throughout was strong, compelling and very in-character, accompanied by a great vocal quality. Gary Finnegan immersed himself into the character of East-Cicero thug, Big Jule, displaying a great wealth of comedic ability and a fine sense of rhythm. His antics during the crap game were splendidly choreographed and delivered. Equally impressive was Colm Lombard, who gave a comically sinister interpretation of Harry the Horse. Again, in the Mission scene, his timing was excellent. Damien Sweeney added good vocal quality to the Fugue For Tinhorns, singing the role of Rusty Charlie, while he showed great song and dance ability throughout the show. Stephen Grimes was a blustering Lieut Brannigan, very capably giving the NYPD a bad name through his ineptitude in dealing with the local miscreants. Casting Arvide Abernathy as Sarah’s ‘Aunt’, rather than her Uncle or Grandfather, was a departure that paid off very nicely, affording Niamh Carroll the opportunity to display tender acting and a beautifully melodic delivery of More I Cannot Wish You. Catherine Fox combined the severity of a Mission General with a comical thrill at being flirted with, to create a well-balanced role as Matilda B. Cartright, and within the ranks of the Mission band, there were convincing and comical characterizations from Claire O’Brien as Martha, Muirne Shaw as Agatha, Eoghan Funge as Calvin and from Aisling Bonner, Aideen Carew and Caoimhe Bermingham. Joe Jennings as Angie the Ox, Maurice Wright as Joey Biltmore, Dean Mulraney as the MC of the HotBox, Maurice Treacy as the Waiter and Peter Richardson as the Drunk, all made significant contributions to the show. Alice O’Loughlin-Kennedy deserves special mention for making a complete ‘ass’ of herself as Mimi! The Crapshooters, the Hot-Box Girls and the general population who comprised the chorus were wonderful as an ensemble, while assuming individual identities, whether as airline staff, shoppers, gamblers or Cuban party-goers. They performed with confidence and cohesion at all times, and there was never any question about their vocal abilities, producing super harmonies and bundles of vocal energy. Their dance and movement were extremely energetic and very well-executed. And talking of dancing… The well-thought out and imaginative creativity of Choreographer, Leah Meagher, was evident in every number in the show, from a well-devised opening sequence, which was acted as well as it was danced, to the glamour and quirkiness of the Hot Box Dancers, to the amusing and animated Guys and Dolls and Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat. Brilliant patterning and positioning went into the Havana routine to keep it vibrant and racy, but it was the Crapshooters Ballet that brought the house down, not only superbly choreographed, but equally superb in execution. Congratulations to all involved for taking a tried and tested traditional show and putting your own stamp on it. It is easy to appreciate the thought that went all aspects of the show, making it a visual, technical and talent-laden triumph of musical achievement. Thank you for such a great night of entertainment. Peter Kennedy Gilbert Adjudicator 2023 / 2024 Some Photos kindly shared by the society - Photographer - Ciarán MacChoncarraige

Cry-Baby as presented by Malahide Musical Society

Cry-Baby as presented by Malahide Musical and Dramatic Society: Date of Adjudicated Performance: Friday, 16th February 2024. Cry Baby, if...

Cry-Baby  as presented by Malahide Musical and Dramatic Society: Date of Adjudicated Performance: Friday, 16th February 2024. Cry Baby, if you’ve never heard of it, may never rank, from a literary point of view, alongside Shakespeare, Dickens or Victor Hugo, and it may never rank musically beside the genius of Sondheim, but it’s safe to say that it might just be one of the funniest, most original and highly entertaining pieces of musical theatre I’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy. The titular character, Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker, is determined to clear the good name of his parents who were wrongfully executed for arson. He turns up at the scene of the crime, during an Anti-Polio picnic and falls in love with local square, Allison, much to the chagrin of her wannabe boyfriend, local nerd and barbershop-quartet singer, Baldwin. As the story unfolds and love blossoms, the respectable nerds try to frame Wade for another arson attack, but the truth is eventually revealed and goodness triumphs. Yes, it sounds ridiculous, and featuring such incredibly funny songs as Watch Your Ass, Squeaky Clean, Screw Loose and Can I Kiss You With Tongue, it’s far removed from anything you might have seen before, but it is quite simply dynamite. Director, Emma Jane Reilly, pulled out all the stops to make it as slick and sensational as she could possibly manage. Her attention to character was awesome, with every individual strong and secure in their role. Her eye for good comedy was evident throughout, being unafraid to go for the jugular with the craziness of the story and the irreverence of many of the lyrics. The whole production was very much “in your face” precisely because that’s the way it’s written, and to water it down might have spoiled the overall product. Added to all of that, Emma Jane also ensured that the production standards were spread right across the field, from good sets and staging to fabulous costumes and make-up. The main feature of the set was the projection screen, centre stage, which provided not only a variety of good locational images, but also some good graphics and effects, and allowed the band to be shown to the audience. The remainder of the set was fairly neutral, with a raised platform up-stage and good raised areas Downstage R and L. Dressing for the various scenes was achieved mostly with self-standing pieces and a wide variety of good props and furniture. Under the guidance of Stage Manager, Therese Farrell, this was a very fluid production with almost unnoticeable scene changes. Lighting was of a very good standard, with faces well-lit throughout and with plenty of disco effects and mood lighting, using colours that reflected the tone of each setting. Given that the band were located in some small backroom of the theatre, a very good balance was maintained between band and on-stage vocals. Cueing and sound effects were also precise. Props and furniture were all very good and appropriate throughout