Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

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? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife Galleries

More

Latest Entertainment News

Latest Music News

Latest Film & TV News

Latest Eating Out News

Horoscopes

Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant

Capricorn:

Your dry humour will be very popular. It's always difficult bringing a large group of people together. Everybody feels like they are walking on eggshells. After cracking a few jokes, you'll put the group at ease. Resist the temptation to make fun of relatives, especially the more sensitive members of the group. Nobody likes feeling singled out. Watching a light hearted comedy can also be a great way to generate a festive atmosphere. This is a time when people can put their differences aside.More