Last night The World Goes 'Round opened at the Lyric Theatre to an audience filled with friends, family, supporters of Blunt Fringe and invited guests. The team behind the show - the wonderful cast, our director Rachel Logan, musical director Nicholas Boyle and the crew led by Clare Donnelly - have worked tirelessly for the past 13 days to create a spectacular production. All the effort paid off as the audience rose up en masse from their seats at the end in probably the fastest standing ovation I have ever witnessed. I had a tear in my eye as I watched these beautiful actor-musicians perform and create such delicious storytelling with their songs and their moves and their energy. But I'm biased of course. So, here are a few comments from stalwarts of the arts world who were there last night to mark our inaugural show:
"Congratulations – an extraordinary level of achievement and talent on display. Every individual seemed capable of performing an entire show by themselves and I include the band. Good luck with the rest of the week and every success with your endeavours". Dan Gordon, Actor and Director
"To all friends in Northern Ireland, this is a must-see production. Fantastic Kander and Ebb numbers brilliantly performed by five actor/musicians supported by a strong piano, bass and drums trio, all of which are seamlessly woven together to produce a brilliant night's entertainment. It's a must for all students of music, drama or music-theatre but, above all, I commend this Lyric Studio Theatre presentation to everyone. It's simply one of the best evening's entertainment I've been to in a long time. Thank you Barry McGonagle for recommending it to us." Chris Tingley, Musical Director
"This is one of the best productions that I have seen here in Belfast. Absolutely brilliant. GO SEE IT1 You'll have a ball!" Syd Ralph, Director
REVIEW, as posted in Belfast Times by Anne Hailes
"What good is sitting alone in your room? Come here the music play. Life is a cabaret old chum, come to the cabaret. Where do you find it? At the Lyric Theatre Belfast where the cast of a new company, Blunt Fringe Productions welcome you to their review, ‘The World Goes Round’.
What a journey they take us on, from cradle to grave, a cast of five professional actors usually working in London shows, on television and in film, captivate the audience. Taking the words and music of Broadways songwriting team of Kander and Ebb, we’re treated to ‘The Happy Time’, ‘Colour Lights’, the joy of ‘Arthur in the Afternoon’ and the sadness of ‘Mr. Cellophane’ from Chicago. Barry McGonagle originally from Belfast sends a chill down the back bone with ‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’ and, of course, there are other favourites including, ‘Maybe This Time’, ‘Money, Money’ and ‘All That Jazz’.
Indeed, this is an evening of cabaret, East Side, West Side, it’s pure New York and the cast, Jenni Bowden, Laura Tebbutt, Lynda Jenkins, Matthew Crowe and Barry work well together, each supporting the other with a look, a flower, a pat on the bottom but most of all musically. A programme note talks of ‘actor-musos’, the actor musician concept developed when money was hard to find, it cut down on the cost of big orchestras and this show is a perfect example of actor musos at work. Every one of the cast is multi-talented playing between them flute, saxophone, accordion, ukulele, cello, trumpet to name a few instruments, plus they are fine actors and they can sing, boy can they sing.
The stage is dark, three raised dais with small lights slung across the front, band off to one side, Mark McGrath, Thomas Alford and Colin Place, with two small round tables on the edge of the stage to complete the night club feeling. Each song tells a story and it’s very effective, at one stage they are all ice skating and you can almost see the ice!
All praise to the producer who got this show off the ground and believed in it.
Although Belfast born Claire Murray is thrilled with the reaction of the audience, by Saturday the sheet music and the props will be put away and the cast will scatter to followup other theatre commitments throughout the UK. But one thing is for sure, ‘The World Goes Round’ will be back, it’s far too good to go into cold storage.
So my advice is – put down the knitting, the book and the broom, time for a holiday, life is a cabaret old chum, please, go to the cabaret."