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Phantom of the Opera as Presented by Ballinrobe Musical Society

Phantom of The Opera as performed by Ballinrobe Musical Society Date of Adjudicated Performance: Saturday, 17th February 2024. Having...

Phantom of The Opera as performed by Ballinrobe Musical Society Date of Adjudicated Performance: Saturday, 17 th February 2024.  Having never seen Phantom of the Opera on the professional stage, it was with much anticipation that I headed to Ballinrobe, humming Music of the Night and All I Ask of You, and expecting something fabulously moving and technically dynamic. I didn’t leave disappointed. Much praise must be heaped upon Director, Alan Greaney, for taking this complicated piece and presenting it with such a high level of achievement in a venue that requires vision and imagination to facilitate anything approaching the level of technical wizardry required for this show. The thought that went into the set and the lighting, the chandelier, the boat, the dry ice, the magic mirror, and the dressing of the hall as an Opera House was remarkably good. A gilt framed proscenium arch, golden columns, and wonderful golden, lushly decorated, private boxes either side, was the sight that greeted the audience upon entering the auditorium, instantly making a strong impact on the senses. Clam-shell footlights along the front of the stage added period and character to the setting. A wonderful chandelier at ground level for the opening auction scene, and then rose majestically into the flies. The stage R, box rotated inwards to present a wonderful balconied house interior, and hidden behind the stage L box, an expertly constructed pipe organ, dominating the entire corner of the stage. In the background were well-painted representations of the Paris Opera House, both interior and exterior, and an effective grave yard. There was so much to commend this set and its visual impact, including well-used flash/smoke pods, and the haunting first appearance of the Phantom to Christine in the mirror of her dressing room. Likewise, the apparition of Christine’s reflection, in wedding dress, in the sewer scene, was most effective. There were so many moving pieces to the set that I can only highly praise the stage crew, under stage manager, Ken McCarthy, for keeping it running so smoothly. It really was quite sumptuous as sets go, and with good lighting, most of the scenes had great atmosphere. The sewers, in particular, combined dry-ice, haunting green back-light, and rows of candles lighting the path of the boat/gondola that carried the Phantom and Christine. I’m reluctant to mention the scene where poor Christine was in partial shadow for a while, due to some props being too far off-stage, for it was a minor blip in a technical display that really was quite outstanding. There was a problem with the pace of the show, on several occasions, when perhaps the incidental music needed to be accelerated to diminish the long phrases of inactivity between Christine and the Phantom. I did also feel that some solos were taken at too leisurely a pace, particularly Music of the Night and All I Ask of You, stretching the singers to almost run short of breath. Musical Director, Finola Higgins, had a very fine 13-piece orchestra to bring to life the beautiful musical score, and they played with good accuracy and energy, even if on occasions a bit more attack was needed. Vocally, it was evident that much work had been done on preparing the chorus, who performed with good strength and precise harmonies. The choral section of the Don Juan Opera sequence is vocally challenging, and was handled with a measure of success. Finola was blessed to have very secure singers in the principal roles. Niall Conway’s acting, in the role of The Phantom, was at its best in those scenes when he was unmasked and vulnerable, and when he was overtaken by anger and outrage. This is when his strength and stature were most effective, and when he was able to use his powerful voice as a weapon. Niall has amazing vocal versatility, and while everything was well-sung, there were occasions, particularly during the duet scenes with Christine, when a tendency to err physically towards a kind of melodramatic gentility, seemed to weaken his character. I think, perhaps, this was highlighted by the lack of pace during some of these exchanges. His make-up was a work of art, and I truly felt moved by his discomfort at being exposed. There was a delightful delicacy about Eve Garavan in the role of Christine, which suited the vulnerability of her character, but it was a sublime quality of voice and diction that really stood out, making this a superbly exquisite vocal performance, with The Phantom of the Opera and Wishing You Were Somewhere Here Again being exceptionally beautiful. There was so much sincerity in this emotional performance. Edward Scott’s performance as Raoul was honest and true, and wanted only for a bit more confidence and stage-presence, which will undoubtedly come with a few outings on the boards. He gave a good vocal display, with a beautiful duet in All I Ask Of You, and his acting was very credible. Catherine Conway was a revelation in the comedic Diva role of Carlotta Guidicelli, vocally drifting effortlessly through her range, from coloratura to lyrical to dramatic soprano. In a role that could have been written for her, she also amazed with excellent comedy timing and delivery, a fabulous look, and superb facial expression. Providing much of the shows light relief were Richard Crumlish as Gilles André and John Byrne as Richard Firmin, the rather farcical gentlemen who take ownership of the ill-fated Opera Populaire. Both of these performers proved how gifted they are as character/comedy players and also possessed the vocal quality to partake in the tricky harmonies of Notes/Prima Donna and Notes/Twisted Every Way. Angela Staunton had a dark and somber countenance as Madame Giry, the ballet-mistress and go-between from the Phantom to Christine. She kept her character very well throughout the story, like a haunting presence, and delivered strong vocals in her several musical pieces. I’m not sure I understand at all what is the point of the character Meg Giry, Madame Giry’s daughter, but regardless of that, the role was played delightfully and confidently by Kate MacDonnell, making the most of her few lines and contributing to the Opera House scenes with very good vocal quality. Joff Manning had the perfect stature for the somewhat pompous and self-adoring operatic tenor, Ubaldo Piangi, and played the role with a suitable, well-gauged sense of comedy, even if the tenor line was a tad strained for him to sing comfortably, and Michael Cooney completed the principal line, with a convincingly slovenly, couldn’t-care-less attitude towards the Opera elite, as a rather good Buquet. Uncredited in the program were the three ladies of the court who made a very worthy contribution to one of the opera scenes, and despite my familiarity with this company, so effective were their exaggerated make-up and wigs that I am unable to mention them by name. They were, however, very impressive. Similarly, there was a fine contribution from company stalwart, Gerry Hughes, as the chief of the somewhat geriatric unit of the Paris Gendarmerie. Their slightly bumbling approach to security was a nice comedic touch. Tidy cameo performances were also turned in by Pat McGovern as the retiring owner of the Opera Populaire, and by Mick Sweeney as the director of the Opera. The show is light on chorus work, except that they do have those rather tricky choral pieces during the Don Juan Opera. They achieved these with a good level of success, and were vocally strong and accurate in Masquerade and other pieces. With their movement, dance and general involvement, they did everything that was asked of them with energy and enthusiasm. Several chorus members also successfully filled cameo roles, and I loved the troop of Gendarmes. Choreographer, Aoife McClafferty, was caught a little between a rock and a hard place, wanting to employ the chorus as often as possible but having so few opportunities to do so. I think this lead to the Masquerade number suffering a bit from being over-crowded. It did however have a most beautiful section when the entire chorus danced illuminated only by hand held, mock-candle-light. The effect was quite stunning. Aoife also did a good job on the Opera sequences in Act One, including some very nice ballet pointe work and well-patterned routines. From a visual point of view, the make-up used for the Phantom was exceptional. There was an audible gasp when his mask was first removed, and when his wig came off to reveal a severely disfigured skull, complete with wispy hair and grotesque growths, it was quite disturbing. Excellent make-up was also used on Carlotta to establish her pomposity, and similarly with the three ladies of the court. Wigs were well-worn and make-up generally was of a high standard. Costumes, likewise, were consistently good and appropriate to each scene and each character, with good distinction between the everyday costumes and those used in the Operas. With a beautifully dressed foyer and a most attentive front of house staff, the audience were lulled into the mood and ambiance of the show before they even stepped into the auditorium, and I can bear witness to the compliments that were flowing, regarding the production, as they exited the theatre, so congratulations to one and all for such a fine achievement. Peter Kennedy Gilbert Adjudicator 2023 / 2024 Some photos kindly shared by the society - Photos by White Thorn Media

American Idiot as performed by Galway University Musical Society

American Idiot as performed by Galway University Musical Society Thursday 1st February 2014. I have never been a big fan of Green Day nor...

