Once upon a time everyone lived happily ever afterwards. Sounds good? It is good and you can hear more at the Christmas musical at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast.
From the word go, this is a most endearing production, five personable rats and a beautiful girl destined to become a princess – with the help of the personable and inventive rats! This is an example of a Christmas show that looses nothing through sensible budgeting, a neat and flexible stage, six talented actors, a good script, great songs and music and a ball gown to die for. The script written by Mike Kenny, with no smut or innuendo, has been taken by director Richard Croxford and interpreted in a most delightful way.
The children in the audience were excited the minute they entered the auditorium and sat down on the plush seats; the lights dim, ‘Here we go,’ shouts a father behind me, it’s that kind of show, no matter your age you can’t help getting swept away on a cloud of emotion!
Suddenly a colourful little rat is nuzzling someone beside me, on the other side of me a child of about six in a stage whisper, “Oh My God, that’s freaky.” But they are far from freaky, they are real Belfast character rats, ‘Whiskers’ is played by Michael Conway, ‘Tail’ is Christina Nelson, ‘Claws’ Tommy Wallace, ‘Teeth’ Orla Mullan and Richard Clements is ‘Ears’ and for a rat he plays a mean piano. And Naomi Rocke makes a very beautiful Cinderella
By the time the interval arrives we are well into the preparations for the ball. I stayed in the auditorium and was well entertained by a little girl, totally carried away with the magic of theatre, dancing up and down the rows of seats, a little ballerina in a red dress enchanted by the music of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
We were all transported in the second half, the hilarious ugly sisters ‘This One’ and ‘That One’ and their mother were hysterical. The script is fast and funny although equally funny was the audience and their comments, lady beside me asked me why the prince had big ears, where they taking the mickey out of Prince Charles? No! That is the cleverness of this show, the five rats play every part but their ears and tails remained in place so we were happy with their story right along to the end.
It’s not often an audience bursts into spontaneous applause but it certainly happened on Saturday night when I was there. Cinderella needed a gown to go to the ball. In story book fashion, down from up high floated a glorious white and silver couture dress, it descended gently right over her head and in a second she was twirling around and ready to go to the ball to win the hand of the handsome prince with big ears.
Lots of audience participation, children on the stage, actors in the audience, a fabulous evening’s two hour entertainment for the family.
Lyric Theatre Belfast
Until Sunday 5th January 2014
Check all Anne Hailes Belfast Times reviews here.