All posts by Richard O'Connor

Irish Open 2015: Tournament eclipses all others for Simon Thornton

Newcastle based professional golfer Simon Thornton has confirmed he could be playing in this year’s Irish Open.

Portugal Masters - Day Three
Simon Thornton is eager to play RCD in May.

 

The Royal County Down (RCD) in Newcastle will host the prestigious event in May.

Simon hopes to obtain one of the eight wildcards that would see him playing against Rory McIlroy et al. at the world famous club.

But Thornton’s performance last year could scupper his chances:

“If the RCD were holding the event in any of the last three years then I would have got in no problem but last year I didn’t play as well as I could have”, he said.

Simon explained that all he can do now is wait:

“I have to go through the protocol. You have to ask the European Tour, who during the tournament will take over the golf club.

“I will have people putting for me within the club and I would like to think I would be chosen. I will know sometime within the next month.”

Simon eulogises the RCD which he came to work for 17 years ago:

“I don’t think there is anywhere quite like it in the world of golf. There’s just something different about it, it has a mystique. You can’t describe it, it’s just there.

This is the first major tournament held at RCD for some time. The club last hosted the Irish Open in 1939.

But the Bolton native is quick to dismiss any suggestions that RCD lags behind Royal Portrush in the Northern Ireland golfing scene:

“It’s (Royal Portrush) the most dominant in the way it markets itself. It’s just the way the RCD likes to be, they keep themselves to themselves, they’re more traditional.”

He also suggested that the Newcastle course could hold the British Open in the future, citing its proximity to Belfast, high standard of accommodation and Newcastle’s current renaissance:

“Its certainly a thriving place now and its great. People seem more involved, it’s a real buzzing little town.”

Making History Getty
McIlroy and some well-known faces.

Thornton who travels the world playing in major tournaments feels this one eclipses the rest:

“I will be very disappointed if I don’t get on. It’s not often you get to play in such a prestigious event and in your home golf club.

“With Rory being heavily involved and the quality of the talent that’s coming, it would be unbelievable to play in that, its’s like a major”, he said.

But Thornton says he will not be watching from the sidelines if he is not chosen:

“I wouldn’t be involved. My living is playing golf so if I don’t play in the Irish open I’ll be playing somewhere else. The Czech Challenge tournament is on that week so I won’t even be in the town”.

For more details: https://www.facebook.com/nmdcouncil

 

 

The Addams Family, Annesly Hall, Newcastle, review

This production is big on laughs but lacking in depth, and that’s just fine, says Richard O’Connor.

11002611_828752890533488_1859452394593452454_nThe Newcastle Glees production of The Addams Family opened last night to a sold-out Annesley Hall.

This Broadway comedy-hit is a deviation from the Glees usual fair of “golden-age” musicals.

Casting was outstanding with Gomez (Niall McLean), the suave, wise-cracking Addams patriarch and Wednesday (Sarah King), his coming of age daughter, in particular wowing the audience with their acting and singing abilities.

Plot

The play opens with an illicit engagement between Wednesday and “normal” boy Lucas Beineke (Chris Poland).

A culture clash ensues when Lucas’s all-American parents land at the Addams family mansion to meet their altogether more gothic future in-laws.

Both families are ordered by the young couple to act normal, and they oblige to comic effect. All goes well until a post-dinner engenders a series of fall-outs:

Mr Beineke (Dean Richman), not impressed by the spooky shenanigans on offer is at odds with his ditzy, more accepting wife (Emma Jane-McKnight). Vamp-like Morticia Adams (Carol-Anne McKay) is furious at Gomez for keeping the engagement a secret. And Wednesday breaks off the engagement when Lucas refuses to elope.

The story follows these couples as they proceed to make-up in time for the wedding finale, which in typical Addams style, takes on a comic-funereal aura.

Subplots, including Uncle Fester’s affair – and resultant offspring –  with the moon, add to the zaniness of this 2.5 hour production.

Thoughts

This fast paced show is big on laughs with little plot or character development, but this is one of the reasons it is so enjoyable.

What it lacks in substance it makes up for in slap-stick and the sheer exuberance of its all-singing all-dancing antics.

The costumes are exceptional with the transformation of Glees old-hand Careen Starkey into the repulsive yet loveable Fester a master-stroke.

Equally breath-taking is the set which transports the audience from splendid wood-panelled interiors to minimalist steamy exteriors with ease, adding to the quick-fire feel of the show.

One scene stands-out for its deviation in tone from the rest, but also for the quality of the emotions portrayed:

Gomez runs into Wednesday in the the twilight and tells her he is happy she has found love but sad she is no-longer his little girl. This emotional dichotomy is beautifully expressed in the touching song “Happy-sad”.

The score is bursting with memorable tunes comparable to any Rodgers and Hammerstein ensemble, albeit with a more comical slant.

However the orchestra-pit standing empty was disappointing. The live music brought an extra touch of class to previous Glees productions and this atmosphere was lacking. I Hope to see its return in 2016.

Concluding Remarks

Go see this show. It will certainly brighten up your evening.

Don’t expect to take much away from it except aching sides, catchy tunes and a realization that there is an outstanding pool of talent on your own doorstep.

Untill Saturday 21 March. Tickets: McCready’s Shoe Style, Newcastle, 02843723491

 

Richard O’Connor