This week the story of former Toome man, Malachy McCourt, which was brought to life when his son Frank penned a best selling book about growing up in Limerick back in 1996, comes to the Belfast stage,
The book, Angela’s Ashes, has now been transformed into a musical, which has been wowing audiences in Limerick and Dublin and this week it arrived at the Grand Opera House in Belfast.
In his memoir, Frank McCourt, told of the struggles faced by his poverty stricken family when his drunken father, who hailed from Toome, failed to keep hold of a job.
The book climbed quickly to the top of that newspaper’s Bestseller lists and remained there for nearly three years selling 4 million copies in hardback alone. Since then, the book has sold over 10 million copies worldwide and become a phenomenon continuing to attract a global readership.
Angela’s Ashes won multiple accolades including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics’ Circle Award, was listed in The Guardian as one of the top 50 best-selling books of all time and has been translated into 126 languages.
Actor Marty Maguire is stepping into the shoes of the Toome man in the stage show and admits it has been a challenging role.
“It has been very challenging,” said Marty. “It would be easy to do it as one dimensional, portray him as someone who doesn’t care but you have a job as an actor to see the heart of the character.
“You can go out as the panto villain or you can try to find the reason he did what he did.”
While the subject matter of the show - the struggle of a family in poverty in 1940s Limerick - may seem bleak the production is filled with humour and music which hits the audience in the heart.
“One of the criticisms of the film was that it missed a lot of the humour of the book,” continued Marty.
“The great thing about the musical is that they have kept some incredibly funny moments from the book.
“I sit backstage and watch the show when I’m not on stage. I keep pinching myself that I’m in it.”
Marty will be joined on stage by West End star Jacinta Whyte, who is taking on the role of Malachy’s long suffering wife Angela. Dublin born Jacinta Whyte has made her mark on the international stage performing in some of the biggest musicals of all time including, Les Miserables, and Blood Brothers.
The show runs from August 1-5 and tickets are on sale from the Grand Opera House Box Office on 9024 1919 or online at www.goh.co.uk.