Just Sing raises €860 for Outhouse & BeLonG To Youth Services -THANK YOU!

When I began this project towards the beginning of lockdown, I never could have imagined raising this amount for two incredibly worthy charities supporting LGBTQ+ young people and adults in their times of need. If not for the generosity of friends, colleagues and followers of the project online we would not have reached this point, so thank you. All funds have now been donated evenly, totaling €430 to both charities involved and on behalf of them I thank you for making it happen. I’m also delighted to say that my current employer, the Central Bank of Ireland and their charity committee has so generously agreed to match these funds, doubling the total raised. 

Listen to this post –

This is quite a poignant moment for me, as a young closeted gay kid I would never have imagined future me being so exposed and so vulnerable in order to make a real difference to a cause so close to my heart. Having attended the Personal Development course and availed of the free services Outhouse provides in 2019, like so many people, I changed as a person and felt indebted, and needed to find some way to repay these amazing people. I learned something important in the past year, to achieve something new, you have to do something you have never done. To grow you have to step outside of your comfort zone for this is where the sunlight hits and nourishes most of all. We all have dreams, ideas and things we want to achieve (if you don’t know what that is right now, that’s okay too). Let this be a reminder to me and a calling to you, if you want to do something, just do it. Don’t let the inner self deter you from following your gut instinct, that is where the magic of life lies. I write this as a lesson but also as a reminder to myself, we are all so much more capable than we truly believe or as others may see us. There are many influences in our lives and people who care about us, yes we should open our eyes to their lessons, guidance and love but at all times remember the only person who has to be proud of you, is yourself. 

If you, like me seek external validation for your achievements, talents or ideas – know that we are fighting a losing battle. Acknowledge peoples praise and accept constructive criticism but most of all make yourself proud. Do your best in all that you do without letting perfection overrule, start the journey now as all we have is this moment. Failures are real, mistakes happen but when you try to do something new or take a chance on your gut and it goes wrong, life will only lead you to that next place – the place you were supposed to visit to be a better you.

I launched ‘Just Sing’, not knowing if I’d make any impact or if I’d even follow through. Knowing now what has been achieved, the pain, the struggle, the heartache,  the fear…it was all worth while. Over 8 weeks or so, the project has gained over 15,000 unique views – something which as a no one from kildare, im very proud of.  Having recorded ‘He used to be mine’ in Avondale studios before any of us knew what a pandemic really was, as the days turned to hours, weeks and months, left with the material, the message became clearer and clearer. I’ve been creating and editing videos for almost 3 years and performing all my life but I have never been involved in something that was so incredibly emotional to finish. I have been touched by the messages of support and the overwhelming emotions that have been felt by so many. When we are at our most vulnerable is when we are also the most seen, truly seen for who and what we are in every sense of the word.

The project reached a natural pause and i’m now planning a live streamed concert, to celebrate the year and the achievement. I intend to take a break to explore more of me as an artist and also to work on other projects like my new podcast Queer Revelations and some radio work too. I am continuing with music,  writing, presenting and exploring. Just Sing will return in the future, what form I’m not sure but I’m excited to see what’s next. Thank you for following and supporting me on this journey.

Stay safe and Be Kind, especially to yourself. 


Find out more about these amazing charities:

Outhouse is a community and resource centre for LGBTQ+ people, their families, and friends whose primary goal is to offer a safe space for people to inform, meet, organise and make things happen. Outhouse is very often the first point of contact for people into the LGBTQ+ World and the place in which lots of groups and organisations begun.

Since doors opened in 1997, the focus was on providing information, a safe drop-in space, a welcoming Café, library as well as meeting spaces and support facilities for individuals and groups. Outhouse also plays host to the respected and highly recommended Personal Development Courses, which is provided free of charge. Whatever the type of support, be it entirely social or sport, or be it around coming out, ageing or alcohol, the staff, Board and volunteers have always seen that the role of Outhouse is to provide space for the community to develop and flourish. Find out more about their amazing work at www.outhouse.ie

BeLonG To Youth Services is the national organisation supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI+) young people in Ireland. Since 2003, they have worked with LGBTI+ young people, between 14 and 23 years, to create a world where they are equal, safe, and valued in the diversity of their identities and experiences. BeLonG To also advocates and campaigns on behalf of young LGBTI+ people, and offers a specialised LGBTI+ youth service with a focus on mental and sexual health, alongside drug and alcohol support.

BeLonG To responds to the needs of LGBTI+ young people in Ireland and helps them thrive. BeLonG To’s vision is a world where LGBTI+ young people are equal, safe, and valued in the diversity of their identities and experiences. Their mission is to support LGBTI+ young people as equals to achieve our vision through youth work, changing attitudes, and research. BeLonG To are continuing to provide services online and virtually including (but not limited to) the Monday Chats Service and crisis counselling service run in partnership with Pieta House.

