De La Salle College Musical Society were hot, hot, hot, with their exceptional production of the exciting Hot Mikado and brought a very professional style of show to hit the heights for a mostly teenage production in a college gym. You could feel the buzz in the carpark, as the area thronged with young people and their families. I have happy memories of De La Salle shows and I felt young and giddy again as I entered the carpeted auditorium and saw a glorious set, better than many sets I’ve seen in professional theatre. The designer, Paul Barry, has a great eye and understanding of and for musical theatre. There were flags, lanterns, a water feature. The wow factor had begun.
I thought of many young stars of previous college shows but particularly of Fair City star Andrew Macklin (Troy) who shone in 1995s Some Like It Hot and wondered who would be the new star on the block.
A red-clothed and resplendent M.D., Richard Coady, got the orchestra off to a cracking start and what a young and rocking pit on the side. Twenty or so young men filled the stage in glorious costumes and colour and they danced and sang and in their parlance – gave it socks. By the time the girls chorus, led by Roisin Chedgey (whose grandmother was a Banks Tops star), this was the BIZNESS. The finale of act one was awesome and a wonderful tribute to choreographer, Natalie Van de Braam and the director of College’s gold-age of shows, Gary Power. This finale spilled out its exuberance into the auditorium and Paul Browne’s lighting design rock and rolled with beams of excitement and colour.
The second half just got better and better with excellent comedy, fine vocal quartets, snappy duets and a star-burst of a finish. It was high energy all the way.
The principal line up hadn’t a weak link, not a cue missed, not a step slipped, not a glitch and this opening night, before a full-blooded howling for more, audience.
Ray Collins was radiance itself as the funky Mikado and another stellar example of College show quality.
Glenn Murphy, as Nanki-Poo, was debonair, attractive and the complete song and dance star. He just gets better and better. Emer Brazil was a beautiful Yum Yum who charmed the audience, especially in the coy, This Is What I’ll Never Do and the fine Sun And I.
Vicki Sheridan was a wow – a singing acting dancing star as Pitti-Sing. Her work on, For He’s Gonna Marry Yum-Yum and the splendid quartet Swing A Merry Madrigal was a glorious affirmation of the talent of this teenage cast. Jenny Cullen was a vital and vibrant Peep Bo, Sam Keating was the coolest Pish-Tush, a star dude in the show.
Adam Phelan as Ko-Ko was another star quality performer. His antics and comic timing had me in the stitches of laughter and his Tit-Willow was wonderful. Mark O’Keeffe shone with ability in the demanding role of Pooh-Bah and his accents were a treat.
Ann O’Riordan leaves me struggling for superlatives for her Katisha. What a trouper, what a performer. Time and again she held the show and the audience in the palm of her hand with such assuredness and ability. Her, Hour Of Gladness, rocked; her Alone And Yet Alive was sultry and special and her reactive byeplay with Ko-Ko in Tit Willow was magnificent before she rocked the house in a stunning routine Beauty In The Bellow, again with Ko-Ko.
In a time of appalling cut-backs in education, anyone who experienced and enjoyed this production would just know that the Minister for Education is bonkers not to support and encourage the amazing work of these young people in a college with a glorious name and fame for musical and hurling achievements.