Larry Cunningham visited the Backstage Theatre this week to train some aspiring musicians on the art of showband. As the opening night for Padraic McIntyre’s ‘The Carnival At Glenaduff’ approaches, the feature band of the production, ‘Jack High And The Five Aces’, have been familiarising themselves with this era.
Local show band icon Larry Cunningham was drafted in to assist them in this venture. Their meeting with Larry was an education on how to emulate the musical style of this definitive era. It was a move which proved to be an effective addition to what the band has already built on.
Since they began fusing their musical backgrounds a few weeks ago, they’ve moulded a tight unit and the insights of an ambassador from that music scene, was all that was needed to complete the set.
“The boys don’t really know much about showband music apart from what the songs they found on the internet. We thought that it would be a great help if we got a show band singer to come in and give them a master class and who better than Larry Cunningham?” Theatre Manager and producer, Mona Considine told the Leader.
The play has a cast of 29 in the with a showband-inspired plot. The action is framed around a carnival dance set in the 1960’s in Glenaduff, Cavan.
While the band is in the throngs of performing a selection of era defining tunes, a brawl erupts among the patrons with comical results.
“I wrote the play in 2008. There was a version of this play staged in Cavan for about two weeks and it was a major success. We’re hopeful that it will reproduce a similar reaction in Longford too. We’re hoping to use songs written by Johnny Cash, Larry Cunningham, Brian Harkin and others,” said director Padraic McIntyre.
Rehearsals are currently in full swing before the play is staged on 6th, 7th and 8th July.
“It has been a lot of fun. There’s no buzz quite like acting and this is an area that I wouldn’t know of but Larry was a great help to us” said Sean Rooney (21) from Killoe, who is the grandson of the late Brian Harkin who would have shared the stage with Larry.
With a glittering career spanning over five decades the group were humbled by Larry’s presence. His extensive experience in the entertainment industry revealed itself as Larry offered some constructive instructions on how to convey the show band image to the crowd.
He observed the band’s rendition of ‘Haunted House’, ‘Get Rhythm’ and ‘Walk On By’ among others and commended on the originality on their musical interpretation of these classic anthems.
“I was very impressed by the band. They did a great job of recreating the show band vibe and that’s the key element,” the Granard man said.
The play ‘The Carnival at Glenaduff’ opens at Backstage on Thursday July 7th and runs until Saturday July 9th - 8.30pm each night. Tickets €18/€16 are available from the theatre, 043-3347888; online at www.backstage.ie or from Farrell & Coy in Longford town.