Once again, for the third year running, Richie Hayes and the Richie Hayes Stage School served up a wonderful evening of theatre and many many memorable and happy moments.

This year at Garter Lane, Showcase 09 opened an extravaganza from beautiful tots aged four to youths in their early twenties to mellow senior moments from Dick Hayes. Richard O’Neill’s lighting swept the stage and auditorium to great effect and never have I seen the ceiling and gantry area look like a part of the spectacle.

This was more than an end of term night and parents and relations to go Awe and Oh. No siree, this was as showbizzy and as glitzy, as snazzy and as snappy as quality cabaret with drama elements, song and dance, instrumental work and a fantastic luminous example of Japanese bunraku puppetry for Roll Over Beethoven.

Richie Hayes introduced the items, interacted with kids, wowed the audience and did a bit of stage management as well. The organisation was first class with good chaperones for over a hundred children and it all moved on like a dream.

Erica Hayes choreographed and devised the array of talent as the newest member of a Waterford theatrical dynasty like the Corcorans and Grants.

Glen Murphy and the young kids opened the entertainment with a funky Kids Are Doin’ It For Themselves and tots delighted as bumble bees in Honey Honey. Donal O’Flynn shone on Your Song and Evan O’Hanlon was impressive with a Madness song and dance. Kayleigh Quinlan led the Inters into a psychedelic I’m A Believer and Paula Weldon took a happy audience Over The Rainbow. Niamh Fennessy was a find in Annie and Rebecca Mulhall bowled me over with a Morrissey song, Broken Strings.

Megan Cassidy was vivacious in an America/Evita routine with Ciara Kennedy in fine form as a dedicated dancer.

Erica Hayes opened the second half with a shimmering shimmying Sparkling Diamonds routine. One of the highpoints of the show was a UV sequence of Japanese Bunraku Puppetry with bass fiddles, and puppet Violins. Florian Howlett showed his considerable skills to wonderful effect here. This was world class cabaret or cruise material and this Stage School excelled with it.

A sequence from A Chorus Line was excellently costumed with quality work from Megan Cassidy, Ciara Kennedy, India Harvey, James Upton and Glen Murphy.

Dick Hayes was every inch the star and cabaret czar for a Michael Bouble croon and a mellow Impossible Dream. His sister Rose had flown in from London to share this proud family moment and Richie Hayes easied-on-down into a beautiful Me and Mrs. Jones.

An Abba sequence pumped back up the pace with all the huge cast in inventive form. Ciara Kennedy was another wow of the night with a difficult en pointe balletic dance for an Irish scene that had a young traditional band and clattery and soft shoe dancers.

Interspersed throughout the show were fine drama routines and comedy sketches to showcase the excellent drama work the School’s Drama tutor, the vivacious Jenny Clooney, imparts. Glen Murphy, Kate O’Brien, Lynn McElroy, Sarah Glascott and India Harvey had fun with Most Haunted and a revival of Two Grannies, Shannon Stewart and Denise Walsh was a boost with the introduction of Donal O’Flynn and Dale Hutchinson as two libidinous Grandads, in the best possible taste.

James Upton and India Harvey won be over with a quality American drama extract.

The showcase closed on a moving and impressive Joyful Joyful that filled the stage with happiness.