Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 April 2015

He stoops to conquer ... Hunchback is a hit for Theatre at the Mill

The bells: The cast of Hunchback: The Musical
The bells: The cast of Hunchback: The Musical

Victor Hugo's Gothic classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame isn't perhaps the most seasonal of tales, but in the raunchy and rocking Hunchback: The Musical, Newtownabbey's Theatre at the Mill has come up with a real Christmas cracker.

The audience at last night's opening performance may have been expecting a tragic, sombre affair along the lines of The Phantom of the Opera, but what they got was faster, filthier and a lot more fun.

From the moment a trio of nuns in sparkling habits took their position as the sort of Greek chorus Mel Brooks might approve of, it was clear we were in less than serious territory.

It's safe to say no other Christmas show will give you a soldier character named Private Parts, a captain singing about "the men you have under you" or buxom beauties that could have stepped straight out of Hill's Angels.

As ever with his productions, Ballyclare-born writer and director Paul Boyd entwined a compelling narrative with saucy, sassy songs and imaginative choreography.

This wasn't quite on a Molly Wobbly's Tit Factory level of smut, but there were flashes of everything from the The Two Ronnies to Blackadder in the innuendo-laden musical numbers, the slapstick physical gags and the broadly written characters.

Yet although Hunchback: The Musical was played principally for laughs, it could be dark or sentimental when it needed to be.

Christopher Finn's acrobatic turn as Quasimodo gave us the archetypal sympathetic monster, while Ciara Louise Baxter's moving turn won the audience's hearts as Esmerelda.

And as if that wasn't enough, the show has the best 'bells' pun you're ever likely to hear in a Hunchback of Notre Dame adaptation.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Nightlife Galleries


Latest Entertainment News

Latest Music News

Latest Film & TV News

Latest Eating Out News


Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant


Your forceful personality makes people sit up and take notice of you. This is a great time to show off your expert knowledge. Demonstrating a command for facts and figures will result in a teaching or media position. Make sure you don't impose this air of authority at home. Your family won't appreciate being ordered around. You may be a superstar in intellectual circles, but you're just another relative on the domestic front. Don't bristle at your loved ones' irreverence. It's good for your ego.More