American Idiot as performed by Galway University Musical Society Thursday 1 st February 2014.  I have never been a big fan of Green Day nor punk rock, nor the associated prevalence of drug-induced psychopathy and self-abuse, and even as I entered the theatre, alive with super enthusiastic and supportive students, filled with a sense that they were about to witness something innovative and relevant and “woke”, I momentarily cringed and thought, “I’m too old for this!” But I was wrong! Completely wrong. And for the many people who have asked me, “Can you write a good review for a show you don’t really like?” ; here is my answer. When the cast and the production team believe in what they are doing and do it to the absolute best of their ability…Yes, you can write a glowing review. When you are assaulted by the energy, the enthusiasm, the level of talent on display and the sheer sense of purpose of everyone involved, you can do little else but be carried along on the crest of a wave. Such was the journey that I made from the moment a very capable band blasted into action in the Black Box Theatre.  What Director, Aisling Fox, managed to achieve with this production was to take a piece as vague and often challenging as American Idiot and present it in a coherent and dynamic manner. Apart from my concerns that the opening couple of scenes had so much movement that it took much concentration to pinpoint the focal point of the action, as the show progressed, it became sharp, poignant, and told with a fluid sense of purpose. Characters were well established and maintained throughout, but most importantly, the director understood the show and did all in her power to present it with authenticity. In this, she succeeded quite brilliantly. Her visions were also significantly enhanced by choreographers, Jodie Finn and Emily Smith, whose work was filled with energy, exuberance, and creativity. They treated us to angst and aggression, conflict, and confusion and even moments of sublimely sensual gyrations, all fused into a package that captured the time and the tempi of the era. As the show progressed, the choreography and the dramatic action seemed to fuse together so perfectly that it almost became a modern ballet.  But great choreography can amount to very little if the execution does not do it justice, and in this instance, the company was blessed to have a chorus who provided the engine that drove this show forward. Their very appearance and their dance energy provided a non-stop attack on the senses, with a passion and aggression in their hard rock numbers that was like an homage to the whole punk era, and their drug-infused gyrations in the numbers led by St. Jimmy were graphically symbolic of a lost and confused generation. This was a top-notch display, enhanced by the fact that they were also very vocally capable.  I am quite sure that vocal quality was the result of thorough rehearsal from Musical Director, Robert Cosgrove and his assistant, Rachael Moloney. Robert also kept good control of a very capable band of musicians who seemed to thoroughly enjoy the score, empathetic during the  ballad-style numbers and hot on the tone and tempi of the rock numbers. My only qualms regarding the music were the drums, which, while brilliantly played on occasion overpowered one or two of the female vocalists, and while the vocal quality of the main characters was  consistently good, one or two of the supporting players perhaps needed a bit more attention with their tuning.  Perhaps the problem with the drums might have been overcome with a slight boost to the female radio mics, from a sound system that was, in all other respects, very efficient and well-cued, including the several recordings and effects. The lighting for the show was also very impressive, with effective use of colours and specific areas. While every scene had a strong atmosphere, there were one or two occasions when principals were in a tad too much shadow, but generally, this was a well-lit production. The set was more adequate than outstanding, but it functioned well, with several levels and areas and just about enough props and furniture to create the right ambiance for each scene. There were not too many moving pieces, making life comfortable for Stage Manager, Andrew Richardson, who kept the action rolling with tidy, if occasionally unhurried, scene changes.  Excellent work was done on both the costuming and the make-up for the show. As mentioned earlier, the chorus were visually perfect, dull, and dark, punk and gothic, sometimes even disturbing in their countenance, but all appropriate and authentic to the era. I did not much like the gym outfits of the army recruits, but those aside, there was enough colour and variety to keep the show interesting. Make-up was excellent. This team could have done a good job on Bambi Thug! They certainly made St. Jimmy as dark and despicable as his character deserved.  The outstanding individual performance of the night came from Mike O’Sullivan in the role of Johnny, convincingly seduced, as he was, not only by girlfriend, Whatsername, but also by the embodiment of Heroin addiction, St. Jimmy. Mike’s likeability only served to enhance the tragedy of his addiction, and while his fine acting made a strong impact, it was the sublimely mellow and beautiful quality of his vocals, particularly in When It is Time and Wake Me Up When September Ends, that stole the show for me.  Killian Cogan gave a very good performance as Tunny, who, with patriotic notions, enlists in the military and loses a leg during the Middle East conflict. (A leg which, incidentally, made an unscheduled appearance when he was first rolled on in a wheelchair!) His relationship with Extraordinary Girl was very well-realized, both in their delightfully choreographed dream-ballet and in their real-life affection for each other.  Mark Shivnan also gave a highly commendable performance. As the apathetic, beer swilling, reluctant father, Will, this is probably the least glamorous of the three central characters, but he played it with depth and understanding.  These three together made a very strong team, both dramatically and musically, where their voice blended most effectively.  Aoibh Tully, as Whatsername, was seductive and passionate, and as good a mover as she was an actress, but it was her vocal tenderness in 21 Guns and a powerful rendition of Letterbomb that were her stand out contributions to the show. A very strongly portrayed character. As Will’s girlfriend, Heather, Eimear Wolohan moved seamlessly from loyal, loved up girlfriend to distraught and deserted mother, and back to a loving and forgiving friend with complete believability and a sincere vocal quality. Nicely played.  Éadaoin Collins, Extraordinary Girl, displayed some extraordinary terpsichorean skill in her ballet with Tunny, as well as delighting with a warm performance and secure vocals.  Eoin Cassidy really crawled under the skin of St. Jimmy, and made my skin crawl, by creating a truly loathsome character, repugnant to the eye and to the senses, and I totally mean that as a compliment. Less successful, on a few occasions, was his tuning, which was a tad erratic, but it did not detract too significantly from a character very well played. Another whose tuning needed tweaked a bit was Cian Hughes as Favourite Son, even though he did cut a fine figure of a man in his role with very secure acting.  Abbie Lane played a rather alternative Rock n’ Roll Boyfriend with unrestrained relish, good vocals and, not surprisingly, given her role as Dance Captain, excellent dance ability. There were several soloists who all made a strong contribution to the show, whether as individuals or as members of the ensemble.  The atmosphere of inclusiveness that pervaded this entire production was encapsulated in the seated, picture-postcard company performance of “The Time of Your Life” at the very end of the show. It was beautiful. They certainly all seemed to be having the time of their lives, and so did we, the most appreciative audience. Dare I say that you did enough to almost turn this cynic into a Green Day fan? Yes, I dare. Thank you to all concerned for a quite excellent experience.  Peter Kennedy Gilbert Adjudicator 2023 / 2024

Hunchback of Notre Dame as Presented by Boyle Musical Society

BOYLE MUSICAL SOCIETY – THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME 22ND NOVEMBER TO 25TH NOVEMBER 2023, ST JOSEPHS HALL BOYLE Adjudication performance...