If you need support during this period, please reach out and talk, there are so many support services and helplines available to you. Find out more about BeLonG To’s their amazing work at www.belongto.org


The podcast that challenges society, sex and the system

⚠️Disclaimer, some of the material and ideas discussed in this piece are of an adult nature. Viewer discretion is advised

This article is also available as a soundbite presented by yours truly. If you’d prefer to listen than read, you can listen to the full piece below

What could an evening with this eccentric, uniquely articulate and altogether unusual character entail? A deep, meaningful and hilarious conversation with a PhD student, sex workers rights activist, general activist, occultist turned sexual liberator and all round nice guy Conner Habib who once upon a time happened and may still be if he wishes, a gay porn star. Conner recently up sticks and moved to Ireland from LA. Yes, you heard me! He’s always wanted to live in Dublin since a surprising life-altering trip to Kenmare (of all places) as a 15-year-old American tourist.

When you get a WhatsApp message of a Sunday asking if your free Monday evening you can only assume either something is seriously wrong or this guy is preparing for a hard week at the office, “Monday night pints?”

“I’ve a spare ticket to the Blindboy podcast in Vicar Street if you fancy it?” Regretfully I did not know who this Blindboy was, what’s his game or how a podcast could be a stage show in Vicar Street? A quick google search later and the Rubberbandits (@Rubberbandits) popped up, Blindboy being one half of the group.

Now if you’re not from Ireland you may ask, who are these people? It’s pretty hard to define but they are two highly intellectual, thought-provoking, people of Limerick who rock plastic bags on their heads and talk about the issues facing us in the 21st century. Their medium of expression, writings and off the wall music videos comparing your humble Honda Civic or up and at em Subaru to their, “horse outside”.

Safe to say I was unsure what to expect but minutes into the show and I was presently surprised by the quality of conversation. Blindboys command and respect from the audience and his fearlessness to talk on the issues, that few are prepared to, was refreshing.

We live in a time when vanity is all too respected and where intelligence & debate is hijacked by know it all trolls behind a screen and keyboard. Tonight, I sensed a change in the air, a shift towards the people wanting more. An asking of the creators to provide more substance, quality and thought-provoking conversations that will not only inspire and help to build a better society. But one that also asks deeper questions of who we are, what we are opposed to and how the current system we inhabit is fundamentally flawed.

It was particularly interesting to be guided through a talk on sex with Conner Habib the podcast host, sex workers rights activist and radical philosopher.  Sex in Irish culture has been strapped down for centuries, banished to the dark and suppressed by oppressive Catholicism. It was once sinful to think these things or talk about such in public, to have intercourse or children outside of wedlock. This came from those who sold Irish flesh, blood and innocence down the river and across the Atlantic to those united states. This from the institution whose hierarchy told us the way forward ‘to god’ but whose actions were anything but. This from those who tortured and abuse the women of Ireland, who buried their all too malnourished babies in the dark of night with no repercussions or penance for their actions, yet. This from those who systemic hate and suppression of LGBTQ+  humans is all too clear when all we are asking is to be who we authentically are.

What you begin to uncover through this conversation and podcast is that sex is a fundamental Pillar of human existence. Fundamentally we strive to survive and procreate. But I also think we strive to bring joy, hope and wonder to the lives of others and ourselves. Self-indulgence is a part of this and sex should be openly talked about instead of something which is hidden and almost made up like it’s not there, but I think we all know different.

I’m grateful for the evening and the honest, open and encouraging discussion, it was bloody entertaining too. Blindboy is a revelation and though I may not agree with everything he says or does. I have major respect for his willingness to share and his authenticity. His unwavering courage to tackle the subjects, that many would run away from, is inspired.

The blind boy podcast is available on all major platforms including Google podcast and Spotify. The particular episode with Conner has been released go check it out, episode 81, its called “Saint Barts Tarmac”. Keep up with blindboys going on at www.theblindboypodcast.com/. I’m definitely going to self indulge and listen again. While you’re at it check out Against Everyone with Conner Habib, you will definitely learn something. visit https://www.patreon.com/ConnerHabib to check it out.

Side note if you get a chance to see the Blindboy podcast live – jump at it. I never considered how much a podcast recorded in front of a live audience could be so different. It was special.

Thanks for reading, if you have something to say about this piece why not leave a comment below. You can follow my journey through the wilderness that is life using the handle @althefiver.

Until we meet again – have a good one, Alan

Valentine’s Day: not just for couples anymore

Valentine’s Day has just arrived, we know this thanks to the onslaught of media, advertisements and influencer’s influencing – but what’s left for the single people?

