Saturday, November 10, 2012

Celtic Thunder "Storm" DVD Review

Filmed in 2009, Celtic Thunder finally released their DVD of "Storm" in 2011. Storm is different from anything else Celtic Thunder has done. Instead of the normal concert format associated with the show, they experimented with a production heavy in musical theater. The story revolves around an Ireland of earlier times and showcases the conflict between the Irish villagers and the Gypsies.

The show is a real plus for musical theater lovers, full of enjoyable songs and entertaining dancers. Yes, Celtic Thunder actually dances. Although they did hire some actual dancers to make it look more polished. The characters played by Ryan Kelly, Keith Harkin, and Damian McGinty are well-developed and engage you into the story right away. Ryan, Keith, and Paul Byrom are all surprisingly good actors, while Damian is adorable enough that you overlook that he isn't quite. Caroline Torti is the dancer cast as the Gypsy King's sister and is a real asset to the production of the show. There is a lot going on.

However, "a lot going on" is also the show's main shortcoming. There are some big holes in writing, which seem to stem from trying to do too much in too little time. There is an effort to make the importance and effect of each principal equal to all the others, and it just doesn't work for everyone. The show is only an hour in length and that is quite simply not enough time to develop the characters of all the principals equally and adequately. In particular, the characters played by Paul and George Donaldson are written somewhat weakly. They perform their songs well, but their characters aren't associated closely enough with the central conflict to make you care about them. It also can't be quite ignored that the plot is left hanging at the end. It's almost like the actors left at intermission and forgot to come back to wrap up their storylines.

All that said, the show is very enjoyable to watch and still figures into my top three favorite productions. If you are a fan of musical theater at all, I'd recommend giving it a try.

The Great

Basically all of Ryan, Keith, and Damian's solos.

Storm is a great vehicle for Ryan, who has a strong background in and a fantastic talent for theater. Essentially, this is his signature Dark Destroyer dressed up as a sexy Gypsy. It's Win/Win, ladies. His songs, Outside Looking In and Midnight Well, are up-tempo, growly and raspy. Definitely in his element.

When You Are 18 is a really cute song for Damian. He is adorable and engaging. I'm  not entirely sure why he's dressed like Bam-Bam from the Flintstones, but it's a sweet number.

Stand and Deliver is also a fun song. Keith is vivid, energetic, and really surprised me with his acting ability here. Nicely done. The silent movie that plays in the background is meant to explain and move the story forward.  But, it's sometimes a little confusing, so pay attention as you'll need the information in it to understand some of the remaining plot.

Look At Me is a highly entertaining duet in which Keith and Damian face off. Damian is an absolute crack-up trying to win Keith over, and you just can't help but smile.

Shadows Dancing is not something I expected to love. The vocals are sung by Charley Bird (also heard on CT's Christmas DVD/CD) but lipsynced by dancer Caroline Torti. None of the CT principals sing in it at all, but I really love the song. The tune is catchy, the dancing is gorgeous to watch, and Keith's participation in the choreography is positively smouldering.

The Good

Life in the Old Dog Yet is a smiley song from George that explains the background for his character. Warm, engaging and pleasant to the ear.

Hail the Hero
Harmonically, Lagan Love is probably the prettiest song in the show. Sung by Neil Byrne, Paul, Damian, and George, the harmonies are beautiful. But, it lacks a solid place in the story's narrative. (The same goes for Deidre Shannon's "Harry's Game," appearing later in the show.)

Tender is the Night is a lovely duet between Paul and Deidre. Paul is actually a really solid actor, and I find myself wishing his storyline was a little stronger so I'd care about him more.

Hail the Hero is the final song in the show. It's a nice end with strong vocals and a great cadence. Worth a watch for the mandancing alone.  You'll see what I mean.

The Skippable

New Day Dawning is the opening song and the first exposure to the setting.  It's not really bad, just not delightfully memorable. Not the One is a pretty Paul ballad, but maybe a bit too light?  George's This Was My Life is sweet; it just lacks relevant story.


  1. Well said. For people who like musical theater, it's fun. For those new to CT, if you can get over the "left at intermission" part that Joanne mentioned, it's a nice hour of music and drama. If your own imagination doesn't fill in the blanks, Joanne's Adaptation blogs can help with that :D


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