8th August 2011.
The Tipperary Star,
What a magnificent theatrical presentation we were given by Phoenix Productions last week.
Their production of “Les Misérables” in the Premier Hall was, to put it mildly, memorable. It surpassed everything they have done before, a marvellous achievement in itself considering how high they had raised the standard of youth musical theatre in recent years. This performance would not be out of place in any of the major theatres in Ireland.
The show is a difficult one to perform for a professional group, never mind a cast of young people, some of whom were appearing on stage for the first time. But Phoenix rose mightily to the challenge and put their own individual stamp on it with such style and panache that we were enthralled and highly entertained from the opening bars to the final curtain. The magnificent set was the first taste of what was to come, capturing as it did all the elements of one of the most successful shows ever created. From there on it was one delight after another. Splendid individual talents married to delightful male and female choruses blended with a first-class orchestra and all combining to do full justice to the score. And there was not a single person on stage over the age of nineteen years. Incredible! And I will forgive them for reminding me of the passage of time, since some of them are the grandchildren of colleagues that I sang and acted with many years ago. But they went to a level of performance that we would only have dreamed about.
It would be invidious to single out any individual element of this marvellous production for praise because it was, from beginning to end, an exceptional example of team work, offstage as well as on. However, it would be remiss not to mention producer Gerard O’Brien, an exceptional man who has devoted so much time and effort into nurturing the many talented young people who renew the essence of the most aptly named Phoenix Productions, year after year. Long may he, and they, continue to encourage and display the remarkable musical and acting talent that abounds in our town.