It’s time to reclaimed the day back from the brink of full commercialisation and let the single people have some fun. Yes, it’s too late to apply for the TV dating shows like first dates in Ireland but applications for the UK version are still open here – I doubt one could get hitched by the 14th of February though (depending on when you’re reading this).

There’s always tinder but between the catfishes, friends with benefits aka ‘ I’m not looking for anything serious’ and the out and proud players there’s not much left to be achieved.

Here’s a ‘couple’ of (pun intended) ways to get through the Valentine’s Day blues as a single pringle.

•Forget the drama, Netflix and Chill with you’re mates or yourself. The pain will soon subside while you’re half ways into some ‘Marie Kondo’ and get the sudden urge to CLEAN and SPARK JOY all over the place. If you’re of the legal drinking age… procecco is a nice addition, if not cola! You can’t go wrong really.

• If you want (never need) a loved up time, try a local singles night cause they are always such a classy affair.

• Head to a concert, a play or better yet a musical. There’s lots of crack to be had living through other people’s dilemma and not your own.

• Go out on the town with you’re friends, an evening out enjoying the madness could be great crack. Just have the PDA (Public Displays of Affection) radar on.

• The Cinema is always an option, this year’s major Oscar hopefuls have come and gone but I’m sure something or someone will catch your fancy. On second thought best not to be anywhere near a dark,enclosed public space on ‘the most romantic day of the year’

• If all else fails, its not too late to book a Ryanair flight. Just avoid Paris, there’s too many engagements, potential engagements and out right rejections happening to mention. Imagine all the flashmobs you’d have to avoid or is that not a thing anymore?

You may say I’m bitter with the world. Actually you might be right but y’all, do what makes you happy. I think I’m going to take the drinks with friends option followed by Netflix, it’s the safest bet. ‘America’s Got Talent: the champions’ has my name all over it.

I don’t hate Valentine’s Day, I hate what’s it has become. Half price this, 2 for 1 on that. Share the love everyday not just on some dreary Thursday in February.

What ever the day brings remember, you are valued not because of who you love but the joy you bring to others. Add value to the world and you will be rewarded no end. In a world filled with filters, facetune’s and deception. Be the light through the fog, the truth through the journey.

What do you think? Let me know by leaving a comment below or tweet me @althefiver – I’d love to hear your thoughts or how and why I’m wrong.

Patti LuPone returns and she’s got Company!

The brand new, gender bender, Westend revival staring Broadway Royalty.

As soon as I heard whispers that this production was in the works, I got excited! When news soon followed that the queen, the legend, the unstoppable talent that is Patti LuPone, was coming out of her retirement (from musical theatre) to star in this show…. I had to be there.

Credit: @companywestend on Instagram

It couldn’t be true, Ms Lupone, now Sixty- nine and in her prime reuniting with the creator of all that is good, Mr Stephen Sondheim. ‘Reunited and it feels so good’ in what is a thrillingly, funny, exciting and fresh revival.

I hasten to use the word revival because this production felt like anything but. Evoking feelings of a brand new show, something we as an audience have never seen or heard before. Helped majorly by the reversal of roles which saw Patti inhabit the character of Joanne and Rosalie Craig playing the leading man, now lady, BOBBY. If you happen to see this production, you will come home singing “Bobby, Bobby, Bobby” – its a given! My friends and I, sisters Grace and Andrea Kavanagh were in three-part harmony by the end of the night…

The Best Kind of Company
Credit: @althefiver on Instagram

The score provides an all too familiar, homely feeling featuring songs like ‘Being Alive’ and ‘Ladies Who Lunch’, American musical theatre standards which Broadway fans will be all too familiar with.

The entire cast delivers a fun, fresh performance. The most notable ‘showstopper’ bake was cooked up by Mel Giedroyc, know as Mel from bake-off, bake off Mel! She’s one talented lady that’s got something classy going on. She succeeds in delivering a subtle, but believable performance with not a soggy bottom in sight and worthy of a Paul Hollywood handshake any day.

The real question here is will she make a shocking return to the bake-off tent, involving her newfound acting talents? in WAITRESS, the west end production – which has now opened starring Katharine McPhee, the star of ‘Smash’ and once upon a time ‘American Idol’ contestant. Mel has the American accent down and she knows a thing or two about cakes, pies and all kinds of bakes. Watch this space as she soon could be ‘Opening Up’.

Credit: @companywestend on Instagram

This is a show starring women, about women and the expectations on women of a certain age (30 and above) – fall in love, get married, have a baby, the end. Company pushes this idea and questions were we are, how far we have come AND how far we have yet to go!

The cast and crew leave nothing to be desired, director of directors Marianne Elliott has taken the industry by storm of late. Winning a Tony award with co-director Tom Morris for War Horse in 2011 and more recently scoring big again, winning a Tony for Best Direction of a Play, for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, her second Tony in a decade. Safe to say she was born to recreate this show.

