Reviews

Mary Kenny's Allegiance, as produced by Footsteps NI in Belfast's Brian Friel Theatre, is a verbal, stately exercise in bonding that sends out a rich and timely message about democracy and identity. About what two sides of a freedom fighting coin could gain, or even lose, from doing the very thing the Twelfth Doctor would advise them to do: sit down and talk.

This imaginative reinvention of what happened when Winston Churchill, played by Robert Forshaw, invited Irish revolutionary Michael Collins, played by co-director Daniel McDermott, into his home in 1921, is notably slow-burning. A first act which borders dangerously on plodding nonetheless lays intriguingly wordy foundations from which McDermott and directing partner Conor Ferrin later unearth true forcefulness, both through Kenny's script and Forshaw's commanding performance.

One definite question to draw from both the historic meeting and the play is this: is allegiance, let alone democracy, even possible? Are Churchill and Collins, strictly speaking, democrats, or are they ideologists, uniting people behind a cause for the sake of personal pride and legends? There are wartime horrors to be drawn from the art of conversation: ego measurement and class divisions in the pursuit of singular goals, where dreams of genuine unity are just that: dreams.

A silence fills large parts of the play when there ought to be music, something to fill the gaps and inspire belief that just isn't there. And when we do hear music, namely Churchill's rendition of "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles", it is a hymn to the fallen amidst the minute fragility which exists in even the best-intentioned of pursuits. A lament for a deceased girl whose life, like Lyra McKee's, ended before it even began. As such, like much of Allegiance itself, it is gently shattering. Perhaps we had the right agreement long before Good Friday – we just hadn't the right mindset to implement it. That is the power and the tragedy of both history and the production.

Simon Fallaha

Review of Production of Allegiance, Brian Friel Theatre, Belfast, April 2019

We stayed here a few years ago and decided to return as we had enjoyed our stay so much. This time was equally as good. Zoe checked us in at reception and was very friendly and helpful. Our room was beautifully decorated and thankfully there was a fan in the room as it was quite a hot day. We enjoyed a few drinks in the lovely seating area near the foyer. It is such a relaxing hotel to stay in. We had booked to take part in the Murder Mystery Dinner Cruise and it was a great evening of delicious food and wonderful entertainment. 
The Manor House has everything for a wonderful break!

Guest @ Murder On The Lake, Dinner Cruise Murder Mystery

Provision of Historical Characters

Cockle Row Cottages

“ Footsteps have always been a fantastic supplier of Living History characters and services for our events. Their attention to detail, historical knowledge and expertise in Living history is second to none. Many thanks and keep up the good work

 

Ards & North Down Borough Council

Alex Irvine, Tourism Officer

Murder Mystery Services

Todd's Leap, Ballygawley

“ I just want to say a huge thanks to all the staff of Footsteps who have provided yet another fantastic murder mystery evening here at Todds Leap. They are professional, flexible, easy to work with and most importantly brilliant. I can not recommend them highly enough

 

Todd's Leap

Ben O'Hanlon, Owner

Murder Mystery Evening, Riddel Hall, Belfast May 18th 2017

American Airlines, British Airways & American Holidays

“ Murder Mystery nights don’t come much better, the cast from Footsteps, took our guests on a dramatic journey through the evening.

The audience were totally engaged and applause rang out at the end of this professionally produced event.

We will definitely do it again “

 

Northern Ireland Travel News

Jonathan Adair, Owner

Cullain's Feast April 2017

Just a quick note to say thank you for the excellent performance yesterday. The visitors were extremely delighted with the entertainment and we all thoroughly enjoyed your team's performance. Many thanks

Ti Chullain Centre

Event Organiser

Footsteps In The Forest, Slieve Gullion Forest Park, Saturday 27th August 2016

 

Thank you so much for putting on such a fantastic production on Saturday at Slieve Gullion. We are regular visiotrs to the trail and were not expecting such a pheonmonal surprise. My children truly believe it was a magical kingdom and to be honest so did the parents. We were truly taken back by the scale of what your terrific company had produced and you and your performers deserve the greatest of credit for such a fantastic event. 

Dermot McCaffery

Visitor to "Footsteps In The Forest"

Murder At The Gin Joint - The Bank Bar, Newry, 15th April 2016

 

WhatLast night was just something else!!!! The staff (and most especially Anne) were totally blown away by the whole experience!!! It was absolutely fabulous - such a night's craic!!! Thank you all sooooo much for making the evening such a memorable one!!! Will def be using Footsteps again!!! And I also really really loved the smaller group size - so much more involved!!!!!

Katrina Murphy

Newbridge Integrated College, Loughbrickland, Co. Armagh

Game of Murder, The Cuan,  Strangford, County Down,19th March 2016, 

 

I just wanted to thank the staff at The Cuan and the wonderful actors from Footsteps who produced a superb event last evening. The Game of Thrones murder mystery was superb, I love the show and the characters and storyline were in keeping with the themes that are running in the show at the moment. It was a superb evening, with murder and mayhem and we will be back. To Footsteps you deserve to be on the west end.

