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Tuesday 3 October 2023 Dublin: 12°C
# the bloody irish
There's a new musical about the 1916 Rising - and it's pretty slick
The folks in the US will get to see it before us though.


SITTING ON THE dimly lit stage of the Helix, a little girl hauntingly sings the words to the song It’s a Long Way to Tipperary as the blindfolded leaders of 1916 Rising stand behind under spotlights.

One by one, shots are fired and the men fall to the ground.

This is the opening scene to the new musical drama about the 1916 Rising which is due to hit the road state-side for a world tour next year to coincide with centenary celebrations. 

The Bloody Irish brings to life the events leading up to the execution of the 1916 leaders at Kilmainham jail with music, song and dance.

The musical drama had its first live performance before an audience at the Helix in DCU this week. The performance was filmed for a two hour Public Broadcast Service (PBS) special which is due to air in the US on 17 October.

In February 2016, The Bloody Irish will launch in theatres across America, with a hope to bring it to Irish theatres later in the year.

Video / YouTube

Written by Irish musician, screen writer and director Barry Devlin, it tells some of the real-life stories behind Ireland’s most famous week in history.

What kind of music can you expect? 

Not one to disappoint an audience, the renowned composer and arranger David Downes known for his work with Riverdance and Celtic Woman productions, is behind music.

“This is a show, I think you will never have seen the likes of before,” he said.

The musical includes some of Ireland’s best known songs, such as Monto, It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, Mo Ghile Mear. 

Downes said it combines many aspects that are found in a theatre show and a musical.

While one might expect a play about the 1916 Rising to be narrated by a stand-out character in Irish history like Patrick Pearse or Michael Collins, it is actually narrated by the other side of the story – the British.

General John Grenfell Maxwell who was responsible for the execution of the leaders narrates the story throughout.

Scenes such as the GPO siege, the reading of the Proclamation as well as the aftermath of the Rising and the public’s disgust of some of the leaders are all portrayed through music and song.

The drama ends in a description of life after the momentous 1916 Rising with the whole ensemble, band and orchestra performing The Parting Glass.

Video / YouTube

Directed by acclaimed director Michael Barker Caven and produced by Ned O Hanlon, the production showcases a twenty-three strong cast of Irish actors and singers.

These include Gavin O’Connor, as seen in RTÉ’s Charlie playing the character of Sean Doherty; Lisa Lambe from Celtic Woman; Ruth McGill from What Richard Did; and Lorcan Cranitch as seen in TV series Atlantis and Penny Dreadful.

1 The Bloody Irish !

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