High-energy dance thrills, heart-warming romance and down-to-earth comedy are on the cards for this full house at The Gordon Craig Theatre: Day 7 of a 42-date UK Tour where lovers of traditional Irish dance, beautiful music and charming stories have gathered for an exhilarating Celtic treat that does not disappoint.
Ireland’s Call, a dramatic reimagining of Prestige Productions’ very successful Essence of Ireland, follows the extraordinary journey of Sean Dempsey, who at the end of World War II leaves behind his beloved Isle and childhood sweetheart Cora in search of a better life in New York. The story is inspired by true events and spans three decades.
The musical combines and links innovative Irish, rock ‘n’ roll and contemporary choreography to its fresh storyline and lush Celtic music. The wooden, candle-lit set design is impressive, yet simple, and the cleverly scattered trussing ‘beacons’ play a mean role in creating backlight ambience, Irish countryside and even the lights of Manhattan. Particular performance and skill plaudits must go to Mike Burr (Sean Dempsey), who leaps and pirouettes as wonderfully as any handsome Lord of the Dance (finale number) should, and to Helena Gullan who steals many a moment throughout with her solo violin and vocals. However, the audience is undoubtedly bowled over by the tour-de-force that is Ged Graham (Narrator) who delivers many a comedy moment, stunning vocals and even some ‘beats and sevens’ to boot.
Even the slightly out-of-place-feeling 60’s rock ‘n’ roll scenes seem to please the audience, but could have been reconsidered. However, the extremely innovative Coming to America sequence, where the audience are treated to a fully uniformed NYPD squad in a high-kicking, Irish street-dance showstopper wins through.
There are some beautiful and memorable musical numbers in this production which will stay with this standing-ovating audience too, with the beautiful I Loved Her First in the wedding scene stealing hearts as well as the show.
Review by Wesley Hughes.
Playing until May 5th 2016 UK Tour Tickets £19-£27 (depending on venue) www.irelandscallthemusical.com – 01275 842800