BOYLE MUSICAL SOCIETY – THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME 22ND NOVEMBER TO 25TH NOVEMBER 2023, ST JOSEPHS HALL BOYLE Adjudication performance  23rd November 2023  Someday…. when we are wiser, when the world's older, when we have learned……I pray, someday we may yet live to live, and let live………… The beautiful lyrics of one of the strongest numbers of this lovely show from Boyle Musical Society are still in my mind as I write this Adjudication. And in this world we live in, how many of us struggle for acceptance, to believe that there is always hope, and to always have the faith and courage to believe in those dreams.  The Director for this show is Ms Vivienne Moran. Ms Moran is also this Society’s Choreographer no mean feat, but this duo of responsibilities worked very well with Ms Moran at the helm. This was a lovely well directed production with wonderful attention to detail throughout. With a great set that I’ll mention later, super lighting and of course the cast. This cast has a beautiful sound, so melodic, gorgeous harmonies and magnificent energy that flew off the stage and into the audience. Vibrant and with huge energy and passion. Lovely start. I loved the attention to detail in every area, “Sanctuary”, “Topsy Turvy”, were particularly well done. In the beginning of the show my first tiny distraction was that the “baby” (Quasimodo) which Dom Claude Frollo was asked to care for by his dying brother was far too small and did take away from the scene slightly, however this is just a small prop issue, but it was distracting for those few seconds of the show. I will add that the sound effects of the baby crying in comparison were excellently done. The direction in particular for Quasimodo played by Oisin Dowling was brilliant. Every aspect of Mr Dowling’s character oozed attention to the minutest detail. Ms Moran showed great direction in this show with her flair for perfect symmetry, beautiful “pictures” for each scene particularly in the Ensemble settings and an exquisite attention to detail throughout the show in this whole area of Direction. As a director you have a great skill and a great eye for detail. Ms Moran’s vision as Director gelled this show together and you did a great job. Well done. The Choreography in this show was slick and very well done. I really liked the way when the full cast were on stage and where space was confined the movements were simple and not a limb out of place. “Topsy Turvy” was so lively, and full of energy and was a highlight. The movement here was beautiful. Again, with a large number on stage the dancing and graceful movements of the dancers in this fabulous number in every way, was one of the strongest choreographed numbers in this lovely show. “Court of Miracles” was so softly moved as the chorus moved around slowly in a circle as Clopin Trouillefou played by Jason Kenny sang. Clever use also of the stage here with Quasimodo and some of the Chorus subtly moving on to a lower ledge of the stage just above the Orchestra for some of this number. This gave the ensemble more space and although the movements were slow and not overshadowing Clopin, these movements created lovely levels again and lovely movement by all in this number. The dance with the Chorus in “The Rhythm of The Tambourine” was so very good. Beautiful visuals in the Choreography here. Ms Moran congratulations, you enhanced the show greatly with your team and your talent. Well done. The Musical Director was Ms Anne Kielty. There are 42 numbers in this massive musical – not an easy job to get it right but Ms Kielty most certainly did. You were a constant at the front of the Company in the pit conducting with your beautiful sounding Orchestra. You, Ms Kielty, were the shows Captain always there in front of the Cast, and it was marvellous to watch you with your skill and talent, throughout the show with mention to “Someday”, “Rhythm of the Tambourine”, “The Court of Miracles” and “Top of The World” these were really performed. There was lovely emotion throughout this show by the Orchestra, only enhancing the soloists and the Ensemble singing every time – never too loud, always there, but not overpowering.  I must also mention here the great work done by Chorus Assistant Lizi Hannon. Finally, to Ms Kielty, thank you for your time, and congratulations on your role as Musical Director. Stage Management consisted of Enda Commons and Team with Set Design provided by Stage Wright. From the moment the show opened the Set for this production was very good. From the Opening Number “Olim” and followed shortly by the “The Bells of Notre Dame” my jaw dropped when I saw these two massive beautifully painted gorgeous bells drop down from the fly’s and fill the stage. There was a collective intake of breath from the audience as they were lowered from on high so to speak. They were a vision, and so effective, the massive gothic arches backstage and the steps with the huge, large stone effect pillars, the candles lit at the entrance to the arched door of the Cathedral. The Cathedral's steps were like something from The Vatican! And the famous stained-glass window, the one always associated with this show, gleamed brightly above it all. The set was constantly changing, different areas consistently being used, the Rope from the eves that Quasimodo swung in on was brilliant. This full set was so very solid, functional, and secure. For the Stage Management team under the direction of Mr Enda Commons this was a mammoth task to continually work this set throughout the show for the many different musical numbers. Beautiful visuals, a solid set used to its maximum use, and also, I am sure, giving your cast huge confidence in moving about throughout the show such was the structure and its strength, but also giving your audience a continuous beautiful visual of Notre Dame Cathedral which is exactly where this set took us for every second of the show. Congratulations. Lighting Design was by Indigo Lighting, with Lighting Operators Nigel Cleary and Tom Cleary. As already mentioned, the lighting was very effective throughout with some lovely moments where the blues of the lights and the reds created a myriad of colour particularly on the floor of the stage and on the areas such as the stained-glass windows. I very much liked the use of spots. Particularly on Quasimodo and his solos, and when he was on stage with the Chorus, he was always beautifully lit and never once in the shadows. When Esmerelda dies, there was this massive white spotlight on Quasimodo whilst being surrounded by the cast. It was a beautiful scene for the lighting and stood out for me personally. Lighting overall was very effective, very successful, and very well done. Sound was by Vinnie Higgins, with Sound Effects by Brendan McGee. Sound throughout was superb. Only at one stage did I notice at the Finale of Act 2 Mr Clopin Trouillefou (Jason Kenny) microphone did not seem to work for his solo opening lines at the beginning of the number “In a place of Miracles”. A small glitch and was very soon rectified. The sound filled the theatre and created a lovely, enhanced atmosphere for the audience. Costumes were by Thespis Theatrical Costumiers Ltd, and the Costume Co-Ordinator was Ms Tara Kililea. All Costumes were very effective, with mention to The Gypsies Costumes, Frollo’s priestly Archdeacon garments (fabulous) Esmerelda and Quasimodo – which were quite brilliant, and special mention to the costumes of the Choristers, Gargoyles, and the magnificent costume of The King of the Gypsies Mr Clopin Trouillefou played by Jason Kenny. So, eye catching. Costume of the evening and a highlight throughout was Quasimodo’s costume. Quite brilliant in every aspect. The hump, the dark brown rags, the red cloak and the shoes. Well done to Ms Kililea