the show, including, would you believe it, an iron lung. But it was the sheer sense of euphoria that emanated from the stage that carried the audience along with every step, every song and every gag in this show. The performers were having the time of their lives, and I’m sure that enthusiasm was inspired and instilled by an effusive Director. In the leading role of Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker, Cormac Malone was as slick as Elvis, as cool as James Dean, delightfully rebellious, and sometimes as nerdy as an awkward teenager taking his first steps towards romance, all of which perfectly suited his complex character. This was a great acting and comedy performance with an equally impressive vocal quality, which stretched from well-realised Rock-a-Billy to tender tones in the more romantic numbers. Rebecca Gamble, as Allison, really enjoy the juxtaposition of being an innocent ‘square’ in her local community and being a wannabe bad girl in the company of Wade. Played with strong comedy and a lovely voice, she had the perfect mix of innocent vulnerability and mischievous minx. Gavin Moloney got maximum hilarity from his portrayal of Baldwin Blandish, the dorky, barbershop-quartet leader, intent on winning the heart of Allison, at all costs. This was character acting of the finest quality, using voice, facial expression and body language to superb comedic effect, making him so likeable in his loathsomeness. The singing of the barbershop quartet was exceptional and quite hilarious, with Gavin taking the lead and ably supported by Luke Watson as Bob, Ben Cole as John and Sean Lonergan as Jonathan, each of whom had wonderful individual personalities, but as a team, had the audience rolling in the aisles. Their synchronized actions, movements and comments were comedy gold. Cian McKeon played Wade’s best friend, Dupree, the emcee of the Jukebox Jamboree at Turkey Point. Cian’s role was a fusion of cool Rock star and high camp, fronting some of the coolest rock numbers with great charisma, but also providing hilarious comedy, particularly in Can I Kiss You With Tongue. With a strong voice and great stage presence, this was a well-realized role. Comedic performance of the night, however, came from Yasmine Missaoui, as psychopathic stalker, Lenora. Her unrequited love for Wade has sent her cuckoo, as best demonstrated in her hilarious lament, Screw Loose. This was a master-class in comedy, using every move, gesture, glance and word to maximum effect and having the audience in fits. Her imaginary friend wasn’t credited in the program, but Yasmine did convince me that she really did exist. Allison’s Grandmother, Mrs Vernon-Williams, was very well portrayed by Jennifer McGuire Noriant, bringing a wealth of experience in character/comedy to the role of an apparently squeaky clean, upstanding citizen who lives with a dark secret. Added to her strong comedy was an equally strong voice, best demonstrated in the very amusing I Did Something Wrong, Once. A feisty, fiery trio of volatile vixens appeared in the shape of Chloe Murphy Foley as Mona “Hatchet Face” Malnorowski, Nicole Kennedy as Wanda Woodward, and Wade’s 16-year old pregnant little sister Pepper, played by Aine Murray. These three followed Wade from the wrong side of the tracks and made their presence felt among the rich folk with sass, sex and seriously side-splitting comedy. That they could all belt out a good tune was a big bonus for these three very talented performers. Completing the principal line-up, Desmond Daly made a very credible Judge Stone, and suitor to Allison’s Grandmother. The two distinct choruses in the show were the Nerds (or squares) and the Drapes (or Rockers), and both captured the essence of their identity quite brilliantly, the former being smug in their superiority and aghast at the disgusting behaviour of the latter, and the latter exuding the angst, rebellion and in-your-face attitude of the kids from the wrong side of the tracks. Both groups performed with raw energy and a very splendid level of dance ability, and none were found wanting when it came to vocal strength and clarity. Indeed, I’m quite sure Musical Director, Dave McGauran, was most impressed with their work rate. He, in return, led a brilliant band with untold energy and exuberance, appearing on the projection screen, during the overture, not just playing and conducting, but also shouting out the house rules, (no photography, no mobile phones, etc;) in rhythm to the music. The band perfectly captured the energy and feel of the Rock-a-Billy score, but also found the right level of mellowness for the more-gentle numbers. Harmonies and diction were always crisp and clear, but topping the musical charts were the hilarious barbershop contributions from the Whiffles. Pure magic. Choreographer, Julianne McNamara, had a field-day, playing with the wide variety of styles and rhythms that this show presents. Her interpretation of the score, from the ‘twee’ nerdiness of the ‘squares’ routines, to the robust energy-driven gyrations of the rockers, was of the highest standard and thoroughly engaging to behold. From high camp to high class, the dances were a riot of ecstasy and energy, and performed with zeal by a company that just didn’t want to be restrained. Completing the look and atmosphere of the show was a wardrobe that varied from the prim, pastels of the posh people to garish and outrageous attire for the rockers. Pepper’s pregnancy bump was brilliant, but it was “Hatchet-face” Mona’s appearance that high-lighted the joint achievement of costumes and the make-up team. Her scars were truly brutal, and latterly, her bandaged face was hilarious. The Whiffles always looked immaculately dapper. I have no doubt that, based on the strength and the fun of this production, many adventurous companies might like to have a crack at this show in the future, and that is as much as I need to say about the excellent standard of production and performance that Malahide presented. It was a great thrill to be there for this Irish Premiere, and my sincere thanks to all concerned for a wonderful and hilarious night of musical theatre. Peter Kennedy Gilbert Adjudicator 2023 / 2024 Some Photos kindly shared by the society - Photographer - Pauline Maguire

9 to 5 as presented by Trim Musical Society

9 to 5 as presented by Trim Musical Society Date of Adjudicated Performance: Thursday 15th February 2024. I think it was sometime last...

