Paul Boyd's musical version of Victor Hugo's classic novel "Notre Dame de Paris" - Hunchback The Musical - was commissioned by Northern Ireland's Theatre At The Mill where the show premiered in December 2013 .
Hunchback The Musical was Paul's 22nd original stage musical, the first of two commissions for Theatre At The Mill, and was based upon a 1994 musical adaptation that Paul had written based on the same novel.
The show begins when three stained glass windows in Notre Dame cathedral, each depicting a female saint (the Belles of Notre Dame), come to life in order to tell the story of Quasimodo, the disfigured boy who lives in the cathedral's belfry. The story that unfolds begins with Quasimodo being rescued as a baby by an optimistic young priest called Frollo; many years later when Frollo is the bitter and hated Archdeacon of the cathedral we again meet Quasimodo, now a young man in love with the gypsy dancer Esmeralda whom he watches from afar. Esmeralda is in turn in love with the captain of the city guards Phoebus, and the young couple are hated and despised by a jealous Frollo. Queen of the gypsies Clopina realises that Frollo is in cohoots with the city's sultry executioner La Tortura and is planning to purge the city of her people, and so Clopina commands the gypsy clan to leave; but Emeralda's love for Phoebus makes it difficult for her to go, just as Frollo's unrequited love for Esmeralda makes it near impossible for him to carry out her execution. But Frollo's hate proves stronger than his love, and when Esmeralda is caught and condemned to death, only the boy high up in the belfry can save her from the gallows.
"skillful and impressive ... Writer, composer and
director Paul Boyd has created something special"
Hunchback The Musical is a full-length musical featuring songs that have already become some of Paul's most popular and best-selling, including Quasimodo's ballad "Like I Can", La Tortura's anthem "Femme Fatale", the rousing gypsy chorus "Intellectual Us", Frollo's unsettling "Beware", and of course the uptempo vocal stylings of "The Belles of Notre Dame".
Paul Boyd's acclaimed musical adaptation of the literary classic
"HE STOOPS TO CONQUER ... HUNCHBACK IS A HIT FOR THEATRE AT THE MILL ★★★★
Victor Hugo's Gothic classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame isn't perhaps the most seasonal of tales, but in the raunchy and rocking 'Hunchback: The Musical', Newtownabbey's Theatre at the Mill has come up with a real Christmas cracker.
The audience at last night's opening performance may have been expecting a tragic, sombre affair along the lines of 'The Phantom of the Opera', but what they got was faster, filthier and a lot more fun. From the moment a trio of nuns in sparkling habits took their position as the sort of Greek chorus Mel Brooks might approve of, it was clear we were in less than serious territory. It's safe to say no other Christmas show will give you a soldier character named Private Parts, a captain singing about "the men you have under you" or buxom beauties that could have stepped straight out of Hill's Angels.
As ever with his productions, Ballyclare-born writer and director Paul Boyd entwined a compelling narrative with saucy, sassy songs and imaginative choreography. This wasn't quite on a 'Molly Wobbly's Tit Factory' level of smut, but there were flashes of everything from the The Two Ronnies to Blackadder in the innuendo-laden musical numbers, the slapstick physical gags and the broadly written characters. Yet although 'Hunchback: The Musical' was played principally for laughs, it could be dark or sentimental when it needed to be. Christopher Finn's acrobatic turn as Quasimodo gave us the archetypal sympathetic monster, while Ciara Louise Baxter's moving turn won the audience's hearts as Esmerelda. And as if that wasn't enough, the show has the best 'bells' pun you're ever likely to hear in a Hunchback of Notre Dame adaptation." Belfast Telegraph
"To borrow a word from Craig Revel Horwood – Fann-Tass-Tick. Even he would approve of ‘Hunchback the Musical’ which opened on Monday night in the Theatre at the Mill Newtownabbey.