also on coordinating all this. A mammoth task, meticulously and brilliantly done. Props, Makeup and Hair was the responsibility of Anna Robertson (Props), Patricia Regan and Team (Make Up) and Emily McEvoy and Team (Hair). Only one small mention regarding the props and I have already mentioned it above so I will not dwell on it was that the Baby Quasimodo was too small. Now saying that this young, very tiny baby had a very loud and fine set of lungs!! Well done to Mr Brendan McGee on sound effects for that! I particularly liked the Choristers hymn books, and attention to detail in all aspects of the props area. Makeup was excellent throughout with mention of Quasimodo's face makeup – brilliant. This had an amazing effect on his appearance. Even from my own seat his face looked botched, ruptured and with big sore boils all over it yet it was so simply and very cleverly done and very effective. Also, Gargoyle's make up was very well done with wonderful attention to detail. Hair by Emily Macken and Team was very effective, loving the long tresses on the gypsies and Esmerelda. A lovely blend and a lovely balance in all the above areas. The part of Dom Claude Frollo the Archdeacon of Notre Dame Cathedral was played by Mr Darragh Beirne. What a wonderful character Mr Beirne created in this role. You were superb. Your acting, stage presence, and singing were top notch. Mr Beirne has a beautiful strong baritone singing voice, filling the stage with its volume and depth and control and I would have loved to hear you sing more. “Sanctuary” was another highlight of this production. A very strong Frollo, beautifully acted and wonderful casting here for Mr Beirne. A great performance throughout. The part of Quasimodo was played by the young Oisin Dowling. From the moment this young man arrived on stage, swinging back and forth on the cathedral bell ringing rope, he again and again captured the hearts of the audience, and I liked this young man immediately. A wonderful talent. And a lovely stage presence. Mr Dowling is 18 years of age. Vocally this young man has a very good singing voice. “Out There” was beautiful where he yearned for what life would be like outside the Cathedral Walls. This was sung with lovely emotion and feeling and then “Heavens Light” sung so gently and again with great emotion a song telling the world of his love for Esmeralda. A high point of the evening was that I loved this number. It was simply gorgeous. This duet with Esmerelda (played by Natasha Brady) was also lovely, two beautiful voices combined in harmony was a showstopper. I understand Mr Dowling that this is your first lead role, and I hope you continue your journey in Musical Theatre as you have a talent that should not be wasted and put to use. I do hope to see you again in the future in leading roles such as this and I wish you the very best of luck. Well done on gifting to us your audience a magnificent Quasimodo. The part of Clopin Trouillefou, King of The Gypsies, was played by Mr Jason Kenny. What a great part and I get a sneaky feeling you really loved playing this role. You bounced around the stage, full of energy and life and enthusiasm. Great vocals and strong stage presence, you were a great contrast to Frollo as mentioned above in that you brought light and dance and joy to the stage, which really worked well in the overall casting as it emphasised the different emotions and character differences on a stage when the mix is right it is superb. And the mix here was just that. You have a lovely flair to your acting that comes very naturally to you. “Topsy Turvy” was wonderful, full of life and joy. I did mention above the slight loss of sound in your solo part in the finale, however that in no way takes away from your own performance whatsoever. Very well-done Mr Kenny. The part of Phoebus de Martin, the Captain of the Cathedral Guard was played by Mr Sean McGuire. What a lovely singing voice with beautiful control. Very well cast also in this part. A very charming character providing a lovely lightness to the Musical with his love for Esmeralda and indeed his friendship with Quasimodo. “In a Place of Miracles' , your badly injured arm for this scene acted superbly!! You looked great, were perfectly cast and yourself and Esmerelda’s characters worked very well together with lovely feeling and emotions, particularly the scene with Phoebus, Clopin, Esmerelda and Quasimodo surrounded by hanging cloths with choristers in the eaves and arches, again providing lovely depth, was enchanting. “Here we are nearly strangers, from two worlds that have rarely met, but somehow you have made me someone new, travel far on a journey that’s the longest I’ve taken yet, now I’m asking if you can let me come with you”. This duet with Esmerelda following on from the previous scene as mentioned above was tender and soft and lovely and I particularly enjoyed your singing in this song where you really came into your own. Well done. The part of Esmerelda the beautiful and free-spirited gypsy was played by the Ms Natasha Brady. What a gorgeous character this young lady created here and made it her own. From the moment you arrived on stage, you had an energy, and you looked the part! You really did. I’m not saying from Costumes etc which obviously enhance a character, but your whole demeanour portrayed a beautiful young lady, a gypsy, carefree and joyous, loved dancing and your gypsy family and Ms. Brady, you were enchanting as Esmerelda. I can still hear you singing “God Help The Outcasts” it was sung with feeling and emotion.  There were several times during the show where you may be patted the arm of one of your cast members, and in the Finale and it was lovely to see genuine friendship from you that comes naturally to you as I am sure it does off stage also. Really some lovely tender moments. “Rhythm Of the Tambourine”, “In a Place of Miracles”, and especially “Someday” with Phoebus was so lovely a song that I hold close to my own heart, and you did not disappoint in your singing of this number. It was a pleasure to watch you in this role and I do hope there are many more for you. Well done Ms Brady. Saint Aphrodisisu was played by Mr John Reynolds. There is no such thing as a small part. A lovely vocal and “Flight into Egypt” with Quasimodo, Statues, Gargoyles and Choir was well sung. Very assured acting performance and lovely stage presence moving around the stage gracefully and with ease. No stranger to musicals and to drama, a strong role played well. I must and need to mention other smaller yet significant roles in the overall success of this show were Kate Connelly as Florika, Diarmuid Beirne as Jehan Frollo – great part, well done on this Mr Beirne, Skyler O’Flaherty as King Louis XI , King of France, Karen Gordon, Florika’s Ghost, Ash Galway as Madame, Conor White, Frederick Charlus Lieutenant of the Cathedral Guard, Stephen Tighe, - Father Dupin, Cathal Tivnan Official and Officer of the court of King Louis XI. All these parts were a) well cast, and b) superbly executed. Great singing and acting and indeed choreography, all adding up to complete the jigsaw of the show that is your Hunchback of Notre Dame. I applaud each of you. Well done. And last but by no means least two wonderful young men, Tommy Commons and Tom Hannon as the Young Quasimodo’s. Rising stars these two little chaps are. Well done lads!. Chorus. I did feel that in some numbers I did feel that the very high notes were a bit strained and a little tinny, noting one “Bells of Notre Dame” which was the Congregation and Choir I am not too sure if this could have been remedied or improved up as several of the Chorus songs are indeed written for sopranos. The minute I stepped inside the foyer of St Joseph’s Hall it was as if someone had put on some sparkly shoes, and