Eric Porter

Guest @ The Cuan, "Game of Murder", Game Of Thrones Murder Mystery Night

"The Red Windmill" Cabaret Show for The Am/Pm Cabaret Supper Club, September 2015

 

Last Thursday we were lucky enough to find ourselves sat in the luxurious surroundings of the Cabaret Supper Club to see the opening night of their newest show – The Red Windmill Spectacular.Before the show even started in earnest the characters of the play were meandering around the tables,interacting with the customers and chatting away in full costume and with some ludicrous accents. The play itself is set in a club very like the one we were actually sat in, the famous ‘Le Chat Noir‘ in gay Paris. As the play moves from being set backstage, to on the stage, to in and around the club floor, so do the actors throughout, giving it a very immersive and slightly ‘meta’ quality. This sort of theatre dining experience is perfect for the venue.The story itself concerns star-crossed lovers, a crime being committed in the club and a wrongly accused man – all classic themes. The production is helmed by locals – from the writing and directing to all the actors we see, as well as the burlesque acts and fire (yes fire) breathers that make up the impressive ‘on stage’ elements.Being opening night there had to be a few hiccups and we found the first quarter to be a bit rocky, but once the actors found their flow the action started making a lot more sense and everything slipped into a much better flow. In fact when the wedding party upstairs got a bit too loud the actors were able to ad-lib and incorporate it into the act in a hilarious way that had us all laughing some of the biggest laughs of the evening. The action was split across 10 scenes and every scene had a few minutes in between which established a nice pace and allowed for people to wander about, mingle, smoke and go to the loo etc without interrupting the show. I find little things like this can make all the difference and also helps to break this style of immersive theatre away from the traditional 2/3 act structure. The show is billed as a kind of ode to ‘Moulin Rouge’ and features songs from it and other musicals like ‘Les Miserables’ as well as more modern songs, but I can honestly tell you as some-one who has seen neither film that not knowing these references does little to hamper your enjoyment.This is a great original addition to the Cabaret Supper Club and set perfectly for Dinner Theatre, and I guess being set in France would be great with a bottle of Champagne! Oh la la!

Pastie Bap

Belfast

Murder At The Juice Joint" - Murder Mystery Event for Our Lady's Past Pupils Union Annual Gala Event - April 2015

 

"A truly great night had by all!! Quite a few people approached me to heap praises on the event. I always knew it would be good but wasn't sure how the audience would react- needn't have worried. Thanks for being so helpful as well as entertaining."

Moira Magee, Past Pupil's Union, Our Lady's Grammar school

Newry

DOE Road Safety Contract September 2014 - March 2015

 

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and your team for the excellence you provided for the period of your contract.  The three Road Safety Productions were created & delivered to the highest of standards and the feedback has been very positive with many saying that your productions were the best to have been delivered in their schools.   It hasbeen a pleasure working with you."

Christine Tolerton, DOE Road Safety Strategy & Education Branch

Belfast

Bike Tastic - Cycle Safety DOE Theatre In Education Programme Reviews  February 2015

 

"I would like to express my sincere thanks to you on behalf of the boys and girls of Cloughmills Primary School, for enabling Footsteps theatre company to visit our school this morning with their performance of Bike-tastic.  The whole school, thoroughly enjoyed the performance, which was highly effective in delivering road safety education through the medium of drama.  We invited the children’s parents to join us for the performance and their feedback was extremely positive.  Children from our neighbouring school St. Brigid’s also attended, thus ensuring that the important safety messages highlighted this morning, are being discussed in homes this evening, across the whole Cloughmills community. Many thanks again."    Peter Crabbe, Principal, Cloughmills PS

 

"Thank you for including St. Mary’s in the showcasing of the “Bike-Tastic” show. Both pupils and staff thoroughly enjoyed the show whilst learning at the same time. A very valuable message was communicated to the children through the use of drama – a very worthwhile and enjoyable presentation." Margaret , Rathfriland Primary School

 

"Just wanted to let you know how much the children enjoyed the ‘Biketastic’ Play.  It really highlighted the importance of wearing a helmet in a fun yet informative manner.  The kids (and big kids!!!) thoroughly enjoyed it and I hope that more shows like this will be available to schools in the future.  The actors were fabulous and understood their audience so well.  Thank you for bringing such an important message to Iveagh." Jan, Iveagh PS

 

"I just wanted to drop you a note to thank you for arranging the performance in school yesterday. The 'Footsteps' group were excellent and really got across the message of bicycle safety. The children thoroughly enjoyed the play but also learnt some very important messages. Thanks again." 

Janet Douds, Principal, Taughmonagh PS

 

"I wanted to let you know that Footsteps, who visited school today, were terrific. The drama was very engaging and as I am teaching a particularly challenging class this year I was struck by how interested and focussed the children were. The team were professional, warm, hilarious and well organised and delivered a strong road safety message in an exciting way.Thank you again and please pass this on to the team." Janet Smyth, Springhill Primary School

2014

Various

Northern Ireland

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