9 to 5 as presented by Trim Musical Society Date of Adjudicated Performance: Thursday 15th February 2024. I think it was sometime last season that I suggested that 9 to 5 could be alternatively titled “Me Too, The Musical”, dealing, as it does, with the problems of misogyny in the workplace, but doing so with a delightfully comical perspective. This particular production, by Trim Musical Society, had three very strong females who had no problem at all in striking a blow for feminism, and doing so with a great deal of comedy and character. Director, Stephen Acton, managed to create scenes that had the feel of a busy office environment without ever looking over-crowded and still allowed for good routines and movement. Indeed, the set for this production was absolutely delightful, based around a time piece motif, beautifully painted, and creating a clean, fresh, modern office environment. It was moved about the stage with stealth by Stage Manager, Frank Connolly and his team, who were super- efficient all night. There was beautiful attention to detail in the various office settings with appropriate furnishings and fixtures. Most striking was the large screen, centre stage, that gave us varied backgrounds and some very good effects and information, but the reason it worked so well was the perspective painting on the surrounding flats that gave every picture a great feeling of depth and space. With a very strong cast, there was good attention to individuality among the characters, but it was the business between the three main characters that flowed very naturally and formed a wonderful bond between them, never more evident than in their pot-smoking scene, which was hilariously played by them all. The dream sequences were very well devised, as was Roz’s cheer-leader fantasy, which gave a novel approach to Heart to Hart. The pace of the show was excellent from start to finish, and I admired Stephen’s decision to omit the usual screen footage of Dolly Parton narrating the introduction. It adds little to the show and has, by now, lost its novelty appeal. As already alluded to, Choreographer, Laura Douglas, succeeded well in devising clean and exciting routines for the opening scenes of the show that negotiated office furniture and limited space without ever looking uncomfortably crowded. Her dream sequences were well thought out and varied, and very well-executed by her dancers. One of the Boys was the show-piece of Act Two in a display that always looked fluent, precise and energetic. The chorus performed all that Laura had set for them with efficiency and energy, and I’m quite sure that Chorus Master, Ben Cully, was equally impressed with the work they put into their harmonies and vocal quality. Thanks to strong leadership from Musical Director, Dermot O’Callaghan, there was always a good balance between the orchestra and the vocalists, and the very fine band of musicians really seemed to enjoy the rhythms and tones of their music. If the set for the show was attractive, it was certainly enhanced by a very good lighting design, with great use of back and side lighting and very smooth transitions from one state to another, resulting in some very beautiful pictures on the stage. The tone and colours always seemed just perfect for the action, and coupled with a highly efficient sound desk, well balanced microphones, well-executed effects and good secure cueing, the overall technical presentation of the show was of the highest quality. But the Director, the Musical Director, the Choreographer and the Chorus Master are all very dependent on a talented and thoroughly engaged cast to bring their ideas to life, and in this respect, Trim put forward a very strong and impressive team. With great authority, much bottled-up frustration, and yet a kind and caring heart, Violet Newstead was perfectly portrayed by Jenny McCabe, who realized the various levels of her character, with good comedic sense and a warm and strong vocal