waved a wand, and all the stress of being a few minutes late ( I blame the Google maps !) drifted away in seconds. This was thanks to a very calm and very professional front of house team of Deirdre Purcell, Siobhan Gallagher (my fairy godmother), & Liz Gannon & Team. I was immediately made to feel so very welcome and shown to my seat with some goodies In my own opinion it makes such a difference, when there is a strong Front Of House Team and I have said it before in other shows – until the Curtain goes up – Front Of House is the Cast that the audience initially meet and it is vital that this team work correctly with enthusiasm and empathy, because it really can give a show a good start or a bad start in the eye of the audience member. For you all here it most definitely was a very positive experience and I thank you for that. I sat back (my breathing had returned to normal) and my evening began. And what an evening’s performance this was. I also wish to add my compliments to the Committee of this Society for inviting me backstage at the interval as well as at the end of the show. That is a first! I loved it. It was just such a novelty to meet the production team in front of house, cast, everyone at the interval for a few moments before the second half began and have a chat and a cuppa. You are a wonderful warm welcoming and talented Society, and it seems to me that it continues to grow successfully each year in strength and numbers. I hope you do that. It was a pleasure to be with you on the evening of 23rd November 2023 and my journey home was enhanced greatly having been in the company of your lovely Society and your production of Hunchback of Notre Dame for those few precious and most enjoyable hours. Thank you.   Caroline Daly Jones AIMS Adjudicator 2023 / 2024 Sullivan Some photos kindly provided by the society Photographer: Benny Morgan

Kinky Boots as presented by 9 Arch Musical Society

9 Arch Musical Society Galway KINKY BOOTS – Town Hall Theatre Galway 15th - 18th November 2023 Date of Adjudication: 18th November 2023...

9 Arch Musical Society Galway  KINKY BOOTS – Town Hall Theatre Galway  15th - 18th November 2023 Date of Adjudication: 18 th  November 2023 It was a blustery wet and cold night – so no change in the weather, as I drove to Galway for my first showing of Kinky Boots. And I was looking forward to it so very much. I was greeted so warmly and with some AIMS committee members in attendance our AIMS President Mr Feargal Cavanagh, our Vice President Mr Gerry Sweeney, and the lovely and very charming lady Annette Cavanagh, Chairperson of 9 Arch Musical Society, who were so effusive in their welcome after a long drive it was really so lovely to be a part of this production’s final performance. The atmosphere in this small but iconic Galway theatre was electric. Front of House was supercharged before, at the interval, and at curtain. It was a special evening for you all and I was so glad to be there. Thank you all for such a wonderful welcome. The Director of this production was Mr Alan Greaney, and boy did he put on a treat for us. Visually this show was sassy, sexy, sad, and poignant - boy this had it all. There was great work done here with principal characters in exploring some of the more intimate conversations about the past, present, and indeed the future especially between Lola and Charlie. The chemistry worked and there was a tenderness and honesty in this direction which was beautiful.  As Lola is highly choreographed, I personally loved the tender softly spoken scenes where Lola, Charlie and others opened up, and indeed, changed. It was done so very well. Sets were so very good. A two-level set on Stage Right to depict the office scenes of the shoe factory, but very cleverly done was the various other pull-out sets from under the office. Everything from a bathroom / changing room to a bedroom. Very well thought out and clever in both design and movement and it allowed scenes to flow extremely well. Mr Greaney also brought out some great comedy and the casting throughout was excellent. It was obvious that many hours of intense principal part rehearsal had taken place. Very well done all round. Choreography in this show is of course a huge task. Both for the cast and obviously those who need to choreograph the routines and in Choreographer Jay Molyneux it was absolutely spot on. In fact, I really want to say that routines involving Lola and the Angels were among the best I have ever seen on an amateur stage. They were vibrant, sexy, together, creative without once being over the top in what can sometimes happen with this show. In Lola, and the Angels, I’d happily watch these routines all day such were their accuracy and professionalism. Other scenes involving the ensemble and other principals were also very well done. Charlie in his boots on the catwalk- it is not an easy task to pretend you cannot walk in shoes/heels/boots and especially then to create the falls or trips and I must say it was so very well done even at this level. Bravo Mr Molyneux. A very talented Choreographer. Both your skills and professionalism in working with this show shone brightly. Musical Director and Chorus Master for this lovely production was Mr Shane Farrell. The orchestra were hidden under the stage and unseen from my seat, but they made a fabulous sound. The music was on tempo, slick and of a high standard by the 7-piece orchestra including Mr Farrell himself on Keyboard. The Ensemble numbers and Lola’s scenes with the Angels and in full diva mode were excellent. Also, I must mention that one of my favourite numbers in the whole show was ‘Not my Father’s Son’ and the accompaniment to this beautifully sung duet between Lola and Charlie was just stunning, allowing the audience to fully concentrate on the lyrics and the teary eyes all around the theatre including my own was a testament to you and your Musical Direction Mr Farrell. Beautifully played. You have a rare talent, and you make the most of it and you enhanced the performance from the company greatly. In contrast, when it was time to move, well they did rock, (!) and every single principal and cast member knew exactly what they were doing musically for all numbers. I knew immediately that they were in very safe hands which I always feel allows the cast to express their characters so much easier when not having to worry about music because they have a good Captain / Conductor in front of them. This was the second show of the day and yes, at the beginning I did sense some tiredness but after “Take What You’ve Got” and especially “Land of Lola” the show was well and truly alight. Very well-done Mr Farrell. I have already mentioned the sets in part and again I must say what a cleverly worked set it was throughout this show. Different parts of the stage cleverly used to depict a bedroom, changing room, bathroom, Office, Care home, Milan cat walk, the factory shop floor, a bar, the list goes on.  