Monday 5 December 2016

'The Bloody Irish': New musical on 1916 Rising set to take US by storm

Review: A classy, polished, home-grown musical

Sarah-Jane Murphy

Published 21/08/2015 | 13:01

As beginnings go it could hardly have been more poignant.

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A little girl, clad in green, sits centre stage, quietly singing, as the names of the seven condemned leaders of the Easter Rising 1916 are read out in shrill British tones.

Bursts of gunfire followed each pronouncement, and the men fell one by one to the ground, dead but not defeated.

These dramatic scenes formed the opening sequence of 'The Bloody Irish!', a unique musical drama filmed for American TV,  based on the events of the Easter Rising which took place almost 100 years ago in Dublin.

The brand new musical, written by Barry Devlin, produced by Ned O'Hanlon, and directed by Michael Barker Caven and David Downes  was professionally recorded last night in the presence of a live audience at the Helix Theatre, DCU.

This recording will air in October 2015 in the USA, on the Public Broadcasting Service channel, the most watched television station in America.

The stage show will then take to the road on a theatre tour of America in 2016, aimed to coincide with the centenary of the Easter Rising.

After months of preparation and rehearsals, the 23 strong cast took to the stage last night for a highly dramatic and emotive two hour performance.

The production was both slick and sentimental, stirring emotion within the audience, yet moving at a pace that ensured they maintained interest.

The impressive cast list, who combined stunning theatrical performances with recitals of Irish rebel songs, included Lorcan Cranitch, Gavin O’Connor and Ruth McGill.

Lisa Lambe was just one of the cast who provided suitably haunting vocals to add to the air of futility and despair felt by the rebels.

The stand out performer was acclaimed British actor, Malcolm Sinclair, who played the part of the leading military strategist, Sir John Grenfell Maxwell.

His disdain for the Irish rebels, their methods and their beliefs, is best summed up in his oft-used withering description of them as "The Bloody Irish'.

The musical ended on a high, with several members of the crowd becoming visibly moved at the scenes that played out before them.

A classy, polished, home-grown musical.

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