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Northern Ireland singer Rachel Tucker's son given rousing reception on West End debut

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Rachel's son Ben

Rachel's son Ben

Rachel Tucker and her son Ben on stage with co-star Jai McDowell

Rachel Tucker and her son Ben on stage with co-star Jai McDowell

Rachel as Grace O’Malley on stage in London in The Pirate Queen

Rachel as Grace O’Malley on stage in London in The Pirate Queen

Rachel as Grace O’Malley on stage in London in The Pirate Queen

Rachel as Grace O’Malley on stage in London in The Pirate Queen

Rachel's son Ben

The seven-year-old son of acclaimed Belfast singer Rachel Tucker has made his debut on a West End stage in London.

And Ben Retallack's award-winning mum has admitted that he upstaged her in the London Coliseum theatre.

Rachel, who has starred in hit shows in London and New York, received a standing ovation at the Coliseum for her portrayal of the famous Irish seafaring rebel Grace O'Malley in the one-off charity staging of the musical The Pirate Queen.

But as Benjamin ran on to take his bow seconds later, the cheers from the packed audience were even louder.

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Rachel as Grace O’Malley on stage in London in The Pirate Queen

Rachel as Grace O’Malley on stage in London in The Pirate Queen

Rachel as Grace O’Malley on stage in London in The Pirate Queen

Benjamin played O'Malley's son Tioboid and, though his time on stage was limited, the response to him from the auditorium was euphoric.

"I believe he definitely stole the show," said Rachel, whose husband Guy Retallack is a London theatre director. "I have never felt more proud."

Rachel, Ben and actress Hannah Waddingham - who played O'Malley's fierce rival Queen Elizabeth I - were joined on stage by one of the Pirate Queen's writers Alain Boublil, part of the creative team who were also behind the hugely popular musical, Les Miserables.

Not long after the show, Rachel flew to the States to reprise her West End roles in Come From Away on Broadway from next week.

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Rachel Tucker and her son Ben on stage with co-star Jai McDowell

Rachel Tucker and her son Ben on stage with co-star Jai McDowell

Rachel Tucker and her son Ben on stage with co-star Jai McDowell

That musical is set in the week after the 9/11 attacks in New York when 38 planes were ordered to land in Newfoundland, where the 7,000 passengers were housed and fed by local residents.

Rachel, who received an Olivier award nomination for Come From Away, has been on Broadway before, most notably playing the part of Elphaba in the hugely successful musical Wicked which she also performed in London.

She also starred in New York in Sting's musical The Last Ship about shipbuilders from the north east of England.

During that run, Oscar winner Meryl Streep went backstage to meet Rachel, whose first taste of national fame came in 2008 when she reached the semi finals of I'll Do Anything, Andrew Lloyd Webber's reality TV show to find a Nancy for a forthcoming production of Oliver!

It's not clear if The Pirate Queen will have a life after the gala charity performance.

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Rachel as Grace O’Malley on stage in London in The Pirate Queen

Rachel as Grace O’Malley on stage in London in The Pirate Queen

Rachel as Grace O’Malley on stage in London in The Pirate Queen

In 2007, its Broadway run was produced by the Irish husband and wife team behind the multi-million pound grossing Riverdance show - Moya Doherty and John McColgan.

Hailed as one of the most expensive productions ever mounted in New York, the $16m musical was halted after just 85 performances and poor audience figures in the wake of savage reviews from American critics.

It was based on the life of 16th century Irish chieftain and pirate Gráinne O'Malley, who was one of the last Irish clan leaders to resist the English conquest of Gaelic Ireland.

Belfast Telegraph