Muse Productions certainly like to take on a challenge and over the years have treated Shannon audiences to some real treats including Man of La Mancha last year, Alone It Stands and Waiting for Godot.
On this occasion, with Bouncers and Shakers, Muse returned to the roots of local theatre, Wolfe Tones GAA Club, with Bouncers and Shakers, two one-act plays stereotyping British drinking culture during the Thatcherite years.
On the way into the club, audience members were met at the door by the cast of Bouncers, sizing everyone up and making smart remarks as they set the scene for later on.
The two one-hour specials were written by John Godber with Bouncers now going on 30 years. Its wide-boy characters are still be seen, typically in the pubs and clubs of northern England where the play was set.
The four local actors did well with the accents, from very posh to normal chav, and the fast-paced dialogue as the Bouncers keenly observed the comings and goings in their nightclub.
The play began with the Bouncers Rap to get feet tapping in expectation before taking the audience on a tour of a drunken night out. Aodan Fox looked the part and carried off his character with the usual aplomb.
Mind you there was a noticeable awkwardness among the audience with some of the sexist and lewd expressions employed by Lucky Eric and his macho team, particularly as they look forward to putting on a blue movie at the end of their shift.
The second offering Shakers was also by Godber co-written with his wife Jane Thornton and, in many ways, is a female version of Bouncers.
Set in a trendy cocktail bar in the north of England during the yuppie era of the 1980s with an all-female cast, Shakers tells the story of the lives and aspirations of four waitresses with some poignant social commentary.
Just as in Bouncers, the cast of Anna Maria Barrett, Sarah Griffin, Lauren Dunne and Tara Monaghan were impressive in portraying various characters, both female and male, with their different accents and dialects as they zipped through the very fast-paced humour with expert timing.
In the play, the more educated Carol tried to convince the others to make something of their lives. Adele had a sad story to tell of an illicit affair with a teacher at 16. Nicky, played by Tara Monaghan, was an aspiring actress who stood behind the bar listening to the clientèle.
Tara is an exciting new prospect for Muse, the young actress surely meriting a bigger stage given her very assured performance in this production.
Production of Bouncers and Shakers was a brave choice by director Ted Germaine. While not to everyone’s taste, these were two challenging and provocative pieces of theatre hopefully, the first of many more to be staged in Wolfe Tones.
Running Thursday 16th – Sat 18th in the newly refurbished GAA Pavilion, don’t miss these two wonderful comedies with a cast of new and more experienced faces. Join the Bouncers, the Cocktail Shakers, their customers, barbers, hairdressers, some rugger huggers, some punks and many other inhabitants of a night out in 80’s north of England. Maybe even the cast of a blue movie… Hilarious comedy with some adult humour and situations, so parental discretion is advised! All tickets €10, available on the door, or booking on 087 4543160
Muse Productions will be holding a Launch Night in The Shannon Springs on Thursday night Oct 26th at 7pm to launch our November productions “Bouncers” and “Shakers” which will be performed in the newly refurbished GAA Pavilion from November 16th to 18th. All are welcome, particularly anyone interested in getting involved on or offstage. We always need crew and Front of house personnel in addition to actors. Hope to see you there!
Muse will be holding an open reading next Tuesday Sept 5th for two Plays. Bouncers and Shakers are two four handers, the first having four guys who play the bouncers and other characters outside a club, the second having four girls playing cocktail waitresses and their customers. These are two strong comedy pieces with scope for improvisation. Great experience and fun for any actors looking to stretch themselves. The performers will get an opportunity to experiment in a workshop environment and develop multiple characters throughout the rehearsal period. The plays are planned for November performance, date TBA. For more info, please private message on our Facebook Page.
Members of Shannon drama group Muse Productions were delighted to return from a recent weekend in Killarney at the National AIMS Awards 2017 with two wins from a possible three!
Chris Willetts was acclaimed the Best Actor for his starring role as Cervantes-Don Quixote while Kathleen Browne’s front of house team won Best House Management.
Jessica Bray just missed out on an award when she came second in the Best Female Singer category for her role as Aldonza.
