Ricky Tomlinson returns to the stage in Irish Annie’s musical play

Actor and comedian, Ricky Tomlinson, returns to the stage in Spring to tour in a popular musical comedy that celebrates the best of Irish culture.

It has also been announced that Stephen Fletcher will direct the new version of Irish Annie’s, which has brand-new songs and scenes written by Asa Murphy. The Irish Annie’s tour will commence close to the St Patricks Day celebrations at the William Aston Hall in Wrexham on Monday, 11 March, and will visit a further 25 venues across England, Scotland, Wales; the show will also premiere in Ireland, visiting five venues across the country.

The UK and Ireland tour will come to an end with a special homecoming night at Liverpool Olympia on Saturday, 4 May, which will include some special guests.

Irish Annie’s is a celebration of Irish culture, from the music to the comedy, featuring a live five-piece band The Shenanigans.

Meet landlady Annie and her regular madcap customers for a fun night out of comedy, music and mayhem, featuring original tracks written for the show by Asa Murphy, along with your all-time favourite Irish tunes including Galway Shawl, Tell Me Ma, Dirty Old Town, Whiskey In The Jar, Danny Boy, and many more. The evening promises to have the audience laughing, singing, and dancing the night away.

Ricky Tomlinson will perform as himself as a celebrity guest in the pub. Ricky is a much-loved actor and comedian living all his life in Liverpool, he is best known for his roles as Bobby Grant in Brookside, DCI Charlie Wise in Cracker, and Jim Royle in The Royle Family, he also played the title character in the film Mike Bassett: England Manager.

Ricky said, “This show is a delight to be part of, with a wonderful cast of characters and beautiful original and classic Irish music. Come and enjoy the show and sing-along with the song sheets provided. I guarantee you will have a ball.”

The show also sees the return of Catherine Rice as Irish Annie and Asa Murphy as Seamus Murphy. New to the company are Michael Alan-Bailey as Porky the Postman and Joe, Richard Barry as Noel Singen-Smithe and Maria Lovelady as Moira the Money Lender and May. There may even be an extra celebrity guest popping through the pub door at some venues.

Irish Annie’s is written by Asa Murphy (Buddy Holly Lives, The Bobby Darin Story, New Generations), directed by Stephen Fletcher (A Thong For Europe, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, NHS The Musical) and co-produced by Bill Elms Productions (Judy & Liza, Jerry Springer The Opera, Swan Song, Something About George).

Producer Bill Elms commented, “Irish Annie’s is the perfect show to bring out around St Patrick’s Day celebrations, it’s a huge feel-good show filled with great comedy, live music and some larger-than-life characters, I am thrilled that we have such a fantastic cast including Ricky Tomlinson, Asa Murphy, and Catherine Rice.

“The show premiered in Liverpool a couple of years ago and went down a storm, now it’s even bigger and better than before, this will be our largest tour to date. We are pleased to have Stephen Fletcher on board to direct this new version and we are excited to see what additional magic he can bring to the show. I am looking forward to getting the show on the road, especially as we will also premiere in Ireland.”

Asa Murphy, who has created the show, has been a successful entertainer for over 18 years. He has performed all over the world singing Big Band Swing music. He has fulfilled many of his dreams as a performer selling out London’s Ronnie Scott’s, topping the bill at the famous Liverpool Empire, and cruising and singing on the most beautiful liners in the world.

In 2019 he turned his talents to writing stage musicals and has so far had three hit shows, Buddy Holly Lives, Mack The Knife and Irish Annie’s along with two children’s shows.

Writer, co-producer and performer Asa Murphy added, “This show is a celebration of everything that makes Irish culture and the people of Ireland so special. Laughter, music, and the ability to make people face life’s difficult obstacles through friendship.

“I am very proud that the show has been so well received in the UK and with my family originating from Cork and Tralee and many still living in Ireland, the Ireland dates will be a special personal moment and I am looking forward to catching up with family and friends in the Emerald Isle.”

Image: Catherine Rice and Ricky Tomlinson in Irish Annie’s. Credit: David Munn

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