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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Women of Ireland

      The McPherson Opera House wished Central Kansas a Happy St. Patrick's Day this past Thursday with the Women of Ireland Show. Three sisters: Fiona, Naomi and Evangeline O'Neill, took to the stage along with an extensive cast of extra's to celebrate the holiday.

     This show went far beyond anything I had imagined. There were a variety of Irish songs and even a Beatles tune, "Let It Be". These ladies can belt out a tune. Their voices were rich and full, harmonizing perfectly together. Multiple costume changes throughout the show kept the content fresh and exciting. I found out during the interview before the show that the O'Neill sisters travel with a seamstress who personally helps them change their dresses throughout the show. Those changes happen so quickly and the dresses are so complex, there would have to be someone behind the scenes helping out. As the ladies sang throughout the evening and changed their outfits, other things were also happening on the stage.

     Remember Riverdance, that Irish dance show sensation that swept across the country? Well, one of the dancers from Riverdance, Kierran Hardiman,the male lead dancer of the Women of Ireland show, danced in Riverdance.  He along with Kelly McDonnell, the female lead dancer, kicked up their heels along with two additional female dancers. Throughout the show the dancers would take to the stage at breaks in between the singing to entertain the crowd with fast, flying feet and amazing energy. Tap dance was also incorporated into the routines which added another dimension to the dance selections.

     Of course there was a band which consisted of a fiddler/piper, accordion, drums, guitar, and piano. They played along with the O'Neill sisters when they sang, they played for the dancers to dance and they played a variety of instrumental selections that were band specific. The fiddle player even had multiple costume changes of her own.

     On top of all of this, there was an aerialist. Hard to believe that there could be an aerial act at the compact stage of The McPherson Opera House, but she was there and her name was Taylor. She was amazing and terrifying at the same time. She performed on a trapeze bar, on silks, and on a large hoop. She performed a variety of tricks on these aparatus that seemed to be impossible and yet, there she was on stage, in the air, doing feats of incredible acrobatic moves. On the silks, she was particularly terrifying. Twice she wrapped up in the silks and at two points of the song that was playing she let go and dropped, wrapped in the silks, from the ceiling to the stage, to oohs and aahs. Timing is everything. Not once did she hit the stage, but it was touch and go for the audience each time she did this particular trick.   

     This show defies description. It went far beyond just a music show. It had more of a variety show feel to it. This was something so different, unlike anything I've ever seen. If you missed this show, you missed something unique. Find out more about this show at: The next show at The McPherson Opera House will be Phil Keaggy with Ashley Cleveland on Saturday, March 19.

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