quality. Her relationship with Hart was delightfully volatile, while there was sincerity and restrained affection in her dealings with love-interest, Joe. But it was her bonding with Doralee and Judy that gave rise to the most enjoyable scenes of the show. Not surprising, as in Doralee, she met her match in terms of righteous indignation and genuine warmth of character, as beautifully expressed by Louise Cassidy. As the character based loosely on Dolly Parton herself, Louise found an authentic southern Belle accent, sported a fantastic blonde wig, and treated us to some impressive country-style singing. As with Jenny, she was strong on comedy and drama. Giving the stand out vocal performance of the night with Get Out and Stay Out, Anna Bergin was also a highly comical, bundle of nervous energy and agitation in the role of Judy Bernly. Her transition from nervy, insecure, recently jilted wife, to a scarily enthusiastic feminist was a hilarious journey, culminating in that powerhouse of a solo. Yet again, though, the real magical moments came when the three ladies were together as a team. The object of their mutual disgust came in the shape of Kevin Hartnett, portraying the loathsome, superior, misogynistic jerk, Franklin Hart. Kevin played the role with tongue firmly-in-cheek, and a great sense of the ridiculous, turning in a brilliant comedic performance, enhanced by quality vocals. What Kevin was to shallowness, Colin Flynn was to sincerity, in a beautifully played Joe. Ever the perfect gentleman, yet with a loveable persistence, he gently wooed and won the heart of Violet, and along the way, they blended perfectly in a truly lovely rendition of Love Can Grow. Jenny Seery turned in a highly entertaining performance as Roz Keith, the office crank with a giddy, lustful desire to be the object of Hart’s affection. An absolute bundle of energy, she cavorted with unrestrained ardour in Hart’s presence, and her well-delivered Heart to Hart was comedy gold. There were convincing and commendable performances from Sam Lee as Dwayne Rhodes, sincere and supportive of Doralee, Aaron Stone as the love-rat husband of Judy, Grace Cosgrove as the feisty, fired-and-then-reinstated Maria Delgado, Luck Farrell as Violet’s pot supplying son, Josh, and Clare Murray as office stalwart Kathy. Further notable performances came from Siobhan Dobie as the rather scatter-brained wife, Missy Hart, Sean Fox as high flying Chief Executive Officer, Mr Tinsworthy, and a neat cameo performance from Liam Foley as the Xerox Man. Last but certainly not least, was a rather brilliant portrayal of office lush, Margaret, from the highly talented stalwart of Trim, Gwen Bagnall. It helped considerably with the creation of individual characters that everyone was beautifully turned out in appropriate and well-selected costumes. From the everyday office attire to the more stylized outfits of the Dream ballet sequences and One Of The Boys, costuming was most effective and matched by the great attention to detail of make-up and hairstyles/wigs. The transformation from office lush to elegant lady that happened to Margaret was wonderful, and typified the standard of the visual presentation of the whole show, as did the well-thought out transformation of the office scenes when the ladies took control of décor. This was my first visit to the Swift Cultural Centre in Trim, and it was certainly a comfortable and accommodating venue. I’m quite sure that the Musical Society appreciated the facilities, and they most certainly made the most of them, presenting this wonderfully warm and entertaining production of 9 to 5. Thank you for a great night in good company. Peter Kennedy Gilbert Adjudicator 2023 / 2024 Some Photos kindly shared by the society - Photographer - Nathan Maher

Les Miserables (Schools) as presented by S.O.N.G. Dundalk

S.O.N.G. DUNDALK, LES MISERABLES SCHOOL EDITION AN TAIN ARTS CENTRE, DUNDALK 15th – 19th NOVEMBER 2023 Adjudication Performance 15th...

