“ONE of the best shows I’ve been at in a long while. Heart wrenching, emotional, top quality production. Well done everyone!”
That’s how one of the audience described E2A Inclusive Theatre Group’s recent production of Blood Brothers.
The all local cast presented the Willy Russell play at their intimate theatre space in Banbridge and received tremendous reactions from the audiences on all three sold out nights. For a small amateur group to portray the comedy, tragedy and issues in such a sympathetic manner is a great achievement to all involved. Add in that some of the cast have autism, Down Syndrome and learning disabilities and the result is even more remarkable.
The ethos of ‘E2A’ is one of inclusion with the cast and crew supporting each other to produce shows. The group’s ambitions get bigger and bigger and Jonny Conaghan, their resident director explains.
“When we started the group just over a year ago we didnt know how much interest there would be,” he said.
“Since then we have attracted over 60 members, mainly under the age of 25, many of whom have some form of learning or physical disability. That doesnt stop us putting together a professional standard show, as each individual’s contribution is recognised and encouraged.”
Many of the audience leaving the recent production of Blood Brothers commented on the quality and standard of the show; with comments including “brilliant acting and singing”, “well done to cast and crew who put on a fantastic show”.
The cast included; Julie Boyd as Mrs Johnstone and Clare Crow as Mrs Lyons. The relationship between characters was particularly strong especially between Linda and Eddie, played impeccably by Nicola Peden and Joel Emerson. Comedy moments with Shauney Mann as the other twin, Mickey, and Stewart Penn as the narrator contrasted with the tragedy in the story, including the evil, manipulative Mrs Lyons played by Clare Crow. Callum Penn and Josh Toland as Sammy and Mr Lyons also showed great characterization as the story evolved. Grandmother and grand daughter pairing of Lyndsey Dowsing and Flynn Morgan featured in various guises, aided by PAul Ewbanks and Tony Lunny.
E2A now have an opportunity to perform Blood Brothers in Belfast in Spring 2013, and negotiations are underway to enable this popular and innovative local to showcase their talents to a wider audience.
As part of the 2012/13 programme, the next production is Jack & the Beanstalk, a pantomime for all, in early December, followed by a bi-monthly play, drama or comedy and the possibility of taking part in one act play festivals throughout Ireland.