Credit to both joint stage managers Chontelle Kenny and Jacqlyn Cronin and all their huge team to put all the sterling work of Set Design by Marsha Fleming and Director Alan Greaney to work on stage. It was excellently executed. Credit also must go to Eugene Finnegan who put a lot of thought and effort into set painting. It was in so many places a work of art and not simply a slap of brown paint on a door. Well done. I have mentioned how the under-office set slid on a hinged wheel like a corner drawer of a table, such was its intricacy and it worked so very well. It gave a surprising amount of space as once we the audience knew where we were, the cast did not have to stay tight to it and this worked very well. Props were well thought out with lovely attention to detail. The office, bedroom, were extremely well propped and well done to Marsha Fleming and Ester Stupers. Your attention to detail throughout was not unnoticed. Great job. Lighting design was again by Alan Greaney and Paul Kelly. I did like the lighting especially the big dance routines where the stage was lit so very well, and the dresses and boots literally shimmered. There were some scenes however which could and should have been lit a bit more and were played in a kind of semi darkness and it did at times frustrate me. Most of these scenes were the ensemble acting scenes rather than musical numbers and there were not many, but they still needed to have some light. One simple example is that I only barely made out the Nursing Home Sign and for a moment I had to figure out where she was. Lolas huge number was well spotlit on her - but another little light on the sign backstage left would have looked well. Just a thought. Sound by Fintan Higgins was super all evening. All dialogue and music were clear as a bell and extremely well heard. Microphones were so good for ensemble singing as I couldn’t see any, but I knew they were there. It was a pleasure to listen to the whole performance without any singular issue regarding sound. This can make such a difference to a show. And here in Kinky Boots it was beautiful throughout. Costuming, make up, and hair for this production was simply first class. Obviously, the areas where Jay Molyneux on Makeup design, Annie Naggins as make up artist and costuming by Andrew Reddy and Annette Cavanagh could shine was with Lola and the Angels, however it was super throughout. A vision of drag queen excess, super dresses, OTT make up and those boots ( Oh my God those boots !!!) and figures adorning it all. Simply Stunning, I LOVED it all. Congratulations Charlie Price was played by Niall Caulfield. I really liked Mr Caulfield’s interpretation of Charlie. He was softly spoken especially at first and his frustration at having to take over the family business was evident and well played. A lovely lyrical voice I felt Mr Caulfield took a little while to get into the evening on the night I attended. I do realise that there was a matinee and this is something to always be aware of, however by the time we reached “Take What You Got” with Ensemble and Harry, Mr Caulfield seemed to really hit his stride and he was on his way. The highlight of the performance notwithstanding those beautiful red boots at the end was the duet with Simon was “Not my Father’s Son”. This was simply beautiful, and I congratulate Mr Caulfield on a little piece of magic. Well done. Mr Caulfield’s acting was well played, and I loved his contrast when he finally let his anger shine through towards Simon/Lola. Magnificently done. Lola/Simon was played by Eoin Mullins. Where do I begin. In one sentence, this performance would have brought a standing ovation at the busiest West End theatre as well as the most popular drag queen venue in Europe such was the quality of Mr Mullins performance. I was simply blown away. SO many moments, such high-quality dancing and movement but the singing was out of this world. Incredible emotion, passion, drama, sassiness and above all sheer confidence when ever LOLA burst on Stage. In stark contrast to our first encounter with Simon, where his shyness and sadness is all too apparent, which leads to that beautiful duet with Charlie which as I mentioned above was stunning. But then Lola appears and Mr Mullins changes completely. A metamorphosis. A tour de force, a Diva in all respects. Lola looked superb in costume. She shone and together with her adoring Angels every number was an experience of fabulous theatre. Mr Mullins’ voice is simply incredible both as Simon and Lola. His command over his breathing at higher register is equally superb whether belting out “Land Of Lola” or emotionally duetting as Simon in “Not my Father’s Son” I was in awe of this performance. Mr Mullins was always totally in character and even when a little wardrobe malfunction happened onstage which was fixed mid routine by one of the Angels, she turned around and said Thank you, exactly as you would onstage in performance mode. Just Brilliant. It was as if it was choreographed! You were magnificent. I also loved the second act Simon. Slowly turning some of the ‘rougher’ lads to why he was whom he was and showing that yes it was OK. His (Simon) moments with Don played by Jay Hall were very moving. Hard to watch in parts as you realise the reality so many faces, but then the changing of hearts and minds towards the end was so well played. I really could go on, but very simply put Mr Mullins, you were incredible as both Simon and most especially as Lola. I will never forget your performance. BRAVO! The part of Nicola was played by Stephanie Neylon and although not a large part Ms Neylon gave a commendable performance as Charlie’s fiancée. I was so glad that Charlie saw through her plan and that was due to Ms Neylons characterisation. I’m sure that with more stage principal role experience we will see more of Ms Neylon in the future. Lauren was played by Jessica McDonagh. I loved her character. A comedic actress of high standard. Ms McDonagh’s timing and facial expressions were priceless. The History of Wrong guys was performed so well with a beautiful voice. I’d love to see much more of Ms McDonagh and I am very sure I will. Well Done. Don was played by Jay Hall and to quote from his bio – he was the Gruff antithesis to the fabulous Lola and boy he did it so well. I loved your changing attitudes as the show progressed. It is not easy to portray this sometimes, but you did it so very well. The Boxing choreography was excellent, and you showed that you knew Simon had let you win. We have a very fine actor here in Mr Hall and this part suited him to a tee. He had his fans among the workers too and Mr Hall’s chemistry with his ensemble cast was very evident and well rehearsed. A great performance. There are a few smaller parts in the show – some recurring throughout so I’ll mention them now as there’s no such thing as a small part. Pat was played by Roisin Nic Aodhgain. Again, a great actress here and in the ensemble songs with the other workers Roisin was super. A great melodic voice but great acting especially in reactions and interaction with Charlie and Lola/Simon. Sex is in the Heel was memorable -a great number and I really enjoyed your performance throughout. George played by David Alexander is the loyal employee of the original Mr Price and a sounding board and source of wisdom and support for Charlie. I loved the timber of Mr Alexanders voice. It had an air of authority even though we knew he was a long-time employee of Mr Price and now had to fulfil the same role for his much younger son. A lovely strong assured performer and a great performance. Well done. Mr Price was played by Michael Hurley. I immediately knew that we were in the presence of a musical and drama stalwart with decades of experience such was the quality and assuredness of his portrayal of Charlies Father, Mr Price. The opening number “The most Beautiful thing” was indeed just that. Beautiful. Soft, emotional and you just knew that he was coming to the twilight of his days – his job done. Only one wish remained- that Charlie takes over. Well done Mr Hurley. You were on but a short while, but you instilled memories of my own, which were a testament to your performance, Thank you. Harry was played by Mervyn Fahy, and I must say thank you to Mr Fahy because on the evening after the matinee it was his number with Charlie and the ensemble “Take What you Got” that got the show on the right foot so to speak for the rest of the evening. I just loved your performance throughout. Well done Mr Fahy beautiful casting and acting in this role. Other smaller roles were played very well by Saoirse McCarthy as Milan Stage Manager, Akshay