|Mick Moloney and Athena Tergis play in front of a slide of the Famous McNulty Fami|
When you think about it, Riverdance was variety, too. As Mick told me for my Wall Street Journal interview,
There’s always a place for good entertainment. The combination of singing, music, dancing is irresistible to people. It depends how well it’s done. Vaudeville got jaded. It was around 50 years! That’s almost three generations. At its worst it’s trite and escapist, and at its best it is too.
Nothing in Friday’s show was jaded—if anything the largeness of the project and the relatively short rehearsal time gave it an absolute freshness. Fresh nearly made up for the discomfort when Niall O’Leary’s School of Dance nearly bumped into each at times– less of them would probably be more, though the impulse towards inclusion is generous and it’s always fun to watch Niall glide across the stage. They hoofed it in costumes of the 20s and 30s, in keeping with a tribute to Ma McNulty’s debut. After her husband John McNulty died, the Kilteevin lady did not, as Mick suggested many would, look out for a man who didn’t drink too much. Instead, she put her family on stage, billing them as the Famous McNultys long before they’d ever appeared at the Brooklyn Academy of Music!
|Mick Moloney, Athena Tergis, Billy McComiskey|
Singer Gerry Timlin poured just enough emotion into “The Rose of Aranmore,” accompanied by Dana Lyn and her Brooklyn String Quartet, as well as by Green Fields. This sentimental number was followed by Dermot Henry’s comical talk, introducing “When They Mowed Pat Murphy’s Meadow.” His self-deprecating and silly introduction seemed to capture the vaudeville style and had everyone laughing right up to the moment he went into the wistful song. Apparently Dermot is well known as a funnyman, and famous for it—but his singing’s a treat. I looked but couldn’t find his dates on line. Drop me a line, Dermot, I would love to see more!
|Julie Feeney, Siobhan Whelan, Don Meade|
The second half opened with snippets of McNulty recordings—one of a live performance doing “Rocky Road to Dublin” (not the one mostly sung today) at breathtaking speed, then a bit from the record they put out, then Mick, Brendan Dolan, John Roberts and others doing the song their way. Moloney’s version is nice, but I prefer the harum scarum pace of the live version. That’s cheek.