Credit: @companywestend on Instagram

Laughter is to the fore of everything and is heightened by wonderful physical comedy and human interaction with the set, particularly in the ‘nun scene’, at the wedding and during the one-night stand #spolierAlert – where Bobby multiplies, again and again, and again! I’ve never seen such a relationship with set and actor as in this production. Both played off each other in a symbiotic fashion which only draws you in closer to the action.

Any good show needs good material – Sondheim undoubtedly delivers, who ever doubted him? There were puns, inside jokes and wordplay upon wordplay, that one could only dare to dream to create. Jokes flew over my head until two scenes later and then, the penny dropped, ‘oh yeah, I get it’. Sometimes I’m a bit slow…is that normal?

Patti, as per usual, sets the tone perfectly before even setting foot on stage. With a wonderful security and safety announcement, that only she could pull off. The warning, “switch off all phones people!” with the added kicker, that those who don’t will be punished “believe me”. As a fan of her shutdowns and literal Broadway showstoppers, I was delighted. Don’t be rude people and turn off those devices – your Instagram story can wait until intermission or get them snaps before curtain up. Come to the theatre early, take it all in!

The show has recently been extended to March 2018 which is great news for all involved. More importantly, if you’re reading this and haven’t yet seen the show, grab a boat, a plane, a car (before Brexit!) and get to the Gielgud Theatre, in the heart of London’s Westnd, to experience this one of a kind production. I dread to say it but this could be Patti’s last ever musical, EVER! I want to go back. My only negative she’s not featured in the show enough. Thankfully a brand new cast album is now available, so you can relive the magic or get a taste of what’s to come.

Company gets 8 outta 10 – Laughter, inventiveness and thought-provoking wrapped up with a big shiny bow of talent, both on and off the stage. The only question now will they grab their bits and pieces to transfer to the bright lights of Broadway? Only time will tell. I’ll leave you with this…


Four reasons to see ‘The Addams Family’ ~ Before you DIE!!!

1.The cast are Fabulously brilliant

It’s not too often that I come out of a show reeling in joy and praise. The cast of The Addams family are simply sublime. From the brilliantly clever and stylistic use of Dance by the ensemble to the incredibly accurate and dynamic characteristics stylings of the family members. This is one of the rare times in a production when no one is left behind or carried by anyone else, every member of the company was Fablis! I hate singling out names but it’s necessary, for fear of listing off the entire cast I’ll try and keep it short and sweet.

Les Dennis ( @LesDennis) as Uncle Fester fore fills the role as the narrator of the plot, often breaking the fourth wall which adds to the show hugely. A Showbiz veteran, Dennis is a perfect fit for this role.

Carrie Hope Fletcher (@CarrieHFletcher) makes it all look effortless physically, emotionally and vocally. ‘pulled’ is anything but, she shows her true Talent on stage with brilliant technique, wonderful tone and exquisite execution.

Cameron Blakely ( @stupidalfred1) is the Grandmaster of the production as Gomez, leading us from scene to scene from dramatic climax to dramatic climax and is also incredibly funny. I don’t recall laughing so audibly ever before at any other musical I’ve seen. This is mainly due to the duet/tango that takes place between the writers, creatives and the performers. This production is a shining example of how it’s supposed to be done. Having played this role in the past I understand how difficult it can be (I was really good guys…sorry you missed it!). Blakely creates his own Gomez with hints towards past performances by actors in both the 1960s TV show and more recently the 1991 film adaptations. This is also true for all the other cast members.

Valda Aviks as the grandma is very funny and spooky in the same breath. Her portrayal reminds me of almost an Old Irish grandmother in this production something which the audience really latched onto. Grant McIntyre (@GrantMcintyreuk) is endearing and brings a youthfulness and naivety to the role of Pugsley which it’s so desperately needs.

The two real surprises for me however in this cast were that of the rising star of Samantha Womack arguably most famous for her role as Ronnie Mitchell in EastEnders, which she has recently departed from and as Michelle in the Kingsman film series. The sequel of which is set to hit cinemas this autumn. She is simply stunning as Morticia Addams, she sings, she dances and she acts her socks off. She is the embodiment of everything Morticia is supposed to be.

Charlotte Page was the second surprise of the evening, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, she plays the role of Alice Beineke extremely well. Her character development, sincerity and her voice is an unstoppable force of light and sometimes darkness in this production. Her vocal control brilliant, so much so, what could have been a ‘throw away role’ becomes the part of a leading lady. I could not help but draw comparisons to this role and that of Ellen, the estranged wife of Chris in Miss Saigon. A production which I cannot wait to witness this autumn at the same venue (I still pay for my own tickets, why? I don’t know… I must be amoung their best customers).

