A visit to Athlone

This is a really overdue blog post but better late than never. A few weeks ago meself and himself headed to Athlone for a rare night out.

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Jesus Christ Superstar, burgers and the basin

Dublin at Dusk

That’s possibly one of the longest blog titles I’ve ever used! Last week we went to see Jesus Christ Superstar at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin. I saw the Sligo Fun Company perform this show 6 times…so you could say I’m slightly obsessed. To be honest though I was disappointed – the sound in the first half was just too quiet. I could hear people whispering and the girl two seats down didn’t stop eating and rustling papers the whole way through it!

Bord Gais Theatre

Jesus and Mary seemed to be singing very quietly and they were just too ‘clean’ looking. To be honest they reminded me of a shampoo advert! Judas was great, as was Peter. Herod was amusing, not sure about the tassels on his nipples…I’m glad I wasn’t in the front row when he was shaking them – I might have got a tassel in my eye! Judas died too quickly and Jesus died too slowly (if you’ve seen the musical you might know what I’m talking about). There were no moments when the hair stood up on the back of my neck. Rhydian was brilliant as Pontius Pilate and we were delighted to meet him after the show.


We stayed overnight in Dublin in an apartment at the Amberly Guesthouse which was really good for the price. It had two bedrooms and a fully equipped kitchen. I’d definitely stay there again…and we got a free bottle of wine for booking on their website.

Bobos burgers

We had lunch at Bobo’s burgers which was underwhelming. It’s €10 for a burger (thankfully Lucy had vouchers). My burger had a soggy bottom (sounds a bit like me!) and didn’t have much flavour. The dessert was nice though 🙂

Banana Split

I got a chance to do a bit of exploring. I was asking on twitter for places to see and got a whole list of suggestions so I’ll have plenty to look at next time I go up. As it was a nice dry day I headed to the Blessington Basin, as suggested by Eyeblinks on twitter. It’s like a secret garden in the middle of the city.

The basin

Such a pretty place. I’d never heard about it before, it’s well worth checking out.


I also got a chance to take some night shots of the city which I really enjoyed doing. I didn’t have a tripod so I had to lean on the bridge but I think it works.

Dublin rush hour

River Liffey

So that was our brief Dublin visit.  Lucy’s blog about Dublin is here. You can see the rest of my photos here.


Jesus Christ Superstar – Fun Company Sligo

DSCF7388Last night was the opening night of the Fun Company Sligo’s performance of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Hawk’s Well Theatre.  I was delighted to go along and take some photos for my blog…ahead of my ‘proper’ trip to see the show later this week.

IMG_3243The show was amazing, there was a live orchestra providing the music, they and the cast were outstanding.  I’m always delighted to see such talented people in Sligo.  I loved every minute of it and recommend anyone to go and see it. It runs until Sunday.

IMG_3440As usual I took way too many photos.  My thanks again to Canon Ireland for lending me the 100D which is a great camera, I’m very pleased with the results. You can see the rest of my photos here.

IMG_7732IMG_7658 IMG_3071A very well done to the cast and crew and everyone involved in this wonderful production.  I can’t wait to go back and see the show again.


Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds – The New Generation

It was announced at a press conference in London on Friday that there will be a ‘new generation’ of Jeff Wayne’s wonderful musical version of The War of the Worlds. Liam Neeson will take over Richard Burtons role as George Herbert the journalist.

There will be a new double album released in June 2012. The other parts have not yet been announced. Justin Hayward has been the sung thoughts of the journalist since the original album, but I wondering now with Liam Neeson playing the Richard Burton role if he will also sing?….I’ve no idea if Liam Neeson can sing.

Chris Thompson was the original ‘Voice of humanity’ and was in the live shows playing the part. Again though I wondering if this will change? A new generation so maybe a whole new cast?

The other main roles have changed at every tour. Last time Rhydian was Parson Nathaniel and Liz McClarnon played Beth.

Jason Donovan took over the role of the Artillery Man. Alexis James had previously played this part in the live shows. I may be biased but I think Alexis was better.

