You either love or loathe Leesa Harker. Like most people, I’m in the LOVE camp, but for those few who aren’t, you can’t help but feel her infectious and warm (but raw) humour come through in her hilarious writing (Fifty Shades of Red, White & Blue, Maggie Muff etc).
I was excited to see her new (sold out) Real Housewives show last week for two reasons: one, I just love her balance of piss-taking and love for the ordinary folk of this part of the world; and two because I had secured a role for one of our models, Johnny Hamilton, as a buff ‘peeler’ in a scene which comes alive to the 1980s Bonnie Tyler hit ‘I Need a Hero’ (with ‘hero’ swapped out for ‘peeler’). L-to-the-O-to-the-L. His character is somewhat based on the Facebook phenomenon that is/was Bobby Singleton, a regular PSNI spokesperson who unwittingly became lust-fodder for the wimmen on ‘Bakebook after a couple of police statement videos in the last year or two.
Speaking of Bonnie’s hit, there are a few more 80s classics reworked with lyrics from the Norn Iron vernacular. Think ‘buck’, ‘boke’, ‘scundered’ and so on. Geg. It’s the first time Leesa has beefed up her plays with musical theatre and it definitely works. The audience, which is mostly women in their 30s, 40s and 50s, remembers the 1980s first time around and so the ante is well and truly upped on the overall atmosphere in the theatre. The buzz and banter is real.
Like Sex and the City, even if you don’t identify with one character completely, you can probably relate to at least parts of their personalities or life experiences. Or you know someone just like them.
The cast, which includes Caroline Curran, Roisin Gallagher, Rosie McClelland, Diona Doherty sees them thrown together as housewives from every walk of life flung together for a ‘Real Housewives’ TV show with a sleazy producer (Patrick McBrearty). The comedy sees secrets revealed and filth come out in a playing field which becomes more and more levelled as the TV show (and the play) goes on.
To tell you any more would be a spoiler, so if you haven’t got tickets for the next run at the Opera House later this summer, then try to grab tickets for the touring show across NI over the next month. I challenge you to not get a sore belly from hearty laughs.
You can purchase tickets by visiting the Grand Opera house here: https://www.goh.co.uk/whats-on/the-real-housewives-of-norn-iron/