Essence of Ireland

Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton

****

THIS breath-taking one-nighter was billed as a journey of music, song and dance, but they should have added nostalgia, too.

At regular intervals a recorded voice updated the audience on the life of one Sean Michael Dempsey who meets and falls in love with Irish beauty Cora McGowen, but before they can marry a lack of work forces him to head for London then the USA.

The parted couple keep in touch but never marry, and many of the songs reflect the joys and sadness experienced my thousands in the Emerald Isle.

Some people rate this company higher than Riverdance, Lord of the Dance and Spirit of the Dance, and while I wouldn't go that far, the dancers, singers and musicians are superb.

Leading the way was bowler-hatted Ged Graham, principal male vocalist and excellent with the bodhrán, the Irish frame drum, and the guitar. He doesn't dance much but seems to do everything else. Perhaps a little too much at times.

The top two dancers, Tommy Tonge and Jennifer Gainey were a delight, and you couldn't fault the rest of the company who were electric at times, and particularly in the final number, Lord of the Dance, which had many in the large audience on their feet.19-04-11.

Paul Marston 

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