S.O.N.G. DUNDALK, LES MISERABLES SCHOOL EDITION AN TAIN ARTS CENTRE, DUNDALK 15th – 19th NOVEMBER 2023 Adjudication Performance  15th November 2023 TO LOVE ANOTHER PERSON IS TO SEE THE FACE OF GOD This was opening night for this Society as I made way to this lovely Arts Centre in Dundalk where there was a palpable air of excitement all around. This is a School Edition of Les Misérables, so every single character is under 20s years old – a very young group of people but also very talented. Upon opening my programme to get myself acquainted with the various characters, I see a personal message from Mr Alain Boubil and Claude-Michel Schonberg and I will quote that message here because it’s of its huge importance and sentimental to everyone involved in the show and massive support to this Company in this production. In fact, the Resident Director of Les Misérables in London, Jo Parsons, travelled to Dundalk to work with the Cast on Sunday 5th November and involved Jo working with the Chorus and leads and hosting a Q & A session also. What an experience for all. Front of House was the responsibility of Anne Flynn, Ciara O’Shea, Sunnibhna Corcoran, Valerie Ward and Phil Flynn, with PR and Programme Design by Andrew Browne and Terese Dunne. Well done team. I was made to feel very welcome and there was indeed a buzz of excitement all around the front of house on opening night. As it should be. Mr Nik Parks played the part of Valjean in this Company’s 2007 Production of this show, and having been involved in this society for the past 16 Mr Parks was the Director and Acting Coach for this production. Also, as Director and Choreographer is Ms Teresa Dunne, with Assistant Director Ms Rosemary Winkless and Assistant Choreographers Aoife Kerley & Tara Gill. Musical Director and Chorus was Mr Patrick Dunne, And Vocal Coach was Ms Irene Dunne. Individually and collectively a huge team with huge talent amongst them. This was an extremely strong unit and it showed in the Production from start to finish. Mr Parks Direction was simple and effective showing great empathy and emotion. Each character moved and acted beautifully. I had to keep reminding myself that this cast were less than 20 years old and yet – obviously under close and very clever Direction this show and every part of it just shone. Firstly, I personally wish to draw the reader’s attention to the wonderfully directed scenes in this show – Javerts Suicide was a visual treat to the discerning eye- simple yet dramatic. The anger of the choppy river which were we could see so clearly with magnificent lighting here, the spotlight on Jean Valjean, played by Mr Jack Clare when singing “ Bring Him Home” so effective and dramatic in its simplicity to the wonderful direction to the Barricade and also the End of Act 1 – “One More Day”. The levels constructed to create a vision for the whole company to shine – it was as if each cast member was directed individually by Mr Parks with many hours spent on perfecting each scene and the actions of each character. Immense attention to detail here on all fronts which had a huge impact on the success of this full show. It was so specific and so professional that you really could a) have been watching the West End Production and b) an adult performance. This was not the case obviously but considering the level of professionalism this show reached it could have been so. Choreographer Teresa Dunne and Assistant Choreographers Aoife Kerley & Tara Gill hugely contributed to the overall success of this show in that firstly the full stage was utilised in every number. This really enhanced the singing in this Musical by the fluid movement and clever use of the set in both height and depth. Making the choreographed movement precise and spectacular. Examples include The Barricade but also in the quieter more emotional moments and there are many. E.g. in the opening number ‘look down’ the prisoners had synchronised slow moments creating a lovely opening of song, set and movement which was very accurately done. Other numbers which I must mention were the ensemble numbers ‘At the End of The Day’, lovely soft movements here with some subtle choreo, creating lovely pictures and visuals. “Lovely ladies” showed rawness and emotion through the cast’s movements on stage. “Master Of the House” was so very well done. Every single person in this Company to me excelled in choreography and it was a joy to watch. Musical Director, and Chorus Director was the responsibility of Mr Patrick Dunne. The Orchestra kept good pace and displayed lovely emotion throughout. Mr Dunne also played keyboard and piano and on watching this gentleman throughout this show, he conducted and played beautifully. This cast did not waver once in sound, tune or tempo. Mr Dunne was with them all the way subtly guiding this show through 31 Musical Numbers, each one a masterpiece with many tempos, many changes of emotion, through pain, love, poverty, battle, sadness and victory. And under Mr Dunne’s direction, every single number was emotionally charged to suit the scene involved. The Orchestra were just FOUR in total and the sound that emanated from the pit was stunning. Along with Mr Dunne as Conductor / Keyboard, this team also consisted of Paul Campbell also on Keyboard, Kevin Canavan on Guitar, & David Doyle on Drums and Percussion. I particularly want to draw attention here to – “ One More Day”, “ The Barricade” then the beauty of “Bring him Home”, Javert’s Suicide, with the magnificent accompaniment to this turbulent number to the sincere and glorious love between Marius and Cosette, a gorgeous number to the heart pounding Epilogue at the end of Act 2 – the Orchestra and Mr Dunne as Musical Director brought a beauty out in his Orchestra and indeed to the audience that is rare. You were part of the wall of talent that I watched unfold before my eyes on the opening night I attended –I sincerely applaud you. A joy. The Vocal Coach was Ms Irene Dunne. Again – I had to keep reminding myself that this was a School Edition performance such was the quality of the sound produced here from both soloists and chorus. There is not one number I can single out as each was so lovely and a joy to listen