On behalf of Muse, Martin McNelis congratulated all the prize winners and thanked their sponsors, in particular the Shannon Springs Hotel.
In recognition of this support, Muse Productions presented Dermot Kelly of the Shannon Springs Hotel with two framed photos of the cast, in costume on stage and celebrating their win in Killarney.
Man of La Mancha has put the spotlight on Shannon theatrical company Muse Productions after receiving three nominations for awards in separate categories by AIMS, the Association of Irish Musical Societies.
Chris Willetts, who played the lead role of Miguel de Cervantes/Don Quixote, has been nominated in the Best Actor category for the central role of a role he performed to great acclaim by all who attended last November’s production. A member of Shannon Musical Society for many years, Chris has also performed with several theatrical groups in Limerick and has been with Muse Productions since its inception in 2011.
Also nominated in the Best Female Singer category is Jessica Bray for her role as Aldonza/Dulcinea. A Limerick native, Jessica has been involved with both the Limerick musical societies and Shannon Musical Society over the past few years. Man of La Mancha was her first involvement with Muse Productions.
Last, but by no means least, Kathleen Browne is nominated in the Best House Management category. Kathleen and her team look set on achieving the double as she has also been nominated for Shannon Musical Society in the same category for their recent production of “9 to 5”.
Muse Productions is especially delighted for its founder member Martin McNelis who directed the production. While he has directed several plays for Muse and Icarus, this was Martin’s first foray into directing a musical. National recognition for his first musical is a wonderful achievement.
The AIMS awards ceremony takes place at the INEC Killarney on June 17th. A glittering affair, attended by over 1,000 members from all across Ireland, it is often referred to as the AIMS Oscars!
Muse Productions wishes all its nominees, and those from neighbouring societies, every success in the awards ceremony. The company is currently planning its next production and returns to the stage in the autumn.
Muse Productions return to the stage in St Patrick’s Comprehensive from November 3rd–5th with one of their most ambitions projects to date, Man of La Mancha.
Martin McNelis, founder of Muse and an award winning actor in his own right, will debut as musical director. The original production of Man of La Mancha won five Tony Awards and has been revived four times on Broadway, becoming one of the most enduring works of musical theatre.
Written by Dale Wasserman, it is inspired by the Spanish classic, Don Quixote of La Mancha, the story of one man’s quest for idealism while tilting at windmills and dreaming ‘The Impossible Dream’.
It’s the story of the knight, Don Quixote, as a play within a play, performed by the writer Miguel de Cervantes and other prisoners held by the Spanish Inquisition.
Chris Willetts stars as Don Quixote with Brian Roche as his man-servant Sancho Panza, the cast also includes Eoghan Rice, Mikey O’Gorman, Eoin Sheedy, Jessica Bray, Clare McNelis, Gary Loughnane, Tony Little and Noel Murphy, names familiar from previous Muse and Shannon Musical Society productions.
Stage design is by Martin McNelis, lighting by Diarmaid O’Loughlin, costumes by Clare McNelis and sound by Star Systems. The set is expertly constructed by Frank Boland and team.
Man of La Mancha takes place in a dungeon cell when Cervantes provides some imaginative escapism for his fellow prisoners awaiting a hearing with the Inquisition.
Cervantes presents a play as his defence in a mock trial. In it, he plays Alhonso Quiana, a man who has set his own reality aside and become Don Quixote De La Mancha. Assisted by Sancho Panza, Quixote tries to avoid his mortal enemy, the Enchanter, and woo the serving wench Aldonza, who he takes to be the lady Dulcinea.
While the production contains some dark moments, McNelis has striven to present the sensitive material in a way that will convey the message that hope and idealism can triumph over cynicism and despair.
Man of La Mancha has been described as a remarkable show and one of the great theatre successes of our time. It is a poignant story of a dying old man whose impossible dream takes over his mind.
Songs such as It’s All the Same, Dulcinea, I’m Only Thinking of Him, The Impossible Dream, I Really Like Him and Little Bird remain in your thoughts well after the performance.
Quixote’s dream is Everyman’s dream. His tilting at windmills is Everyman’s great adventure.