Wednesday 7 December 2016

Pirate Queen hits the high Cs again

Published 22/02/2010 | 05:00

Sinead Heneghan played Pirate Queen Grace O'Malley in the amateur premiere by Ballinrobe Musical Society.
Sinead Heneghan played Pirate Queen Grace O'Malley in the amateur premiere by Ballinrobe Musical Society.

THE stage show that sank on Broadway has been raised again by an amateur society, this time for an Irish audience.

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'The Pirate Queen' was much-hyped when it hit New York in 2007 -- as it had been created by 'Riverdance' supremos John McColgan and Moya Doherty.

But the swashbuckling tale plunged out of sight after being mauled by critics -- until an unlikely resurrection at the hands of Ballinrobe Musical Society.

And the show's creators -- who proudly watched it open on Broadway only to see it close three months later -- were excited enough to head out to the Mayo town to see their play take on a new lease of life.

Ballinrobe Musical Society chairman Pat McGovern said that staging the amateur world premiere in Co Mayo, the home of pirate heroine Grace O'Malley, had added significance for the 70 performers.

The amateur group turned the formula for a successful stage show on its head by taking the Broadway extravaganza and adapting it to suit a less expansive venue at the local community school.

And with local touches such as more traditional Irish dancing, the amateurs enjoyed a sell-out run which ended at the weekend with McColgan and Doherty turning up to watch.

The musical society pulled off a major coup when they were granted a once-off licence to stage the show.

"It was a very onerous responsibility because we were conscious that we were representing our own history and folklore," said Mr McGovern.

Mr McGovern is convinced that the show is a worthy production despite its unpopularity with critics.

"They (the writers) have made it very clear it's a one-off licence and they retain a very deep love for it," he said.

"I do believe, down the road, it will return to the professional stage."

Irish Independent

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