2. Huge production value

Over the last few years touring productions have gotten bigger and better. Before what might have been done in a minimalist fashion can now be as extravagant, fluid and breath taking as that of a West End show. Addams Family does not disappoint. The set is spectacular, it’s realistic and most importantly it’s dynamic which enables it to change from scene to scene, bringing continuity to the illusion of the fantasy of Theatre. I’ve been disappointed before with Sets such as in Sister Act the musical, the set rarely changed. This is not the case here, the ticket price was worth seeing the set alone. The creative team, a list of which are available online here, have done a fabulous job. From set design to lighting to sound it was simply perfect. The live music and the fact that the orchestra were actually in the orchestra pit situated under the stage always adds atmosphere and a certain je ne sais quoi to the production brilliantly led by musical director Andrew Corcoran.

3. The writing is so cleverly composed and It’s funny!

Andrew Lippa’s ( @lippaofficial ‏) music and lyrics are as genius as the Legendary Sondheim and as relevant as that of broadways latest hottest tickets Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton, In The Heights, Bring it on) or Pasek and Paul (Edges, Dear Evan Hansen, A Christmas story). Lippa is also the creator of the stunning ‘The Wild Party’ and ‘ You’re a good man, Charlie Brown’ he leaves taste and quality everywhere he ventures. He has alos worked extensively with the infamous Kristin Chenoweth. As well as being a composer of musical theatre, he also composes much in the Art music or to use the more popularised phrase ‘classical music’ ‘genre’. He is an exceptionally talented writer but not just for his character work and ability to produce an assume ballad but for his witt and charm. His cleaver use of ‘rhyme’ and how he crafts a song filled with innuendo and pun is very reminiscent of Sondheim. It’s brought new hope for the further of Musical Theatre as a standalone genre and medium of story telling.

4. It’s in Dublin…

If you live near, go go go, the next trilling a night out at the theatre you will get is a fifty minute flight away, in LONDON!

This is a stunning production full of wit, character, humour, song and dance. If I was to be hyper critical of anything it would be the plot. Not that I disliked it, I didn’t, but I would have been more enthralled if there had been more at stake. However, its simplicity and execution was a breath of fresh air as often in other shows things can get a little too complicated. The Addams Family is a portrayal of an extra ordinary, eccentric and unusual family. Full of dark but also light and whatever it is that makes us human. Unexpectedly the show investigates and profits on the dynamics at work within the family unit, something which we all come from or have personal experience with. From what may seem unrealistic and inaccessible the use and focus on the family makes this story and this musical very real and ever more relevant in a 21st-century existence.

However, its simplicity and execution was a breath of fresh air as often in other shows things can get a little too complicated. The Addams Family is a portrayal of an extra ordinary, eccentric and unusual family. Full of dark but also light and whatever it is that makes us human. Unexpectedly the show investigates and profits on the dynamics at work within the family unit, something which we all come from or have personal experience with. From what may seem unrealistic and inaccessible the use and focus on the family makes this story and this musical very real and ever more relevant in a 21st-century existence.

4.5 Star’s

🌟🌟🌟🌟 + ½🌟

More info on the Tour; @AddamsFamilyUKTour Website

I so desperately wish I could give the Show 5 Stars because it quite possibly deserves it, but it doesn’t hold the same place in my heart as that of The Bodyguard, Wicked, Miss Saigon or Dreamgirls. Its extremely CLOSE!

Follow Me on Instagram and Twitter @althefiver

Special shout out to my partner in crime…Síofra… She’s quickly becoming one of my favourite people to see a show with, she’s so quick and always on the money. Can’t wait to see more. This blog post is dedicated to her and our friendship!

Luas journey home Siofra & Alan – ‘The Luas Home’, The Addams family – Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin, August 2017

Why I stopped writing…

In creating this blog initially I never really taught about the reasoning behind it, only the fact that I often see many show, mainly musicals, throughout the year. So why not document these journeys into the lives of people and creators of art, while enjoying myself right? Well, life kinda happened…and it fell to the way side.

Life got busy

So I just finished my final year of university studying a BA in Music and Economics. As I prepare to grace maynooth once again with my presence, this time in a hat and gown (which we have to rent….who knew…have we not paid enough?) The true magnitude of what is about to become official is sinking in. I’ll be the first in my immediate family to complete a degree, one of a handful of my cousin’s to have a degree and now join the somewhat prestigious company of my 3 Aunts & 1 Uncle to have such an accomplishment to their names.

This sound like I’m totally up my own you know what and believe me I was recently told this, but it’s not the degree or the fact that I can now put BA at the end of my name. Or that my CV now has more black type compared to 3 years ago. It’s the fact that I set out a goal in my life almost 4 years ago and on September 6th 2017 that goal will come to fruition. I’ve been told it’s ‘only a degree’ or ‘it’s not worth anything anymore’. It’s not just a degree it’s been the majority of my life for the past 2 if not 3 years, my blood sweat and tears has gone into this ‘piece of paper’ ( note this is not a metaphor, I did cry, I did sweat a lot especially when printers don’t print and yes I bled….maybe once). This is the single biggest accomplishment of my life and I’m so proud of myself.

