Friday 19 October 2018

U2 beware -- It's the Joshua Trio musical

It's a U2 musical without any U2 songs.

That's what's what theatre audiences could be lapping up next year at a venue near you.

But The Joshua Trio Story -- A Musical Journey Around U2 isn't the story of Bono & Co, but the adventures of Dublin outfit The Joshua Trio.

Fronted by singer Paul Woodfull, the U2 parody act spent the late 1980s sending up the Irish supergroup and Bono's Messiah complex.

Well now their story is to be told, and it sounds like, well, the story of another famous Irish band.

"It's definitely The Joshua Trio's story. How we started out in Dublin and how the fame and success spiralled out of control. We wrote songs along the way, which were like U2 songs but maybe not as good.

"Basically we were Simple Minds," co-writer Paul Woodfull told me this week.

Formed in 1988 by Woodfull, and Father Ted co-creator Arthur Mathews, The Joshua Trio went from support slots at the Baggot Inn, to appearing on Channel 4's Jonathan Ross Show, touring the UK four times and being interviewed in the NME.

Along the way they signed to U2's record label, and were named by Bono as his favourite band in Rolling Stone magazine.

But the trio's story gets somehow tangled up in U2's in The Joshua Trio Story -- A Musical Journey Around U2 which had it's first reading at The Pavilion Theatre in Dun Laoghaire last week.

The cast includes Ross O'Carroll-Kelly actor Rory Nolan playing Bono; Father Ted star Patrick McDonnell as Trio bassplayer Kieran Woodfull; Arthur Mathews as Trio drummer Arthur Mathews; and Après Match comedian Gary Cooke, as somebody called "middle-aged man", who sounds a little like U2 manager Paul McGuinness.

The story opens with Paul's character seeing U2 playing the Dandelion Market which has the impact of a religious apparition.

However, his conservative father shoots him in the foot, after which the young U2 fan is woken in a Dublin hospital by a Florence Nightingale Lady-of-the-Lamp-type resembling Sinéad O'Connor, who convinces him that he has to spread the word of U2.

No surprise from this plotline, that writers Woodfull and Mathews both worked on hit World Cup musical I, Keano.

Directed by Conall Morrison, we can expect similar success from this U2-themed show, expected to hit the stage next year and currently looking for backers.

One wonders what U2 will make of it?

"What was gas in the 1980s was how quickly and fully U2 embraced The Joshua Trio.

"I suppose they didn't really have much choice though," joked Paul.

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