to. There was tension, drama, beauty and a team here that Ms Dunne created as this is not an easy sing of a show in fact many of the numbers – “Bring Him Home”, “Stars”, A Heart Full Of Love”, “On My Own”, “One Day More” and “I Dreamed a Dream” are very tough and they can be tricky. Not here. A thunderous melodious sound throughout. Well done Ms Dunne. Sets were provided by Set 4 Stage. There were very effective, great colour wonderful different levels so that the cast were positioned high and low and widely across the stage and were extremely effective throughout. Again, I mention the Barricade, in all its glory and height, the shambolic poverty of the houses on the streets, the grey brick walls, the way the back of the stage was a bridge – arched like a bridge meant that cast members could stand on this bridge fill the whole width of it and create another wall of characters behind those on stage. This was very effective for the big Company numbers such as the end of Act 1 “One Day More” and “Final Battle” and “The Epilogue”. Stage Managers were Ms Moya Hodgers, and Lisa Dunbar, ably assisted by the Stage Crew of Ultan Hodgers, Clare Murphy, Tom Dunne, John Hodgers, Kathryn Dunne, Brendan Cleary, and Eoin Maguire. This team had a lot of work to do! There was great ease in each set change, particularly in the scenes like “Building the Barricade” into “On My Own” and again “The Final Battle” smoothly evolving to “The Sewers” – great work here, and then again into Javerts Suicide to mention just one section where Stage Manager and crew worked exceptionally well and quickly. Stage Management Team were slick and professional and kept the tempo of the whole show moving. Well done Stage Manager and Stage Crew Team Les Misérables! Props Mistress was Ms Nessa Toale assisted by Kayleigh McCabe. I don’t know about the reader here but the first prop I think of when I see the word “Les Misérables” is the red flag. It must be blood red, and huge, be centre stage, and waved with great gusto and passion – the red flag in this show most certainly was all of these and more. Other mentions were the weapons, the guns, the bed where Cosette dies, so many little nuances too many to mention. I could not find fault. Well done ladies. AV Tech was the responsibility of Mr Andrew Browne. Mr Browne set up, operated and maintained audio and video equipment used to enhance this show. It was perfect to my ear and eye. I loved the river flowing dramatically and angrily under the bridge for Javert’s suicide. Very real, very different, and very effective. Well done. Lighting Design & Operation by Eoin Hannaway. Follow Spot Operator / and LX Crew Ellen Hodgers. Sound were Derek Nangle and Triona Talbot with Mic Dresser Ms Clare Murphy. I can still see the set as even before the show started and upon taking my seat the audience could see the image of red, white and blue lighting and the silver and black figurine that the world over knows that this is indeed Les Misérables. It was practically the exact same and excellent. I loved this spotlight on soloists in this show – Javert – “Stars” - Jean Valjean “Bring Him Home” and Fantine “I Dreamed a Dream”. There was huge contrast in lighting, and what I particularly liked was that during these scenes in some cases the stage was bare only for the set and the soloist down stage front singing and each time there was this magnificent spotlight on the performers like the white spot was being beamed down from the sky or from the roof of the Tain Theatre. So simple. But SO effective. For the bigger full Company numbers as in “One More Day” finale Act 1, the front line was brightly lit up individually – however the rest of the Company were still not as brightly but as if in haze or a dry ice foggy effect and yet could be clearly seen but the different lighting sequences created lovely depth highlighting everyone but without taking the concentration away from the Front Line. Fantine solo “On My Own” was so beautiful. Again, a single figure on stage, 4 LED blue spots shining down from above, flooding the floor in blue but leaving the part where Fantine was standing just as a white spot. The Barricade scene had several spots flooding the stage in red and blue, for me the red spots symbolising blood, and the lovely soft light on the lovely young character Gavroche. So simple, yet so strong. Beautiful. There was magnificent lighting and Sound which of course is so critical for a show and here it was a huge success. When Eponine was dying in the same scene, the Chorus were faded under the blue hue of lights and went into a freeze but still lit. And one single white spot lit up the stage where Eponine lay dying held by Marius. Tears in my eyes. Very well done to all the Tech team. Costume Hire was from Sparkes Costumes and Abbey Theatre Costume. Makeup by Hannah Murphy, and Tara Gill. Costume Mistresses were Ms Bronwyn Walsh, and Rosemary Winkless, - as mentioned above, Ms Winkless was also Assistant Director for this show and assisted by Niamh Walsh. There was a lovely uniformity in each setting with Costumes. they were of the period, looked very well from where I was seated and I want to mention the prisoners’ costumes in the opening scene was very effective. The soldiers in white red and navy were very striking in comparison in this scene. Jean Valjean’s costume as the pauper he was before his fortune changed was extremely effective and a wonderful contrast to the beautifully coated gentleman who appeared later where he was by then an extremely well to do gentleman. “At the end of the day” was such a beautiful scene for costumes where subtly the red shone through in areas, but it was the lovely blue on the factory workers that I really loved. The dank dirty and brown costumes of the cast and leads like Cosette worked well was very also visually spot on. I loved the principals’ costumes also with mention also to the stunning costume of Madame Thenadier, and Thendier, vibrant and bright. “Lovely ladies” the colours and costumes were superb. The costumes worked so well that you could easily forget that this cast was so young as the costumes particularly on the men and soldiers made them look much older. Costumes in this production