Here come the girls

DESCRIBED AS a cross between Mamma Mia and Desperate Housewives, the smash-hit show Girls Night: The Musical is coming to the Black Box from Monday February 13 to Saturday 18.

The show boasts a stellar cast with Lorraine Keane (RTE and TV3 ), Hilda Fay and Sorcha Furlong (Fair City ), West End star Jacinta White (Les Miserables and Miss Saigon ), and Sharon Sexton (The Liza Minelli Show ).

Girls Night: The Musical has been thrilling audiences and earning raves from critics throughout Britain and North America after sensational multiple British, Off-Broadway, and trans-American tours.

Now finally there is an Irish production of this feel good show and it is sure to be one of the hottest theatre tickets around as it embarks on a nationwide tour.

This touching and hilarious ‘tell-it-like-it-is’ musical takes audiences on a journey into the lives of a group of five female friends. Audience members will not be able to help but laugh, cry, and even find themselves singing and dancing in the aisles as the cast belt out some of the most popular hit songs of the 1970s and 1980s.

Follow the girls as they re-live their past, celebrate their present, and look to the future on a wild and hilarious karaoke night out...and you will recognise a bit of yourself in every one of them!

Stage and screen

Ahead of Girls Night: The Musical’s opening, cast-member Hilda Fay – best-known to audiences as Fair City’s Tracy - took time out from rehearsals to talk about the show and her career to date. She began by reflecting on her decade-long stint in Fair City.

“I joined around 2000, I came in on the whole Billy Meehan storyline which was an amazing storyline to come in on – the writing was so good and it was a storyline that really gripped the nation so I was very lucky,” Fay recalls.

“I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I’d spend 10 years there. I haven’t been there for the last year and a half because I got pregnant with my first daughter and then my second shortly after. But I had a fabulous time there, I learned so much and the soap was good for my career in many ways.”

Alongside Fair City, Fay has racked up an impressive stage CV in both classic and contemporary plays. Her credits include roles in such plays as The Crucible, The Cherry Orchard, The Bacchae, and Playboy of the Western World as well as featuring in multiple-award winning play Little Gem and playing the iconic Paula Spencer in The Woman Who Walked Into Doors. Does she have a particular favourite of the roles she has done so far?

“I was very lucky to play some fantastic roles but I think I’d have to say my favourite role was Cassandra in Brendan Kennelly’s version of Euripides’ The Trojan Women for Plush Theatre,” she replies.

“I love Greek tragedy. You have to be so focused and it’s so driven emotionally but it’s wonderful to play. And there was a lot of music in that production, and of course Brendan Kennelly is such a beautiful poetic writer that his version was a dream to play.”

Moving on to Girls Night, Fay outlines what audiences can expect from the show.

“It’s set in a karaoke bar and five women who have grown up together and been friends since childhood get together on a hens’ night out,” she says. “They’re celebrating their friend’s upcoming wedding. So the play is about all their lives, their husbands, and their relationships with each other, the journey they go on, and then various revelations happen throughout the piece.

“It’s really really funny and I think the play is a real celebration of women and it incorporates a lot of hit songs from the 1970s and 1980s like ‘I Will Survive’, ‘It’s Raining Men’, ‘We Are Family’, and loads more. It’s a laugh a minute, the show is a real hoot. It’s about relationships between women and the strength of women and the power of friendship.”

Fay goes on to describe the character she plays in the show.

“I play Carol who’s the loud one of the group,” she reveals. “She’s been married twice but neither marriage has worked out but she’s someone who puts on a brave face and always smiles – she’s the one cracking the jokes and keeping the party going.

“She’s the loudmouth and the centre of attention and a fun-loving kind of character but inside she has had tragedy in her life as well. She had to go to England for a termination when she was young but she never lets anyone see that side of her, she always has the sunny side out.”

Motherhood

Fay’s acting career had taken something of a back seat in the last year or so with the arrival of her daughters Pearl and, just last December, Nancy. Now she feels able to take on the twin challenge of touring and motherhood – with a bit of family support.

“This is my first time touring since the kids were born,” she says. “I was offered a tour of Australia with Little Gem but Pearl was only six months old at the time so I decided not to, I was afraid really, she was too young to bring all the way to the other side of the world.

“Now, being a mother second time around I feel more confident and I’m bringing my mother with me and my husband is also coming with me for part of the tour so we’ll see how it goes; if it works out, great, I’ll tour again, and if not I won’t. I’m just playing it by ear. When the kids are a bit older and

in school I won’t be able to do this but now they’re small enough to take along.”

As she winds up our conversation and gets ready for the tour’s opening night in Moate, Fay gives her final thoughts on Girls Night: The Musical.

“It’s a real feelgood show,” she enthuses. “I remember going to see Mamma Mia and the tears started going down my face as I was watching the film because I was just so happy, it was such a feelgood movie. I think this is the same kind of piece. Audiences, whether they be women or men, will come out of the theatre feeling a bit happier and I think that’s a great thing to give to people.”

Girls Night: The Musical plays at the Black Box Theatre from Monday 13 to Saturday 18. Tickets are available from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777 and www.tht.ie

 

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