Earlier, one of the producers of Anglo: The Musical, Darren Smith, joked that he wanted Byrne to star in The Gathering: The Musical. When asked if he would be interested, Byrne laughed: “That’s a good one. You never know, it sounds like a great laugh. We’ll see.”
Byrne joined stars, celebrities, and even some brave politicians who came out in force to walk the red carpet.
But the five main characters in Anglo: The Musical — former taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen, current Taoiseach Enda Kenny, economist David McWilliams, and, of course, our big boss Angela Merkel — were not invited to the glitzy first night.
Just before the show started, Darren Smith said: “No, none of them are on the guestlist. They can buy their own tickets; they’ve got the pensions for it. Actually David McWilliams is cool. He’s a well-balanced, functioning human being and doesn’t mind being roasted by us.”
Those actually on the guestlist for last night to witness the all-singing, all-dancing roasting included Gay Byrne and Kathleen Watkins, Mike Murphy, Shane Ross, Olivia O’Leary, Ray D’Arcy, Glenda Gilson, Chris de Burgh and his wife Diane and daughter Rosanna, Brendan Courtney, Brian Kennedy, and Gemma Hayes.
There are a total of 16 puppets mixing with real actors onstage during the show, which creator Paul Howard, of Ross O’Carroll-Kelly fame, based on an original story by Smith, Johnny Morrison, and Colm Tobin.
It’s the story of Celtic Tiger Ireland and how politicians, bankers, developers, toffs, and much of the middle classes all lost their collective heads — with dire consequences for all. The tale takes in love, greed, ambition, and corruption, with a host of original songs penned by Howard and top musicians.
Howard said he was delighted with the production. “We hired actors and singers rather than puppet-eers for the show because there’s a huge amount of acting in it. They’re huge puppets, manipulated by the actors standing beside them.”
Producers expected close scrutiny of last night’s performance by undercover legal eagles, looking to check everything was in order.
Smith said: “We feel very confident there won’t be any legal problems. We’re responsible people as well as creative people. But we’re also quite attached to our homes and our families.!”