Just to blow a little more smoke, sure why not….bring in the dry ice people!!! I did this all while maintaining my role as an Events coordinator on the MU musical society committee. Having a part- time job working with my dad and possibly the best year of a social life I’ve ever had so far. I’ve met some of my dearest friends in my life, performed a leading role in a musical at the Helix with Westside Performing Arts. Oh and for the last year I was a member of the senior Petra dance company also with Westside, a 2.5hrs intense dance class every Thursday and the odd weekend. Granted I did miss some, but a mere handful.

So you see you sometimes you CAN have it all, balance is the phrase I like to use…. Although this blog did suffer.

Mental health

As with anything, mental health is so important. In my experience it’s much like the weather, the Irish weather. Your expecting a hot 21-degree August and you get a full, wet and windy October and sometimes the reverse. From what I’ve learned through meeting and talking with others is that everyone suffers some kind of hardship in there life, it’s not always visible. But everyone at one point in there life will suffer from a blip without WiFi or a bump in the road. That’s why they invented Botox for the 50 plus and why middle aged men buy motor bikes they ride for 5 days of the year and it gathers dust for the other 360.

So I’m proud to say, yeah someday’s were hard, someday’s were unbearable but someday’s were filled with joy, hope and great people and in the end that outweighed all the rain, hail and snow. As an Irish person talking about such issues can be hard as we move into a new era of liberation of our people, we didn’t gain true independence on the day of that infamous declaration, the grips of dark and dangerous institutions still ruled mind and vision. Now 100 years on we have become a more liberal and understanding society, sex out of wedlock, marriage of two people in love who happen to be queer…I hasten to use the word gay because people picture camp, white males and most likely controversially, not LQBTQ+ because it can often leave many out. Queer Britain, on BBC3  is available worldwide on YouTube and is heart warmingly presented by the wonderful @RiyadhK Go watch it! (Queer Britain ~ Episode 1, YouTube). Now the most prominent fight, the for the full and equal treatment of both sexes. Why in such a liberal capitalist society, do we still judge and number and categories and bully and hate and kill and destroy.

What makes life and the human race so special is that yes we are different, individual and an incomparably unique mix of DNA, carbon, water, personality, sound and interests but we are also very much the same. We all feel pain, we all have and will experience loss, we all eat, laugh, cry and breathe the same air. We were born and we shall die. What makes us so special is our ability to be different and the same in one moment of time. The true weight of what Ellen DeGeneres always says at the end of her show, possibly the most generous despite the latter of her name, ‘be kind to one another’ rings through…. in my experience be kind to yourself first and be kind to one another too.

Ruby Wax (@Rubywax) has done excellent work in the area of mental health, Having studied psychotherapy and later achieved a master’s in Mindfulness based cognitive therapy from Oxford University. She has released two books which I’d highly recommend as they provide not only a scientific insight into how our brains work. She also provides practical skills and techniques for dealing and coping with many things such as stress, anxiety and depression among others. Her books are ‘Sane New world’ and ‘A mindfulness guide for the frazzled’. She brings here highly acclaimed tour on the subject of her research and her story to Ireland in October 2017, further details on her website, here.

A Lack of audience = unsuccessful

We live in a digital world, people are always connected and information, reliable or otherwise, is a click or tap away. However, it’s incredibly hard to get exposure for what your doing/creating these days without the backing of a ‘team’ or a company behind you. Apparently, endorsement is everything.  Personal or commercially that kind of exposure is hard to come by. We live in an age where popularity certifies whether something is of value. This is often true but it would be wrong to say just because you’re not ‘trending’ or ‘reaching’ large audiences that your work is not credible or of value.

I now see this blog more like a personal diary or a memory bank. Just like those growing theater programmes that now grace my grandparent’s former chest of drawers. It serves as a memory of what happened and how my previous self thought in past moments compared to here and now. I intend to carry on despite the popularity or reception, in an effort to create something I’m proud of and can use as a tool to remember. Resilience is everything.

Follow my journey on Instagram @althefiver and/orTwitter @althefiver – Thanks reasd getting this far!

Once – the musical, Dublin 2017

  • BOOK by Enda Walsh
  • MUSIC & LYRICS by Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová

In early July I took a trip to temple bar with some friends to see once the musical at the olyimpa. What happened next was unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced.

This is a truly a one of a kind musical experience, one which propelles itself outward from the land of musical theatre to sit somewhere between a play, a screenplay and a traditional Irish ‘session’, in the musical sense. If you often find that ‘musical theatre per se is not for you (….does those people exist) then this is a production I would highly recommend.

