10 April 2015
Reviewed by Debbie Tasker
Stockport Plaza was the latest stop for Essence of Ireland last night as it continues to tour until the 29th April. After a mix up with tickets and a bit off a drama paying for the extra seat we entered the foyer and asked which way to the bar, the elderly gentleman said it was shut so we thanked him and started to make our way back outside so as not to be stood in the way of others entering he then came and said it was open he got confused with the cafe. The bar is very small with only a few seats and one table so it was pretty crowded. Drinks were of a reasonable price.
When it got nearer to the start time we headed for the stalls and were pointed in the right direction by a very friendly usher. Unfortunately there was a back up of people trying to get to their seats as a couple of the attendants seemed to have spotted somebody they knew and were blocking the way for at least five minutes chatting! Not good! When they eventually finished catching up we found are seats and had a great view of the stage.
Essence of Ireland gives a brilliant insight in to Ireland’s history and spans over 60 years. 80 million people worldwide claim Irish heritage. This is the true story of Sean Dempsey a 15 year old boy who was part of the mass immigration that took place after world war two we follow his story as he travels to England and then America where he settles and becomes a police officer while all the time waiting for his true love Cora Mcgowan to join him. I won’t spoil the show by saying anymore but it is a wonderful love story.
The story is told through song dance narration and a pre-recorded track. The dancers are amazing and did not put a foot wrong which is no mean feat when you think how many numbers they perform, the whole ensemble were stars in my eyes. It is mostly Irish inspired but there is also a bit of rock n roll and flamenco too.
Ged Graton was nothing short of marvellous his singing voice is superb; I had to reach for my hankie when he sang the touching ‘I Loved Her First’ in the wedding scene. He also adds a good slice of humour plays instruments and narrates whilst managing the odd Irish jig – a man of many talents. Mike Burr’s Dempsey and Alison Parsons’ Mcgowan play the leads with enthusiasm and feeling, I was swept along with this heart wrenching love story as a result the chemistry between them seemed so real.
My dad is Irish as is my ex-husband so I am no stranger to the music dance and high spirits that come as part of the lovely folk from the Emerald Isle all the favourites are in there Irish Rover, Molly Malone, Whisky In The Jar, Galway Girl, Dirty Old Town and the haunting Danny Boy which yet again had me reaching for a hankie! The audience tapped clapped and sang along throughout and I would say from the atmosphere it wasn’t just us having a jolly good time.
The dramatic lighting is excellent and the video screen playing news footage from each era along with stunning views of this beautiful place was the icing on the cake.
Myself (48), granddaughter (13) and mum (66) absolutely loved every minute from beginning to end. You do not have to be of Irish descent to enjoy Essence of Ireland, it really is a great evening’s entertainment.
Essence of Ireland is currently on tour around the UK, for more information, tour dates or to book tickets at a venue near you visit www.essenceofireland.co.uk.
For other shows at the Stockport Plaza visit www.stockportplaza.co.uk.
The Plaza, Mersey Square, Stockport, Cheshire. SK1 1SP | 0161 477 7779