independent

Tuesday 17 September 2019

Prosper Fingal actors stage 'Wonderland'

Peter Dillon front of stage at the Little Theatre, Skerries, performing ‘Proud Mary’ as Tina Turner. In the background are (L-R) staff member Duane Crean (as Dancer) and Gareth Savage (as Ike Turner)
Peter Dillon front of stage at the Little Theatre, Skerries, performing ‘Proud Mary’ as Tina Turner. In the background are (L-R) staff member Duane Crean (as Dancer) and Gareth Savage (as Ike Turner)

Catherine Reilly

Three magnificent performances of Alice in Wonderland were staged recently at the Little Theatre in Skerries by a stellar cast from Prosper Fingal's Balbriggan and Skerries services.

The production was extra special as this year marks the 40th anniversary of Prosper Fingal, which provides services and supports to approximately 300 adults with an intellectual disability in north county Dublin.

A key device in the narrative was that Alice changed whenever the weather changed.

The role of Alice was brilliantly performed by Clare O'Shea and Tara Casey, each of whom brought great confidence and expressiveness to the stage. 

The play was opened by Enda Fitzpatrick who sang a beautiful rendition of 'Reflection' from the movie Mulan. Later, another spine-tingling vocal performance was delivered by Fiona Loughman, who sang 'Caledonia'. Enda and Fiona pre-recorded their songs at Station Studios, Balbriggan and they sang live with the recordings. 

In the storyline, Alice falls down a rabbit hole and embarks on a journey through a wonderland of assorted characters as she tries to make her way to Prosper Fingal's 40th anniversary party. 

As she continues on her precarious journey, the audience is introduced to, among others, White Rabbit (Evie Dunne), Absolum (Paul Farrell), DJ (Darren Warren), Cheshire Cat (Daire O'Reilly), Mouse (Gillian Coleman), Bear (Tom Fagan), Taxi Man (Simon Duffy), Barbie (Sarah Crowell), Knave of Hearts (Ciaran Drumm), White Witch (Chloe Holmes), March Hare (Sophie Thomas), Dancer/Sister (Megan Guildea) and Entertainer (Nicola Farren). 

Alice reaches the anniversary party but there is ultimately a twist in the tale. As she tries to evade guards set upon her by the Queen (Fiona Savage), she awakens to realise it has all been a dream. 

On opening night, the full ensemble sang 'This is Me' to conclude the performance. 

Peter Dillon, who played Tina Turner, said he enjoyed being on stage and the great reactions from the audience. Raymond Collins, who played Mad Hatter, sang 'I'm Your Man' by Wham and confirmed that George Michael is his favourite singer. Raymond wants to perform again next year, and when asked what production he wished to do, he said 'I like X Factor'.

Norina Savage from Malahide, whose son Gareth Savage put in a great performance as Ike Turner, said:  'It was absolutely brilliant - very entertaining, everyone was given their chance to shine. They seemed so natural up on the stage. It was moving. But it didn't just happen by itself.'

Daniel Brady Byrne played the part of Flower and demonstrated his fine percussion skills. His mother Dolores Brady from Darcystown said: 'I think these shows are just amazing. I find it just very emotional, I really do, because you are so proud and so delighted that they are enjoying it so much.'

Jean Fitzpatrick, mother of singer Enda, also had high praise for the staff. 'When watching the show you can't but feel the excitement, enjoyment, confidence and enthusiasm coming off the guys on stage in waves. They absolutely love it.'

Michelle Conway, Social Care Leader, Prosper Fingal, thanked the cast, staff members and the wider community for all their support.

Fingal Independent

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