A raunchy tail of the Archdeacon of Notre Dame Cathedral (John O’Mahony) who falls in love with a gypsy girl Esmerelda (Ciara Louise Baxter) and if he can’t have her then no one will, he decrees she will die for her folly of rejecting his romantic passes. However, as she says herself, ‘you’re old you’re ugly’, her heart is set on the Captain of the Guard Captain Phoebus (Julius Metson Scott). But Captain Phoebus is fickle, cares more for his men than any mere woman.
But to start at the beginning. The scene is set by the Three Belles, sparkly hip swinging nuns with a twinkle in their eyes and a song in their hearts. They guide us through the story in which each of these actresses plays a major role, Ciara Louise goes from nun to gypsy girl stolen when she was a baby, Kate England is the scarlet femme fatale La Tortura and Roxanne Saili becomes the glorious gap toothed Clopina, Queen of the Gipsies with her colourful community played by two dozen children from Stagecoach Belfast and believe me, there is some talent there, not a foot wrong and living their parts. As the music builds we’re outside the Cathedral 20 years ago. A baby is left on the steps, it is ugly, hairy and misshapen – a monkey gone wrong says one passersby.
Now it’s 20 years later and baby Quasimodo (Christopher Finn) has grown up, still a distorted figure of a man living in the bell tower of the Cathedral. The gypsies have gathered in Paris to hold the Fools Parade and amongst them is a lovely young woman, Esmeralda, spirited away years before by the Queen. Certainly wheels within wheels! A mother looking for her stolen daughter, a man of the cloth pressurising the same young woman, Queen of the gipsies trying to save her and Quasimodo breaking his heart over his love for Esmeralda yet knowing she will have nothing to do with such a freak of a man. But he’s clever, he has mastered the difficult art of aerial ribbons and he climbs high above the stage on the lengths of red silk to look down on Paris from the bell tower – skillful and impressive staging.
Writer, composer and director Paul Boyd and producer Bernard Clarkson have created something special, we were held in the grip of the story as it swung between actors and children. Congratulations to Sarah Johnston choreographer and a special word for Matthew Reeve the music director. The band were fantastic, I can’t believe there were only four musicians, Andrew Lavery, David Mayes, Michael Currie and Joel Murphy. The zingy base notes made the seats vibrate. There are shades of Cabaret in this production, hints of Oliver and reminiscent of a Parisian Review so it can’t go wrong. A very impressive show, I hope people will make a point of going to the Theatre at the Mill to enjoy an excellent evening’s entertainment." Belfast Times
"THE BELLS SING OUT IN A FAMILY MUSICAL TREAT
Ballyclare-born writer and director Paul Boyd has a real Christmas cracker on his hands with 'Hunchback: the Musical'. Currently running at The Theatre at the Mill in Newtownabbey, the show brings together something for everyone - with catchy songs, imaginative dance routines, glittery costumes, jokes that only adults will appreciate and plenty of fun for kids too. Mix it all together with passion, murder and sentiment and you have a show well worth a night out.
It may not be typical Christmas fare, but that’s no bad thing. Victor Hugo’s famous gothic novel is brought to life as the audience is transported to the streets of Paris. Set in the bustling medieval city, with gypsy dancers and juggling circus performers, 'Hunchback The Musical' is a vibrant show, with an energetic cast, live music and a excellent live band. Stealing the show the whole way through are the Belles of Notre Dame with their sassy style and excellent voices.
Christopher Finn is in fine form too as Quasimodo, swinging from the heights of the theatre like a true acrobat. There’s also great performances from the youngest members of the cast, giving them the chance to really shine under the spotlights. All in all, the show makes for a grand night out for the whole family." Newtownabbey Times
LIKE I CAN
this version released on the ONE NIGHT STAND album - click here
this version released on the ONE NIGHT STAND album - click here
2013 - Theatre at the Mill
photos by Theatre at the Mill
CAPTAIN IN THE ARMY
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OVERTURE & PROLOGUE
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PHOTOS CLICK TO ENLARGE
POSTERS CLICK TO ENLARGE
World Premiere, Theatre at The Mill December 2013