Dungarvan opened its Town Hall Theatre with style, pride and a fine line in memorable nostalgia. Eimear Fahy played the harp at the landing, up a plush staircase and the happy mood of anticipation and a sense of shared achievement. Tom Keith was an exemplary Master of Ceremonies and the Mayor of Dungarvan, Cllr. Damien Geoghan, made a spirited and inspirational opening speech that touched on the old Ton Hall Theatre and its many happy moments as well as being heartfelt and homely.
The celebratory concert was well devised and delighted the capacity audience, who sweltered a bit under the new heating system. To the young entertainers of Cul Cheoil, the local Comhaltas group went the honour of opening the show and they did it in style and Alice Fitzgerald sang and five dancers, baptised the boards with brilliance.
Michael O Faolan told old but gold jokes of the Paddy the Irishman variety and was at home among friends. The Brickey Set Dancers made magic with a Cavan set before Willie White (keyboards) and two ace saxophone players, Des Baumann and Joe Foley made mellow dance music remembering the glorious dances at the old venue, where hops went on until the early morning with alcohol or late-night taxis. My Kind Of Girl was beautiful and Baumann’s take on the Acker Bilk hit, Stranger On The Shore, was memorable. The audience sang along with Save The Last Dance and an Elvis medley.
Lena Walsh (soprano) and Neil Hurley (tenor) added a touch of class to an already classic evening and their duet Bless This House was a joy. Lena stilled the audience with the high soft notes of a stunning Scenes That Are Brightest. Neil led the audience in the anthemic Dungarvan My Hometown and indeed there was a memorable spot in the Deise. Killian McLoughlin accompanied on keyboards.
Declan Terry brought the ancient art of storytelling to life with some short yarns and a spellbinding Sigerson Glifford recitation that was amazing in its lyrical dexterity.
The Dungarvan Dramatic Club closed the concert with three excellent extracts from their forthcoming production, The Whiteheaded Boy. They cleverly showcased the play without introducing the eponymous hero to whet the audience appetite for their production that opens at the venue Monday 7th April.