Clonmel schools’ ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ a delight

Seamus Moore from Abbey Meadows, Clonmel went to the recent production of the musical Blue Suede Shoes by the students of the High School and Presentation Secondary School and was impressed by what he saw..........

Seamus Moore from Abbey Meadows, Clonmel went to the recent production of the musical Blue Suede Shoes by the students of the High School and Presentation Secondary School and was impressed by what he saw..........

“I had occasion to head down to the White Memorial Theatre in Clonmel to take in the latest blockbuster from that combined Dream Factory of the High School and Presentation Secondary School, Blue Suede Shoes. I took up my seat in the back row (ah, the memories!) with the rest of my family and waited with bated breath for the show.

And what a show. From beginning to end it was a joyous production performed with slick timing, great singing and an energy and exuberance almost always found in youth. We meet the townspeople of ‘Down in the Dumpsville’ (a town Miss Sandra said made her miss Carrick) in the local diner, Sylvia’s, where you can get burgers and shakes, and meet hormonal young men and Honky Tonk Women.

Then enter Chad, the Troubadoring Roustabout with engine trouble (it’s a bit jiggly-wiggly!). Apparently, he has motorbike problems as well. As the women drop like ten-pins, Chad spreads his message of free love and walking on the wild side and the townspeople are transformed. All except for Mayoress Matilda, a battle axe if ever there was one, and her trusty sidekick Sheriff Earl, who are determined to make sure that having fun is banned. But in the end, with the help of the music made famous by Elvis, everybody falls in love with each other, plan to marry and, hopefully, live happily ever after. Even though she wants to take time out to go walk on the wild side, you just know Natalie will end up with Chad, the Divil!

The show was produced by Lisa O’Brien and Keith Greene with tremendous imagination (a full moon can become a bus stop just like that), delivered with aplomb by a cast of leads that were exceptional, and supported by a chorus of young men and women that worked really hard to keep it all gelled together. Scene changes were quick and slick, and continuity flawless.

Of the many highlights, for me the scene between Natalie/Ed and Miss Sandra in the museum stood out, where I hadn’t seen such good use of facial expressions (Natalie) since Phil Cool was in his prime (note to cast: Google him). I also had a snigger as Dean said he was headed for the Stonewall Jackson Military Academy, when his FCA uniform told you otherwise; and you just know that Bus Driver won’t get past Marlfield. But hey, therein lies the fun of shows like this.

And it’s great to go to something like this and come away having learned something new. Thanks to Sheriff Earl, we now know that it’s not just an Irish phenomenon, but a universal truth: men fall in love with women that remind them of their mothers. Way to go, Earl.

The low point? The End, stoopid.

Oh, and just for the record, Moorsey woz brilliant!