Where do I begin..forget what you have read or seen in the movie. Angela’s Ashes The Musical is a new retelling of the story. It has heart,it is genuine and it is funny as well as moving.
Based on the memoir by Frank McCourt the musical depicts the highs and lows of living in the 1930s Limerick tenements, poverty stricken and dealing with alcoholism. However interspersed with the tragedy are moments of childhood bliss, memories of Irish dancing lessons, school lessons, the first holy communion and first love. The audience is enamoured from the very first song the hauntingly beautiful Angela’s Ashes title track.
Frank played by Eoin Cannon narrates the struggle of family life with gusto and pride, he dashes behind his fathers tail throughout the first act as young Frank and develops into the strong willed man who wants more in Act Two. Cannon is the driving force of the production and his pace,powerful voice and physicality pull the audience deeper and deeper into the tale.
Marty Maguires Malachy brought a tear to me eye at several points throughout the production. Malachy is the “Northern Man” who struggles to do the right thing. In the film this character is depicted as a despicable human being. In the musical through Maguires depictation we see him more as being an alcoholic who is struggling to get over the deaths of his children, being unemployed and being the outsider in Limerick.
Angela played by Jacinta Whyte is almost highlighted as the scarlet lady with the use of her red costume throughout the production. Her solos and ballads are big and full of emotion. I had my heart in my throat and had to try and hide a few tears while she sang of loss and farewells.( I actually completely lost myself when the talented Clare Barrett sang about a mothers love in her role as the McCourts grandmother, be prepared bring tissues.)
This ensemble cast are constantly moving on the practical but dark and forboding set, they are the poverty stricken neighbours, the school chums, the family, friends and foes of the McCourt family. They bring comic relief and empathy to the tale. All excel but keep an eye out for Billy Heffernan (Shane McDaid), Uncle Pat (David O’Meara) and the fantastic Irish humour which comes out of the mouth of Theresa Carmody played by Brigid Shine.
Overall I cried, I laughed, I cried some more and I was on my feet whooping and cheering for more. Go see it now because next stop I’m sure will be the Westend if not Broadway.
Angelas Ashes runs until 5th August go to http://www.goh.co.uk to grab tickets now.
Emer D xx