Phoenix Productions Bugsy Malone, which ran in The Premier Hall last week, was another outstanding artistic success for the youth musical theatre company and left audiences really buzzing as they departed the famous old auditorium.
Yes, this show represented a changing of the guard for Phoenix Productions with many of the familiar faces which we had grown to know and love so well on stage, no longer featuring. Instead, the group was infused with much new blood and they brought tremendous energy and freshness to the stage - an energy which really jumped out at the audience, especially during those high tempo numbers which were carried off so brilliantly.
Bugsy Malone is a quick witted, slapstick musical comedy and to achieve success with such a production, timing must be spot on. Phoenix had little difficulty in this regard and huge credit must go the lighting and sound plots which also helped to ensure that the focus was appropriately set and all those one liners transported from the stage with ease.
Of course we have come to expect the highest of standards from Phoenix Productions and their excellence was once again in evidence. It is also a case though, that excellence does not just happen - it is made to happen and the many many hours of hard work, rehealsals, learning of the dance moves, the music and of course the dialogue, go unseen, but are essential for any show. In this regard the production team of Gerard O’Brien, David Wray, Mary McDonagh, Eamonn Shanahan, Allan Butler and everyone in the background need to take a well deserved bow. Their fantastic work was there for all to see and they managed to bring an entirely new Phoenix to the same levels of excellence as heretofore.
The set, designed by John O’Donoghue, but managed brilliantly by Allan Butler, was quite impressive while the costuming and hair, make-up etc. helped to catapult the audience back to the era and into the lives of Bugsy, Dandy Dan, Tallulah, Fat Sam, Roxy Robinson,Leroy Smith and Cagey Joe.
It’s quite an achievement to bring so many youths to the stage and Phoenix Productions can be justifiably proud of their achievements. The show deserved better attendances and when one considers how hard everyone worked to stage such a magnificent spectacle, there should certainly be a real sense of pride in and around Thurles that this really challenging show was nailed.
Those on stage have gotten a real taste of musical theatre this summer; they have made lifelong friends; learned stagecraft in all it’s aspects; and have been part of something very special. They will remember the summer of 2014 and the hope is that they will inspire others to take up the mantle as well.
There can be no better advertisment for musical theatre than to see the glowing faces jumping from the stage each and every night. They loved the experience and they treated the audiences to a slice of happiness as well.
The line from Bugsy - ‘We could have been anything that we wanted to be’ - seems apt to conclude on. Phoenix Productions and their members certainly can be anything that they want to be. They have a can-do attitude from the top down - an attitude and outlook which carries from the stage to life as well. No greater tribute can be paid than to suggest that they are helping to shape and mould, not just the thespians of the future, but also the people this country needs to get it back on it’s feet.
Phoenix Productions, and Bugsy Malone, Abu.
Well done and huge congratulations to all.