were one of its many highlights and well done to Costumes Mistresses mentioned above. Makeup was very good. Jean Valjean was magnificently aged, it was very clear from the audience and the pale deathly look on this death bed was superb. Javerts make up was very dramatic and a special note of congratulations to your gorgeous Gavroche played by Doireann McNally. Makeup on this young lady was particularly lovely as well as Eponine, Cosette, Fantine, and Marius. Congratulations to the Makeup team in this production. It is vital, important, and tells a story, and you certainly created that in bucketloads. Well done. Jean Valjean played by Jack Clare had a lovely stage presence, fabulous vocal and a natural acting ability showing enormous empathy and care towards others in this role that he played superbly. This young gentleman is just 17 years old yet looked and acted as if he much older. Lovely movement around the stage, and he looked very comfortable in this role. “Bring Him Home” was really so beautiful it is quite extraordinary that this huge number was indeed sung by a 17 year old. The “old man” you became in your death scene with Cosette displayed a maturity well beyond your years and a truly lovely scene with your Cosette and with Marius. The music “to love another person is to see the face of God” leading into the full Company singing “Do You Hear the People Sing” was stuff of professional West End Theatre and it was truly magnificent. The character that you created and the character of Jean Valjean that we your audience were blessed to listen to, and watch created so many wonderful moments in this show and only in every way added to the show’s success. Bravo Mr Clare. Javert was played by EJ Dunne. Again at 16 years of age what a mammoth part to both act and sing. You were a very good Javert with just enough of the dark side of your character and your quest to find Valjean, and eventually your own demise at your own hand showed wonderful acting and indeed strong emotion and passion. I love Mr Dunnes singing, particularly drawing reference to one of the huge numbers of the show “Stars” and so well known that any flaw would be noticed. None here. Wonderfully sung, with excellent tone and breath control and a magnificent vocal range this number was given thunderous rapturous applause and rightly so. Me included. You were a marvellous Javert. Congratulations and well done. Marius was played by Barry Murphy. Again 17 years of age. This young man had a fine voice, a lovely stage presence, and a beautiful soft way about him. His love for Fantine when she dies in his arms in the Barricade scene was so touching, so sad, and so believable. There was a pause at the end of this number as Fantine was carried off and a silence hung in the Theatre that I felt you could touch it was so moving. Your love for Cosette was beautifully acted and a there was a lovely on-stage chemistry between you both. “A Heart Full of Love” was simply stunning, your voices glittered in this beautiful duet. “Drink With Me” and “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” were memorable moments of the show full of grief and emotion, and love. Wonderful performance Mr Murphy and congratulations on making this role your own and creating a character that was your Marius that enhanced so much the overall success of this show. Well done. Edward Finegan played the part of Thenardier or “The Master of The House” as he may well be known also. This character was a rogue! A likeable rogue, who bounced around the stage with his energy and cheekiness assisted ably by Mdme Thenardier played by the lovely Charlotte McLoughlin. Ms Mc Loughlin, again your stage presence and your natural ability to move around the stage so gracefully and eloquently was beautifully played. The prettiest of characters too on stage. Your costumes and your facial expression were superb. You had a lovely report with Mr Finnegan, and you looked, worked and acted so well together. To the reader here, I must mention that this cheeky duo could sing act and dance and be funny! Brilliant! Great costumes and a marvellous couple this duo made on stage. The stage lit up each time they “arrived” loudly on stage, and with a bang, I knew a “lightness” in the story for a few moments would most definitely ensue and be comedic, well done and fun! And I was right. “The Bargain” was an excellent scene. You were so bold!!  Again, a very young gentleman who carried this role off to aplomb with his partner in crime and sidekick Madame Thenardier. Madame Thenardier who I also must mention is just 17 years old also. This couple acted so professionally and with beautiful stage presence was gloriously cast and I looked forward to you both coming on stage. Great couple, super duo on stage moving wonderfully and with ease together, fabulous costumes. A joy to watch and listen to you both. Super performances. Eponine was played by Ellie Rose Ward. Again, at just 18 years of age. A wonderful part played beautifully and with again such powerful emotion and feeling by Ms Ward. From the moment you stepped on stage your raw emotion needed for this part shone. Your song “On My Own” when you took to the stage again another highlight of the show brought the house down. This was a beautiful moment as there were also many more however the other stand out moment for me was “A Little Drop of Rain” where your love for your lovely Marius was sung with such heartbreak, love and sadness. Time stood still. You’re costumes and hair made you look so vulnerable underneath the tomboy exterior not an easy combination to make that connection with your audience but for you it worked and worked seamlessly. You were a beautiful Eponine in every way. Bravo. Lovely, lovely performance. I wish you luck in your future stage roles as I am sure there will be many. Well done Ms Ward. The part of Gavroche was played by the young and beautiful Doireann McNally. You are a little natural on stage. You moved around that stage in amongst battles and barricades as graceful as a ballerina. I get the feeling you really enjoyed playing this role and I am aware you love the stage, and you should continue to. You have a lovely stage presence, and you