Liam Neeson will be seen as a full body 3D holograph and it does say on the site he will be leading a new cast…so I’m kind or guessing there will be no Justin or Chris. I will continue to watch the website for further updates. The main page of news is here.

The tour kicks off on November 29th, 2012 in Dublin. There is no mention of a date in Belfast. The tour then starts in the UK on December 1st, 2012. I’m really hoping there won’t be the same travel chaos as there was last year due to the snow. You can see the link to the tour dates here. Tickets go on sale on 21/11/11

Some of the press conference is here:

Update: On March 1st it was announced that Ricky Wilson from the Kaiser Chiefs will play the part of the Artillery Man and Kerry Ellis from the stage show Wicked will play Beth on the tour and also the new album.

Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds, Dublin, Nov. 29th, 2010

Well after a year of waiting (because it was a year ago that the tickets went on sale). The big day finally arrived.

We braved the snow and headed up to Dublin. The show has changed since we saw it last year. There is now a ‘prequel’ starring ‘Vera and William’  (Lily Osbourne and Michael Falzon) who wander around as the audience are taking their seats. They are looking at a map and looking through a telescope towards the sky. Suddenly the lights flash and the wind blows…..which blew leaves and newspapers onto us as we were in the front row.

Then the music begins. There were changes to the cast this year. Justin Hayward returned as the sung thoughts of the journalist and didn’t disappoint. His voice is as strong and melodic as always and Forever Autumn is especially haunting when the leaves start to fall onto us and he is searching for his love Carrie.

The Voice Of Humanity (Chris Thompson) – appears during the battle of Thunder Child with the Martian tripods depicted and sung. The steamer is packed with people trying to flee the Martian invasion. In spite of all on board, including Carrie, reaching the shore safely, the war is lost as the Thunder Child sinks forever and the Earth belongs to the Martians. I felt Chris wasn’t as vocally strong as he was last year which was a shame.

George Herbert, The Journalist (Richard Burton) – the main narrator of the story, who is in his late thirties. He is a character with a strong grip on reality, though his reality becomes one he never thought possible due to the arrival of the Martians. As Richard Burton is no longer with us his head is now a talking hologram, it’s very clever.

The new cast members are: Liz McClarnon who plays Beth the parsons wife, Rhydian Roberts who is Parson Nathaniel and Jason Donovan who is the Artillery Man.

They were all brilliant. I especially enjoyed Rhydian and Liz’s performances. They put their heart and souls into it. Rhydian sounds very similar to Russell Watson who played the part in 2006. Liz looked so distressed as she was singing, like she met every word. The only think I would have changed was Rhydians wig, it did look like a wig. It might have been better if he was to dye his hair for the show.

Jason was also very good except his accent was changing to his normal accent quite a bit and as the Artillery Man is meant to be cockney he sounded a bit odd with an Australian accent. I personally think Alexis James is the perfect artillery man. It’s also very hard to get the Iceland adverts out of my head as I was watching Jason.

The 30 foot martian fighting machine shoots out real heatrays. We could feel the heat where we were and luckily we still have our eyebrows! I screamed like a girl when the flares went off!

There was also a new part of the show when  a man from NASA takes to the stage at the end of the show and notices something not quite right…..are the martians returning???? Then he gets blown to bits! It’s very clever and I’ve no idea how they did it.

Of course the man himself needs a special mention and that is Jeff Wayne, he composed this fantastic show. Along with the orchestra and The Black Smoke band the whole thing comes alive. Sitting so close to the stage we actually felt like we had been invaded by Martians.

We were so lucky to be staying in the same hotel as the cast of the show. So we were able to meet most of them. Herbie Flowers who plays the bass in the band is a really lovely man, we were delighted to meet him. We also met Liz, Jason, Jeff, Rhydian, Chris and some of the band members.

This is such an amazing show if you do get a chance to see it do go along. It’s a night you will never forget. The rest of my photos are here.