Prakash as Richard Bailey Niamh McSweeney as Trish and Orla Doherty as the Boxing Compere. Well done to you all. Special mention must be given to Young Charlie Conor Forde and Young Simon Matthew Drysdale. I’m sure and I hope that these young chaps keep performing and treading the boards and your singing acting and dancing in ‘The most beautiful thing ‘was magical. Congratulations boys. Finally, and yes, I am including them under principal cast because for me they were sensational – LOLA’S ANGELS. OMG, you were out of this world. The costumes, movement, choreography and all-round support to Lola was simply amazing. I am in awe of all of you. Your hair, make up, costumes, sexiness, naughtiness, teasing all of us lucky to be in the theatre. It was a joy to watch you all. Caroline Greaney, David Booth, Katie Bebbington, Leigh Greally, Ollie Cronin, Orla Doherty, Ruth Walsh, Siobhan Flanagan and Tanya O’Brien Reid. Take a bow and I wish I could have been a fly on the wall at your after-show party 😊 To those whom I haven’t mentioned above who were in the Chorus ensemble – you were so very good. The togetherness and camaraderie and quality of your acting, singing inter character reactions was excellent. The glue that knitted the principals together well it was Super Glue.  Congratulations to you all. This show was a powerhouse musical performance. I want to congratulate the whole company for a truly fabulous show. It was kinky, it was sassy, it had sheer brilliant performances, great music, fabulous choreography, great Direction and Musical Direction and a great cast. Well done 9 Arch MS. I loved your show. Caroline Daly Jones, Sullivan Adjudicator 2023/24 Some photos kindly provided by the society. Photographer : Denis Cavanagh

Into the Woods as Presented by Sligo Fun Company

SLIGO FUN COMPANY “INTO THE WOODS”. Wednesday 8th November – Saturday 11th November 2023 HAWK’S WELL THEATRE SLIGO Date of Adjudicated...

SLIGO FUN COMPANY  “INTO THE WOODS”. Wednesday 8th November – Saturday 11th November 2023 HAWK’S WELL THEATRE SLIGO Date of Adjudicated Performance : Wednesday 8th November 2023 “BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR”. The rain was belting down on the evening I arrived at the Hawk's Well Theatre in Sligo. Things just seemed a little haphazard from an organisational point of view from Front of House. There was a distinct lack of organisation, bodies and structure. It was after all Opening Night after a few tumultuous days beforehand. Upon my arrival there seemed to be some confusion, a lot of people milling around but very few, if any, of a front of house team which I thought was quite strange especially on an Opening Night. Ms Kerry Golding came to the rescue when she arrived shortly afterwards and looked after me with programmes and my tickets. I must mention here that from my seat in the auditorium it was difficult to see the full stage, and it was a pity I did not have anyone to ask to change my seat before the opening number. Just for future reference the seat is important and if viewing is restricted in any way it can be an issue for an adjudicator. I will add that the theatre was really lovely and warm, and a great cosy feel tonight especially given the dreadful conditions outside on my journey up. Mary McDonagh was both Director and Choreographer for this production- two very substantial areas of responsibility and in my opinion not an easy thing to do. In this production of Into the Woods, Choreography is not a huge undertaking and for Ms McDonagh therefore with this production it worked. This show had its own problems before the show opening with the Baker unable to perform and a replacement needed to be found very quickly. This must have been a terrible worry and not an easy situation to remedy. Ms McDonagh showed good Direction skills with the cast. Sometimes I did feel that the set, which was mostly the same for the full production, slowed the show down, even though visually it was a treat. Movement was sometimes quite stilted with one or two of the characters. Direction overall was good, and visually it was a treat. In a few instances, people stepped out of character before they exited the stage which sometimes broke the atmosphere. Just a small note but important in the overall story and audience perception and continuation. Although not a big element of the production, choreography where needed was simple yet effective and generally well done. To get the full company used to a brand-new Baker literally a week or so before opening night and direct those scenes was a huge success. One that I imagine gave Ms McDonagh a sleepless night or two. So very well done. Musical Director for the show was Ms Niamh Crowley. This was a wonderful Orchestra, with Ms Crowley herself on Piano, Violins were Leo Tarrant, and Leah Higgins, Viola Conor Cannon, Cello Conor Flynn, Flute Lorraine Howley, Clarinet / Flute Roisin Fitzpatrick, Trumpet / Horn Martin Moser and Percussion Desi Reynolds. This was a lovely group of excellent musicians who worked well as a team and under the excellent Musical Direction of Ms Crowley. The Orchestra greatly enhanced this show, and I looked forward to each musical number throughout the evening. Flawless. Well done. The Set was excellent, colours, images, and various items draped to create dimensions worked very well. Set Dressing was the responsibility of Kate McDonagh. I liked the set. I loved the colours used and the depth you created on the stage with the set where three or more stories took place in each corner of the stage. However, it was easy to see that a lot of time and effort was put into creating this magical setting and its lovely attention to detail, and although the set does not change dramatically throughout the show the vision you created here for your audience was very pretty and functional for the cast. Lighting Design was good. I would have liked to see a few more spots on people on stage when they were speaking / acting as there was so much happening on stage all the time. Sometimes the person speaking or singing was lost in some darkness. I had to look for the character as there was no direct light on them. Otherwise, lighting overall was simple but worked well. Sound Design by Alan Dunne was superb. There were no glitches – except for maybe one or two characters who may have been amplified a little more –but otherwise this production had very good sound. I specifically wish to mention Props by Mary Phillips, and Angela Maguire. First and foremost, that cow was brilliant. It really was. It was so life-like, and I loved the way it was moved around the stage effortlessly. It looked wonderful and probably one of the best props I have seen in my role as Adjudicator so far. Also, Little Red’s basket, The Witch’s broom, so many little touches with excellent attention to detail. I love subtle attention to detail, and this was excellent in all areas of this show particularly in props. Well done ladies. WIGS by Ali Murphy and Costumes by Mary Finan- I must also mention as both areas were of a very high standard. Cinderella's’ sisters’ wigs and costumes were so eye catching and dramatic - and perfect! I wish I’d seen more of them! Also, the Witch’s grey mad wig and costume, along with those of the Rapunzel were highlights I must single out and mention. These two young ladies Ms Murphy and Ms Finan are truly gifted in their respective roles and both these areas were of such high standard throughout the whole show. I applaud you. Well done. The Baker was played by Michael Lovette. He was a great character and a lovely stage presence. I was also very conscious as mentioned above that this young gentleman having stepped into the role at the last minute may indeed be a little nervous or possibly even a script in his hand. Nothing of the sort. He was a highlight of the evening for me. I loved his character and his rapport with Sarah Dufficy (The Bakers Wife) and his wonderful facial expression. His song, “Maybe They’re Magic” Reprise was a lovely scene and solo. Mr. Lovette moved beautifully around the stage and really did a lovely job in this role. He was funny, witty, serious and had good comedic timing. Overall, a very good performance. Well done. One hell of a job in a couple of days rehearsal and I was also there on opening night. You moved effortlessly around the stage, didn’t miss a word or a move –and I applaud you for doing so well and stepping into the brink for the Society at the last minute. The Bakers Wife was played by Sarah Dufficy. What a lovely stage presence and voice this lady has. In a small number of instances, I felt she was a little timid, and sometimes I felt that her voice was drowned out by the band. It was difficult to hear her clearly in parts and maybe her microphone could have been louder.  