WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND
|Date||19th January 2013|
|Society||Ballywillan Drama Group|
|Venue||19.01.13 Riverside Theatre, Coleraine|
|Musical Director||Eric Boyd|
Author: Sheelagh Hobart
A long-time fan of “Whistle down the Wind”, Brian relished the chance to direct the Irish Premiere. Difficult music was expertly sung by chorus and principals and sympathetically played by Eric Boyd’s 16 piece orchestra.
The enclosed set was the slated timber of a 1959 Louisiana barn with a couple of revolving inset trucks. Lighting was atmospheric and Sound well balanced. Costumes were varied and in period.
Two teams of 20 children were central to the action. I saw ‘Blue Troupe’ with Jasmine Gardner as Brat and Jack Ferguson as Poor Baby - both convincing as younger siblings of Swallow. David Ferguson was their father – a farmer trying to cope while mourning their recently deceased mother. He gave a believable performance, struggling with family and townsfolk. The supporting roles of Amos and Candy were well played by Colin McClarty and Vicky Crealman, with strong characterisation and vocals. Edward (Adam Goudy), Sheriff (Shay Reynolds), Earl (Ben Levy), Preacher (Richard Campbell), Snake Preacher (Ian McGinley) and Deputy Sheriff (Tom Waddell) gave strong support when needed.
Undoubted stars of the show were Aisling Reynolds as Swallow and Alan McClarty as ‘the Man’. Aisling was a convincing teenager, touching the heart of every audience member. Alan gave a sterling portrayal of the escaped convict, befriended by the children. Each delivered musical numbers well in solo, duet and ensemble and their dialogue was intense and believable. Brian’s direction and Sharon’s musical staging intertwined seamlessly, and the denouement left the audience with deep questions and emotions.