In recent weeks audiences were treated to a wonderful annual spectacle courtesy of Athenry Musical Society, who for their fifth anniversary, presented that most English of the classics, My Fair Lady. Based on the writings of our very own George Bernard Shaw, and written and composed by Americans Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Lowe, My Fair Lady is a humorous and amorous tale of the meeting of two distinctly different English cultures. These are brought to life in the common flower girl Eliza Dolittle, and book-learned gentleman Professor Henry Higgins.
The Athenry audience was transported to 1912 London and there they remained through melodic renditions of those famous songs including ‘Wouldn’t it be Loverly’, ‘With a little bit of luck’, ‘Get me to the church on time’, and all the other My Fair Lady classics. The sets and props were very convincing and changed around with ease, transforming the stage into such places as Covent Garden, Tottenham Court Road, Higgins’ Study and of course not to forget Ascot.
And to speak of swift transformation, one minute the cast and chorus were the jovial and boisterous working class of Covent Garden, and with a blink of an eye they were the stiff upper lip prim and proper patrons of Royal Ascot, all costumes and characters perfectly accurate throughout.
The characters of Eliza, Prof. Higgins, and Col. Pickering were played by Caroline Blaine, Pat Naughton, and Philip Magnier respectively. All three gave West End standard performances and Athenry Musical Society is lucky to have them on board. Dolittle, Harry and Jamie were played by Hugh McGrath, Harry Monson, and Owen Diviney, and they were turfed out of the pub by Derek Kennedy, that is until they ‘ad a little bi’ a’ bloomin’ luck, din’ they gov’, at which point they received the royal treatment.
Also with lead roles were Cathriona O’Connell as Mrs Pearce, Anne Zonenblick, Micheal Rogers, Mark Burke, Fr. Ciaran Blake, Anne Scully, Karen Delmer, Mick Cahalan, Lorraine Kelly, Thomas Rohan, Maria Mitchell, and Padraic Mulcahy.
The female chorus were, Aine Parkes, Amie Lawless, Anne Cahill, Ashla Warde, Attracta Hillary, Ciara Kavanagh, Ciara O’Brian, Eimer Seery, Elaine Sugrue, Ester Devally, Geraldine Kelly, Jacinta Jennings, Karen Delmer, Laura Skehill, Laurna McNamara, Lorna O’Regan, Lorraine Kelly, Lydia Ryan, Marie Mitchell, Marina Keating, Mary Burke, Mary Higgins, Mary Melody, Neasa Ni Bhrosnachain, Sarah Murphy, Sheila Coleman, Sinead Quinn, Siobhan McGilIacuddy, Sue Robertshaw, Tara O’Regan and Triona Holland.
The male chorus were Ciaran Blake, Harry Monson, Kevin O’Donoghue, Mick Cahalan, Mick Rogers, Ned Waldron, Owen Diviney, Padraic Mulcahy, Ronan Killeen, Thomas Barrett, Thomas Rohan, and Tim Cummins.
The show was directed by Peter Kennedy and the musical director was Morgan Cooke. Many thanks are due to the catering crew, backstage crew, all support volunteers, the patrons and sponsors of Athenry Musical Society, and most particularly the great Athenry audience.
See you all again next year please God.
Written by Colga Coyle
Published here 19 Oct 2023 and originally published Spring 2004
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