Ballinrobe Musical Society with the World Amateur Premier of Boubil and Schonberg’s The Pirate Queen created musical theatre history with an amazing stunning production of a big production musical that thrilled me to the core and I felt that I was back at the beginning and ready to experience musical theatre like never before.

This was a breath-taking stormy ride of emotions where an amateur society exceeded expectations by creating onstage a replica ship that swayed either side like a ship at sea and had a mast and sail that actors could clamber up the rigging on. The big chorus and dance numbers resonated with wild energy and exceptional passion. The acting and singing was of a high order and very memorable and at a special place in the show a dead chieftain was put out to sea on a small boat that was set on fire and this blazing symbol was taken down through the centre aisle to create a powerful stunning impact that a professional theatre would be hard pushed to recreate.

I set off for Mayo on an early but chilly spring day with Michael Coady’s translation of Reftery’s The Coming of Spring buoying me up – I’ll never rest easy ‘til I’m landed again in the heart of Mayo.

Would the show fulfil my dreams and I was mindful of the financial collapse it became in Chicago in 2006 and Broadway 2007 when it was produced by the Riverdance/Riverdream duo of John McColgan and Moya Doherty. Yes it had modest success in Tokyo and Osaka in 2009 and 2010 in Japan.

For full review see our print edition.