Treasured Tales and Tunes packs out the Excel

The Simon Ryan Theatre at the Excel Centre echoed to the sound of music on Wednesday 29th February and Thursday 1st March last. It was showtime for the pupils of the Monastery School. After many weeks of practice and preparation, it was time to tread the boards once again. This year’s show was entitled Treasured Tales and Tunes. The theatre was packed to the rafters on both nights with excited and proud parents, grandparents and extended families, all eager to catch a glimpse of their children perform on this wonderful stage.

The Simon Ryan Theatre at the Excel Centre echoed to the sound of music on Wednesday 29th February and Thursday 1st March last. It was showtime for the pupils of the Monastery School. After many weeks of practice and preparation, it was time to tread the boards once again. This year’s show was entitled Treasured Tales and Tunes. The theatre was packed to the rafters on both nights with excited and proud parents, grandparents and extended families, all eager to catch a glimpse of their children perform on this wonderful stage.

As the Monastery has a great history of school bands, stretching back over sixty years, it was deemed appropriate that the proceedings should start with the band, under the direction of Ms. Helen Colbert. We were treated to an American Medley and an unusually titled tune namely Ho-La-Li. This really warmed the audience up for the delights that were to follow.

Next on stage were the 2nd class boys of Mrs. Coughlan and Ms. O Brien, with their well-known tale of “Snow White and the Seven Punks” ( Punks! you might say, but apparently the Seven Dwarfs had lost their jobs, due to the recession and had to emigrate. Not to worry! We are told they are all content with their lot in sunny Australia.) The story itself contains the usual battle between good and evil. Snow White (Adam Franklin) pits her dancing skills against those of the Evil Queen (Jack O Dwyer) at the local disco. She jealously offers Snow-White a poisoned burger. Prince Charming (Patrick Delaney) tries to revive her with a kiss but surprisingly fails to revive her. It is left to Punk Rocker (Mark Ryan) to bring her back to life, with the mother and father of all kisses. And they all lived happily ever after, I hear you say. No! The cops are called and Snow White, Prince Charming and the Punk Rocker Group are all put in jail. The Evil Queen Smirks as she looks into her Talking Video Screen (Jake Bartlett). A surprise ending to a very entertaining show. Maybe the Seven Dwarfs will come to the rescue! Who knows! Congrats to all concerned.

A group of campanologists ( bell-ringers to you and me) then brightened our spirits with a tune called “Daisy Daisy”. It’s not as easy as it looks, so well done to these boys from the Senior Classes.

The boys of Ms. O Brien’s and Ms. Molloy’s 3rd class took the stage next with their adapted version of Frank Baum’s original “The Wizard of Oz.” This well-loved tale saw Dorothy’s grandson, played by Jack English, makes his way to the Land of Oz following in his grandmother’s footsteps. The scene is set with the news that a very bad storm is forecast. Theodore is swept away from Tipperary by the storm, to the magic Land of Oz Here he meets the classic characters in Scarecrow (Eamon Ryan), Tin man (Denis Klimanov) and the cowardly Lion, Keven Rajkowski. The timid Munchins are delighted to hear of the demise of one of the Witches and add great colour to the occasion with their lively dancing and singing. The Guards of the Emerald City, protectors of the Wizard of Oz, do so with great pomp and ceremony. The Wizard makes a number of promises including resources for the Monastery School. A very youthful Mr. O Halloran (Oisín Mc Call) looked delighted with this particular good news. The Tipperary hurlers were thrilled to hear that the MacCarthy Cup would be coming back to Tipperary in 2012. However these promises are dependent on someone getting rid of the Wicked Witch of the West (excellently portrayed by Eoin Kelly). No need to worry though as along comes Theodore and destroys the Witch with, of all things, a water gun. Theodore is then whisked back to Tipperary again and they all lived happily ever after. Will we get the school resources or the McCarthy Cup? Which one would you choose? I wonder. And Jedward appeared out of nowhere, in a little cameo role. Those lads are everywhere at the moment! Didn’t you just love the hairdos!!!!

A short interlude was provided by “Tin- Whistle Trio” Jonathan Ryan, Dylan Farrelly and Jamie Lonergan who entertained with the well-loved traditional piece “Planxty Irwin”.

“Riverdance - Monastery style” kept the momentum going with an eye-catching display of hip-hop modern dance, in competition with a more traditional sean-nós brush dance. The Killinaskully 45 Night takes a dramatic turn, when a group of boisterous teenagers turn up for a dance-off against an opposition who fail to turn up. After a lot of banter and an exchange of good-natured ribbing, the old-stagers decide to take up the dance challenge. The “Monversity” crew of hip-hop dancers enthralled the old-timers with an exhibition of Modern Street dancing. Not to be outdone the old-timers stepped up to the plate and stunned the hip-hop boys with their own brand of Sean-Nós Brush Dancing. This seemed to unite both groups as the dance-off became a dance together, thus saving the judge (Sami Aidi ) having to make a difficult decision. So the sean-nós and the hip-hop crew, ably led by Andrew Richardson and Niall Sharpe respectively, went their separate ways. 45 night in Killinascully will never be the same again!!!

The final item on the programme saw the boys of Mrs. Donovan and Ms. Long’s 6ths Ms. O Meara’s 5th and Mr. Reale’s 4th bring to the stage the much-loved children’s adventure story “Treasure Island”. What a treat it was to see such a large number of boys happily participating in this colourful production. The Hispaniola set sail, crewed by Captain Smollett on a voyage, seeking buried treasure on an island depicted on a map, discovered by Jim Hawkins. (Great performance by Tommy Keating in the role of Jim) So the scene was set for an exciting but dangerous journey to Treasure Island. One of the principal roles was that of legendary villain and rogue Long John Silver, ably played by Tadhg O’Connor. Adam Fowler as Ben Gunn alone on his Desert Island with his impressive accent was most convincing. The sword fight scenes between sailors and pirates were very realistic and dramatic. The arrival of the very glamorous mermaids from their island in the sun brought a sense of colour and humour to the plot. Music and dance featured prominently throughout the show, with memorable tunes like “Cheese and Toast” (Oh! those cute little mice!) and “What shall we do with Long John Silver” (as he was been forced to walk the plank). The lively “Benbow Jig” had the audience clapping and tapping their feet, enjoying these lively villagers. In the end, of course, as you know Long John Silver got away and the Hispaniola arrived safely at Bristol Harbour, laden with gold. A great performance by all concerned! Robert Louis Stevenson would have enjoyed that show, I’m sure.

Well done to everybody involved in all the shows. You certainly provided a wonderful night’s entertainment for a very appreciative audience.