I had only heard the feature song ‘falling slowly’ previously having not seen the film staring Glen Hansard or any previous performance online or in person from its lengthly runs both on Broadway and the westend. I was thoroughly surprised and engage from the get go. Once was one of the most submersible theatre experiences I’ve had in quite a while, perhaps ever. That being said much of the score I won’t go home singing along to with the exception of the feature song previously mentioned.

However this is far from the point, this show pulls together so much or Irish life and culture and our people that it’s hard to believe it’s not real. The realism of character, setting and song all carried beautifully by the cast makes this an experience I shan’t forget. Possibly for the first time ever I was brought on a journey that happened in the streets of dublin, in a musical format, which depicts Ireland. These people could of been anyone I know, friends, family, neighbours. You totally don’t even care that the characters don’t have names, really, that’s kinda cool like…..

The real take away is not any fancy flying witches, or a tall as tall can be barricades. It is in the simplicity of the story and the story telling itself. Everything else falls to the seems of the moment and you suddenly find yourself submerged in a life and a dilemma comparable to that of heartfelt, personal and intense motion picture. Hard to replicate on stage but this succeeds, without question.

The unique element of actors who sing but who are also musicians makes this production quite unique and adds so much character and life to the work. Bearing in mind that all this occurs on your door step I think you would really be missing out on something possibly life changing if you didn’t see it at least once this summer at its home, untill September, the olyimpa. Unlike anything I’ve seen professionally, with an Oscar, 8 Tony awards, a Grammy and an Olivier to its name! I just can’t believe it took me Paige Diskin and 2017 to get there.

I want to go back… 4 Star’s****

Author: Alan young

Once runs until 26 AUGUST 2017.

http://oncemusical.ie/ https://youtu.be/gJ6zlU0gW68

Chicago: the musical

When I heard this Kander and Ebb classic was going on tour and treading the boards in one of Dublin’s most beautiful theaters, I simply had to ramble around my friends and go! Apart from a few minor issues, overall the show was very enjoyable and didn’t disappoint.

The entire company and crew of the UK tour of Chicago put on a real spectacle of a show. Accompanied by a huge on stage orchestra which took some getting used to aesthetically but halfway through the first act it became part of the furniture. The orchestra almost acted as another character in the show which I’ve never scene done before, especially the conductor, he was full of life and added comic relief in spades, which at times was needed. The company was excellent, and at all times glistened in the light of Bob fosse. Even when they sat side of stage as there were no wings, you could see the company at all time. This was a minimalist production and if you’re headed here to see a show with all the bells and whistles you’re headed to the wrong place. But there is something beautiful in the simple; it allows the plot and characters to shine through.

The main take away from this production was two words SAM BAILEY. Like the popular Irish liquor she didn’t hold back, her performance against performers who Act as a main discipline before singing was truly outstanding. Her “when your good to mama” was by far the take away performance of the night. Sam was made to play Mama Morton, but I was left disappointed by the fact that there was only one solo in this show for her. I’ve never seen a full scale production of Chicago, which meant I was impressionable and Sam certainly did this. She follows a recurring trend of X factor stars treading the boards and doing it successfully. Is this a worrying trend? No! not if they keep turning out Alexandra Burkes, Leona Lewis who takes Nicole Scherzinger place in the CATS revival on Broadway with special mention to Shane ward on corrie! It wasn’t just Sam bailey’s house shaking singing ability but the acting performance was some of the finest I’ve seen, you’d swear she’s been doing it forever. Sam goes on solo tour next year {2017} and if her standout display on this production is anything to go by it’s a show not to be missed.( there’s no dates in ireland… internally crying) Mama appeared in dialogue throughout the show but I wanted to hear that voice. All my prayer where answered when Mama and Velma Kelly played by the very talented Sophie Carmen Jones performed ‘class’. The best version I’ve heard, the harmonies where crisp and almost edible. A funny song with true backbone and subject matter which still rings true forty-one years later, testament to Kander and Ebb, but shows how little society’s changed.

John Partridge was the surprise package of the lot. A triple treat with a powerful and commanding presence, his performance as billy Flynn left nothing to chance and I believed him. There was even a moment where ‘billy’ held a high note for what seemed like forever, he milked every second, and made me work on my breathing exercises on the way home. John exceeded all expectations as I never knew he was so talented, years of Eastender’s and a go at big brother had me convinced otherwise but I was gladly proven wrong. Also having learned later the money earned from his big brother stint was used to pay for his mother’s care makes john even more inspiring. {john on loose women}

Fellow soap start turned dancing on ice thriller Hayley Tamaddon portrayed Roxie heart as she should be, big, bold, selfish, dramatic and a Diva. Her voice may not be the best I’ve ever heard but she suited the role perfectly, a very strong performance.