could see you were so very involved in each and every moment. Your costume was fantastic and so befitting of your character. Well done Ms McNally. You shone like are a star. Finally Little Cosette / Little Eponine was played by Alice Turner, Alex Mellon and Tess Kierans in rotation, and this was a wonderful idea by the Society. These young ladies, I shall call them Princesses you are all so young, aged between 10 and 11 years old respectively. On the evening of my Adjudication, I had the pleasure of watching Ms Mellon played the part. A lovely singing voice, beautiful stage presence again and crystal-clear diction. Great props and again costumes so fitting and appropriate. I will say it again, there is no such thing as a small part. Well done. The Bishop played by Jim Harrigan, you had a lovely aura about you in the middle of all the war and pain and there was a quietness about you when you gave Jean Valjean the candlesticks that showed great reverence and also respect in saving a man that without your help would must definitely have been thrown to the gallows. It was the quietness and reverence that you showed playing this part that made you so effective. The part of Babet was played by Charles Kirwan, Claquesous played by Darragh Leonard, and Brujon played by Deaghlan McGovern. These three young gentlemen played with a maturity beyond their years each only being 16 years old also. Three lovely roles played beautifully, with great direction and wonderful use of the stage. Older beyond your years I can say. And in a show, such as Les Miserables a huge compliment. Well done lads! The part of Enjolras was played by Max Valentine. What a great name which I already knew this season! Mr Valentine played a strong character who created a revolutionary vision in getting others on board and bringing the people together to fight for “the cause” with passion and emotion. “Do You Hear the People Sing” and “Red and Black” were simply inspiring, pleading and calling the people to fight to overcome adversity. Mr Valentine played this role eloquently and with great emotion “Do You Hear the People Sing” the Finale of Act 1 was a powerhouse performance led by Mr Valentine and joined by the full Chorus. Wonderful costume again, great diction from this young man and great strength of character on stage. This is an important role in the overall story of this Revolution calling people to arms and you did it magnificently. A lovely performance Mr Valentine. Extremely well played. Bravo. Fantine was played by Caoimhe McBride. Again 18 years old. This young lady really is a beautiful character. You were just lovely. You had lovely expression with your eyes – your eyes told your story – even from where I was sitting. You played this role so delicately and beautifully I was immediately endeared to you, and I loved your character. One of THE highlights of the show was your singing of I Dreamed a Dream. This song is nearly an Anthem of Les Misérables worldwide but here you were given the huge stage, dressed in one huge spotlight in white above your head glistening down on to the stage with the rest of the stage in darkness and there you stood and sang. Sheer raw and emotional singing of a life you knew you would never have, of a dream you would never see, and what remained. The silence in this audience for this magical number is because of how you sang this song, with its pain and passion and broken dreams – alone on the stage. I can still see you there. It had a massive effect on me and on the audience. You sang with your heart and in turn you had the hearts of the audience. Beautiful. A very special moment. A highlight of the show. Magnificent acting here and love. Just pure love. Cosette was played by Carragh Mailley. A lovely actress with a lovely, sweet singing voice and again lovely stage presence. Ms Mailley you looked great and onstage chemistry between yourself and Marius, but also the bond that you are playing Cosette has with Jean Valjean of pure parental love was palpable. Again, I find it hard to believe that this talented young lady is just 15 years old. What an amazing maturity and stage presence you have so early in life. “Castle On a Cloud” and “A Heart Full of Love” were beautifully sung. You have a lovely timbre to your voice, and acting ability shone, but particularly in the scenes with Marius and Jean Valjean which I found very moving and emotional and filled with your love for them both and their love for you. You really were a lovely Cosette, and I hope to see you again on stage in the future. Well done. This chorus. Well, it was superb. What a glorious sound – for every single number. This is a very special cast and chorus, and the Chorus had a huge part to play in the overall success of this wonderful stage performance. You are all so young and I know there were many hours of rehearsals and indeed travelling (thank you to the Mammies, Daddies, Grandparent, Guardians families!) who did travel to rehearse to make this show what it was. It was a picture with magnificent sound and already mentioned congratulations again to your Chorus Mistress and Vocal Coach Ms Irene Dunne. You were an army in yourselves! “One Day More”, “Do You Hear the People Sing”, “The Barricade” Both finales – Act 1 and Act 2 a glorious sound and vision and the harmonies were so in tune and perfect. I wish I could name you all individually here, but you are a team, with such a gorgeous sound that had such a huge impact on the whole production every single time you sang. So, to each one of you, I won’t even call you a group I choose to call you what you all individually are - Stars. As I sat through this whole show I simply found it so very hard to imagine that I was indeed watching a school edition of Les Miserables. One of the most moving and famous pieces of theatre of modern times brought to life in a way that would make the current West End cast sit up and admire , such was its overall quality. I have only one word left to say. BRAVO! Caroline Daly Jones Sullivan Adjudicator 2023/24 Some photos kindly shared by the society:

EASTERN SOCIETIES

Below is our comprehensive list of EASTERN societies.

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