I really would have liked to hear her in full voice as this young lady’s voice itself is very sweet sounding and she looked great on stage, particularly in all the scenes with The Baker. These two are very good together on stage. “Moments in the Woods” was sung with a lovely tone and a nice quality. And “The Spell is On My House” with the Baker was a lovely number.! "It Takes Two” was performed so well. You had great clarity when speaking and the costume and accent was marvellous. Opening night sound levels apart, well done! Sinead Conway played the part of “The Witch”. This young lady had a gorgeous voice and played the part of The Witch so well. Great comedy in parts and excellent timing. Clear, concise and confident are the adjectives I would use to describe Ms Conway in this role with a beautiful singing voice. Maybe you had played this part before or indeed it is the first time playing what could possibly be a dream role for you. Either way you were a joy to watch on stage in both your acting and singing and had a great connection with the other main characters. Ms Conway’s costume and make up were absolutely superb. “Last Midnight” in Act 2 was a lovely dramatic number and again sung beautifully. “Stay with Me” sung to Rapunzel was haunting and melodic yet full of fear of losing Rapunzel and realising some day she would have to let her leave. Well done Ms Conway on a strong assured and lovely performance. At this point I must mention the wonderful Narrator for the show played by Orla McSharry. A clear concise and well-spoken Narrator for the whole show and when on stage relayed the story beautifully. Your black bling costume was gorgeous, dressy and so in keeping with the role you were playing – sharp, unobtrusive, but vital. Well done. I enjoyed every single moment of your stage presence without a flaw. Beautifully played. The part of Cinderella was played by the lovely Fiona Hiney. This young lady had a lovely voice, looked great and played the part beautifully. “Cinderella at the Grave” sung by Ms Hiney and Cinderella's Mother played by Kerry Golding was a lovely number. These two young ladies worked very well together and a really nice combination musically. Little Red was played by Eva Delany. A glorious character. A vision in her costume, fabulous movement on stage, a very believable character who looked great sang well and was a joy to watch and listen to each time she appeared. Gorgeous voice. “No one is alone part 1 Finale, with Cinderella and No one is alone part 2, with Cinderella, the Baker, Little Red Riding hood and Jack was one of the strongest numbers of the show. Rapunzel played by Niamh Keavney is a very sheltered young lady locked away in her tower overprotected and alone. “Our Little World” sung with the Witch and it’s a sad song as it portrays the fact that Rapunzel wonders what is outside in the world if she leaves her tower. I loved Rapunzel’s long blonde tresses. Ms Keavney has a lovely singing voice and played the part admirably. Anthony Kelly and Graham Kelly, you were just gas! I looked forward to each time you flamboyantly “arrived” on stage with fun, devilment, comedy and perfect timing. You are a match made in heaven on stage together. Everything you both did, with your dialogue, movements, acting, facial expressions was the result of just pure genuine fun and excellent timing Bravo! You were the highlight of my evening every single time you “burst forth”! and “landed” on stage. Superb casting and superb performances. Bravo! There were a lot of “Mammies” in this production who all played their parts beautifully. Siobhan Terry as The Stepmother, Angela McGuire as Jack's Mother, Kerry Golding as Cinderella's Mother, Mhairi Gaine as Little Red’s Granny, all cast very well. Each character was so different and yet all had a crucial role to play in the knitting together of the show. Again, the costumes were amazing. Each one of you take a bow. You were all such a strong link overall in this production and I commend you all for characters perfectly played. Cinderella's Father played Fintan Whelan was a lovely character adoring his daughter and beautifully played. There is no such thing as a small part. You showed great empathy and contrast to the rest of your family here with nothing but love for your daughter Cinderella. A lovely part played with great empathy. Mr Whelan was also Production Associate with this Society. Well done. The Mysterious Man was played by Darren Kerr, a lovely rapport with The Baker and a nice stage presence. Well done. The Steward played by Peter Kenny was a lovely part. Lovely stage presence and good acting here from both these actors. Florinda was played by Nicole Kelly and Lucinda by Teri Brennan. Girls, you were superb. Over dramatic, beautiful costumes and wigs and again, just oh so dramatic! Loved your characters, your movements, your stagecraft and your talent. I get the feeling you enjoyed playing these two roles and rightly so! Wonderfully played. Well done! Jack on this evening was played by Luke Devaney. What a wonderful actor, with an awesome stage presence. You played this part so well. Your song “I guess this is goodbye” “Giants in the Sky” is another highlight. I loved your character and what you made of it; you moved that glorious prop the cow so well around that stage it appeared real! What a beautiful Jack you were. You acted and sang this role superbly and I enjoyed every second. Well Done Mr Devaney. Be very proud of the Jack you brought to life. A lovely performance. The Chorus sang very well and as an ensemble you did have this sense of camaraderie and given the events you had gone through as a company within days of opening, I applaud each and every one of you. Well Done In the words of your Artistic Director, Sligo Fun Company was founded on the basis that this group would provide opportunities for people from all ages and backgrounds to become involved in theatre. It is clear to me that this company works as a team and has been a team for quite some time. Having met one or two of you I can see your passion and your love for this Company. I am very aware of a number of things that happened before your run and The Baker, played by Mr Lovette stepping in at the last minute to fulfil this role, with me there on opening night, was nothing short of miraculous. I congratulate you for that because that is one major achievement and well done to each of you for bringing this show to stage. A show I really enjoyed with a very receptive audience, and I really do wish you all well in your futures. You have a Society to be proud of and I hope that continues to be the case for many years to come. I wish you all the very best. Well done. And Thank You. Caroline Daly Jones, Sullivan Adjudicator 2023/24
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