Whistle Down The Wind Hits The Right Notes

Posted on May 20, 2010


As the first musical to take to the stage in this new, fabulous venue, Whistle Down The Wind was always going to be watched closely. The venue itself is truly remarkable, a fantastic feat of engineering in which the acoustics are perfect and everything about it exudes class.

The show itself has an off-Broadway feel to it. Lacking the extravagant, commercialised style of say, Phantom or Les Mis, but that’s not to take from any of the three shows, Whistle Down The Wind just has a more relaxed independent feel to it.

Whistle Down The Wind tells the story of Swallow, an innocent young girl who finds a man hiding in her father’s barn. Startling him as she asks who he is, his response of ‘Jesus Christ’ sets in motion the confusion which spirals towards the explosive and fantastically realised conclusion. The stage effects for this are to be commended.

Jonathan Ansell can only be described as magnificent in the lead role with a powerful, anguished performance as the man who ‘hasn’t a prayer’. Fantastic also is Carly Bawden playing the angelic young Swallow. The children’s chorus (members of Stagecoach Dublin) deserve a special mention also.

A mixture of rock music, angry ballads and a beautiful children’s rendition of ‘No Matter What’ guide the audience through this wonderful tale of innocence and hope. The title song is performed by Bawden and father Boone (Lincoln Stone) with a haunting sweetness, which then sporadically underscores the rest of the show.

The supporting cast are also excellent, with the secondary characters and subplots well established within the main narrative. ‘Tire Tracks and Broken Hearts’ is a rocking cry for escape from our characters, whilst knowing that the chance will never come.

As aforementioned, WDTW has an independent quality to it. Despite being a smash hit show, it feels almost more exclusive. In a sense, it’s untainted by the hype that surrounds so many of the musicals running at present. But this only serves to make the viewing more fulfilling. It’s special because it feels like something different.

As debuts go, this first musical for Grand Canal scores highly. Perhaps they are starting as they mean to go on.

Highly recommended.

Posted in: Reviews