Thursday 14 December 2017

Dark deeds at Shandy Hall to be resurrected at the Opera House

Proceeds from the two performances will go to Macroom's Sullane Haven project for older people

Patrick Bergin delivers a stunning performance as the evil Dr Philip Cross
Patrick Bergin delivers a stunning performance as the evil Dr Philip Cross
Cast members on the atmospheric set of 'Murder at Shandy Hall - The Musical'

Bill Browne

It was described as “one of the most exciting theatrical events ever to be staged in Macroom” - and it did not disappoint.

Last October the Briery Gap broke new ground when hosted the world première of ‘Murder at Shandy Hall’, starring Hollywood leading man Patrick Bergin.

The critically acclaimed show, which played to sell-out audiences at the Riverside Park Hotel and the Cork Opera House, is now set to make a dramatic return to the stage of the iconic Cork City venue later on this month.

Proceeds from the two performances on February 21 and 22, will go towards the Macroom Senior Citizens ‘Sullane Haven Project’ - an initiative that provides an essential range of services to older people living in the area. These include providing daily lunch, meals on wheel, chiropody, ‘care and repair and a laundry service.

Billed as Ireland’s first ever musical mystery murder ‘Shandy Hall’ takes audiences back in time to the year 1887, retelling the story of a scandal that rocked the quiet tranquillity of a Cork village and made headlines across the world.

Bergin plays the lead role of retired Cork-born British army surgeon Dr Philip Cross in the dark and dangerous tale of love, lust betrayal and death in rural Victorian Ireland based on actual events.

The cast of characters would not be out of place in a modern day CSI episode, with a cruel killer cloaked in a veneer of respectability, a beautiful and naïve governess and a blameless wife.

Add to these a brilliant young pathologist, a clever murder detective, two accomplished courtroom adversaries, a caring judge and a notorious hangman and you have the perfect recipe for a tale of scandal and intrigue that will have audiences on the edge of their seats.

After his retirement from the army, Cross, his wife Mary and their children moved back to his ancestral Shandy Hall home in Dripsey.

Following the hiring of Scottish governess Effie Skinner to teach their youngest daughter, Mrs Cross became suspicious that her husband may be harbouring feelings for the 21-year-old and dismissed her.

Rumours begin to surface about the suspicious death of Mary Cross in June 1887, fuelled in no small measure by Dr Cross’ second marriage to Effie Skinner just weeks after Mary’s burial and her return of Shandy Hall as the new governess.

Local RIC inspector Henry Tyacke began in investigation and following an exhumation and post-mortem it emerged that Mary had in fact been poisoned and had not died of typhoid fever as had been initially reported.

The courtroom drama that followed captivated Victorian society and ultimately ended in a date with the hangman for Dr Cross.

Adapted from Michael Sheridan’s best selling book of the same title, with words and lyrics by Alan Kiely and Kevin Connolly and strong cast of actors the musical entertains, engages and horrifies in equal measure.

Tickets from the Cork Opera House on 021 427 0022 priced at €22/25.


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