On Tuesday August 1 the smash hit new musical, Angela’s Ashes, based on the best selling book by Frank McCourt, will come to life on stage at the Grand Opera House in Belfast.
The musical, which has been billed as ‘an uplifting story of hope, fortitude and family’, had its world premiere in Limerick, where the story of Frank McCourt and his family is set, last month, followed by a run at the Bord Gais in Dublin.
The production is an emotional telling of a childhood in Limerick and beyond, featuring unforgettable songs and melodies, told with a rare lyricism and a warm inimitable sense of humour.
As his parents struggle to provide for him and his brothers in 1940s Ireland, we follow young Frank’s escapades and experiences in a Dickensian landscape peopled by a drunken father, a helpless mother, pompous priests, bullying schoolmasters, money-lenders and dancing-teachers, culminating in his defiant escape to a new life in America.
Belfast actor Marty Maguire is stepping into the shoes of Frank’s drunkard father Malachy, who was originally from Toome, and, while he has found the role challenging, he is clearly in love with the production.
“It has been very challenging,” said Marty. “It would be easy to do it as one dimensional, portray him as someone who doesn’t care but you have a job as an actor to see the heart of the character. You can go out as the panto villain or you can try to find the reason he did what he did.”
While the subject matter of the show - the struggle of a family in poverty in 1940s Limerick - may seem bleak, the production is filled with humour and music that is sure to pull at the heart strings of every single member of the audience.
“One of the criticisms of the film was that it missed a lot of the humour of the book,” added Marty.
“The great thing about the musical is that they have kept some incredibly funny moments from the book.
“I sit backstage and watch the show when I’m not on stage. I keep pinching myself that I’m in it.”
The show runs from August 1-5, and tickets are on sale from the Grand Opera House Box Office on 9024 1919 or online at www.goh.co.uk.