Amos was not seen but heard loud and clear, Neil Ditt brought humor and comedy to the role, a clear audience favorite. ‘Mr. Cellophane’ was as good as I’ve seen or heard.

So what would I change…..

  • The ‘cell block tango’ having seen the all-male Broadway backward version here, I was left wanting more from this somewhat lack luster version. We know they can all dance but I just wanted them to show us what they really could do.
  • The death scene – was anti-climactic, a rope falling from the ceiling isn’t exactly an execution. But this was down to a production flaw.
  • I cautiously post this here, just for fun I’d love to see Roxie played by ms. jones and Velma by Hayley Tamaddon. But then again maybe not, im not a casting director!

Musical theatre royalty; Kander & Ebb, Bob fosse….. fell in love with ther work all over again.

This production get 4 stars ****

Below: my amazing and very talented Friends (and me)


The UK tour of Chicago continues and further details can be found here

Chicago uk tour on Twitter

Bord Gais Energy Theatre 19th of May 2016.

The bodyguard


The bodyguard now in its 500th show on tour has been a major success for a number  of years. First realised as a Hollywood blockbuster starting Kevin Costner and in 1992 the relatively unknown Whitney Houston. The film not only struck audiences worldwide for its impressive and engaging storyline but for it incredible Music, many of the songs featured in the film have become worldwide hits including one of the all-time bestselling singles ‘I will always love you’ originally written and performed by the great Dolly Parton. I was a huge fan of this film and still am but the production shines in all its glory in the musical genre.

The incredible talent that is Alexandra Burke headlines the production now still Touring and her performance in this show is unbelievable. All things considered I knew her vocal would be good given her rise to fame on the Xfactor in 2008. There she covered whitney’s ‘I wanna dance with somebody’ (watch here) but this was just a taster of her true talent, this role was made for her. I was sceptical of her acting ability and the issues she may have had with the American accent but all my fears vanished in the opening bars of this unforgettable production. Her portrayal of Rachel marron in this show was both refreshing and breathe taking. She lived in her. She was Rachel Marron. The audience immediately forgot Alex and became enthralled in the story. she embodied the voice of Whitney and the moves of Tina turner with her incredible talent, a truly winning combination.88058

I attended the closing night performance of the show at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre (Dublin, May 2015) no expense was spared on the production and from the word go the raging flames caught my imagination and the ‘queen of the night’ blew us all away, exceeding all my high expectations. The leads and ensemble were so good I almost forgot the film existed and was completely engaged it the real story happening before my eyes. The performers brought a sense of urgency and ‘realness’ to the performance. This wasn’t a copycat production of the film this was a standalone modern rendition of the plot which left the audience speechless.  The lightening and live music were used to heightened dramatic effect to lead the audience into moments of utter suspense and fear, so much so, many had to vocalised this fear with horror film like screams! other famous songs featured include ‘ I have nothing’, ‘ I wanna run to you’ and ‘million dollar bill’ (not in the origional film) full praise goes to the musical direction  on this production lead by Chris Egan, Mike Dixon & Richard Beadle. The orchestration and musical interludes made the show and helped hugely in the transformation to the musical genre.


I’ve two standout moments….

  1. Melissa James as Nikki Marron, this girl is unstoppable, her voice was so endearing and emotional, a true talent and a future star.
  2. ‘I will always love you’ when Alexandra hit that key change I stood up, it was too much to bear! Incredible!

The bodyguard is still on its uk and us tour and heads back to london’s westend July 15th 2016 staring Beverley Knight, if I was you I’d run and get tickets.

Alexandra burke will return to the Bord gais and Deloris Van Cartier in Sister act the musical  the role made famous by Whoopi Goldberg. I’ll be there!!

5 stars*****

I’d also like to personally thank Lawrence Kasdan for his Screenplay and the influence its had on me, only for his creativity, skill and persistence in getting the production behind ‘The Bodyguard’ it would never have existed.

The uk tour trailer   The uk tour Soundtrack

below: when I was the bodyguard….


Alan Young


Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome


Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome.

So this is my blog. Wow finally!!!! So ‘lets entertain you’ is dedicated to letting you know all the shows that have entertained me. I’ll be reviewing productions I’ve been too, giving you my thoughts on the arts and entertainment, and No, Not just Broadway and the westend!

I’ll be adding music and performances you just got to see before you die and of course hopefully making you laught along the way.

I’m Alan, I’m 20 years old and from Ireland. Im an aspiring performer. Actor, singer, dancer and all round funny guy… love me ( yes I may have trust issues) I hope you enjoy this blog full of thoughts from my head.

Remember everyone has something to say and a story to tell. All you have to do is listen, learn and find yours.