HOLLYWOOD actor Patrick Bergin has praised the theatrical talent in Macroom and said the town’s Briery Gap theatre, which was gutted in a fire two years ago, needs to be reopened as a priority.
The Sleeping with the Enemy star is playing the lead in a musical The Blarney Stone opening in the town’s Riverside Park Hotel from April 25th-27th and again from May 3rd-4th.
Patrick developed close links with the town after he performed in Murder at Shandy Hall there a few years back.
And, having found the score to John McDonagh’s The Blarney Stone in the McDonagh family home near his castle in Cloughjordan, he knew Macroom had the talent to pull off what he called a ‘major work.’
‘I knew the group of people I had worked with previously in Macroom would be the ideal group for it,’ he told The Southern Star, while on a break from rehearsals.
The musical was written in 1928, aimed at the American market, and plans were well advanced to present it on Broadway when a sudden illness caused it to be cancelled.
Musical director Ann Dunne explained: ‘The script and score disappeared in the intervening years and only surfaced again when Patrick Bergin found them by chance in Cloughjordan. Patrick forwarded the script to me. We consulted with our director, Cathal McCabe of RTÉ fame. He revised the script and score and the work is now ready for its world premiere. It’s full of laughter and tears, clouds and sunshine. It’s a gem of a musical that is suitable for all the family.’
Patrick added that the entire town had gotten behind the production, including youngsters who now had ambitions for careers in theatre.
Regarding the Briery Gap, which has been closed since a fire two years ago, he said that pressure needed to be maintained for it to be reopened without delay.
Multi-million euro plans were unveiled in February for a new look theatre and it’s hoped builders will be on site by November.
‘The town, the county, and entire country could benefit from it. This musical could even be put on there permanently,’ said Patrick.
He promised audiences a great night out at the musical which will also be performed in the Opera House on May 29th.
‘It has entertainment and historical qualities. It’s full of charm and it’s funny, with great music,’ he said.