By Suzanne Pender
SQUEALS of “Oh my God!” and splashes of hot pink abounded in Carlow last week as local theatre company Striking Productions took on the smash-hit Legally Blonde The Musical. The show ran over six nights at the George Bernard Shaw stage in Visual, bringing the wonderful world of musical theatre to local audiences.
Reaction to the performance has been phenomenal, with huge praise for the incredibly talented cast, the wonderful staging and the feast of music, with a live, professional orchestra delighting audiences. As part of this production, Carlow is affiliated nationally with the Association of Irish Musical Societies (AIMS) and the show will be adjudicated as part of its national awards ceremony.
“It went really well. The reaction has been so positive, we’re delighted,” said Robert O’Neill, producer/director and founder of Striking Productions.
“It’s a really difficult show to stage: the music is tough, it’s a very high-energy show and it’s hard to get it right. So we worked really hard on this and everyone is delighted it went so well. We had the AIMS adjudicators with us on Friday night and they were very complimentary, so we’ll find out on 21 May if we get a nomination,” said Robert.
“This is our second-ever musical and we are up against musical theatre groups from around the country who have been doing this for 30 years, so to even be considered is amazing,” he added.
Legally Blonde The Musical had a full Carlow production team, produced and directed by Robert, with musical director Joan Butler (née Farrell) and choreography by Tracy Rea, who also played the role of Brooke Wyndham in the show.
Carlow’s Siobhan Kavanagh was terrific in the lead role of Elle Woods, with Naas native Aidan Foley joining the Striking Productions team as lead male Emmet Forrest.
AIMS nominee Kayla Kehoe played the supporting lead as quirky hairdresser Paulette Bonafonté, while Elle’s three sidekicks are played by Róisín Currid, Noreen Farrell and Avril Lakes.
The sleazy and sneaky Professor Callahan was played by Barry Harmon, while panto choreographer Katie Conlan was Vivienne Kensington. Riccardo Tavolieri was UPS delivery man Kyle B O’Boyle, with Niamh Kelly as Elle’s classmate.
Aideen McLoughlin played Kate, while the Greek chorus included Amy O’Keefe, Michelle McMahon, Eithne Molloy, Aislinn Kavanagh and Deirdre Cashin.
Sundeep Padamadan was played by Aoife Doyle, Aaron Schultz was played by Sean Óg Ferry, while taking on the role of Elle’s parents were Kieran Hutchinson and Audrey Cooper.
Paddy O’Byrne played the part of Winthrop, Aideen Byrne was Chutney Wyndham, Tricia Millar was the judge/store manager, while court stenographer/Kiki the colourist was played by Caitlin Keely.
An ensemble of dancers and additional roles completed this talented and energetic cast.
“Since 2019, we have also branched into staging full musicals. Legally Blonde is just our second one, but we are confident in the talent Carlow has to offer and hope the appetite for musical theatre will flourish in the area. The local talent we have is phenomenal and we are delighted to give this talent a platform,” said Robert.