BELFAST actress Meabh Quinn will take on the role of Sarah in Stephen Sondheim’s classic show, Company The Musical, at the Grand Opera House, before returning to drama school in London for her Master’s Degree in Acting at the prestigious Mountview.
Running from May 1 to 4, Company will see Meabh play one of half of the many couples surrounding the lead role of the slightly neurotic Robert.
“Sarah is the wife of Harry and is a close friend of Roberts,” explained the 22-year-old actor. “She is a lively, affectionate, karate learning foodie but is currently losing the war with her new diet, much to the amusement of her not so supportive husband Harry.
“At first glance her relationship with her husband might seem a bit volatile, but despite their flaws -which they relentlessly torment each other with – they love each other really.”
Meabh continued: ”Sarah’s character is so much fun to play. She wants to be viewed as witty and cool but really has this quite competitive, passive aggressive side to her.
“This is especially obvious whilst with her husband Harry. However, despite her faults, Sarah has a big heart underneath and has great energy.”
Company represents another achievement in Meabh’s rising star.
“Last July I graduated from the University of Birmingham with BA honours degree in Drama and Theatre Arts,” she said.
“After that, I moved back home to Belfast and have been working with James at the James Huish Academy since August. During the week I also work as a classroom assistant in a grammar school.
“I have been very fortunate in being offered a place to study MA Acting at Mountview starting September this year. I am thrilled to be given the chance to pursue what I hope to be beginning of my career within the industry.”
Her love of stage goes back to her time in school.
“I had always participated in theatre and drama within school,” Meabh said. “It wasn’t until the summer of 2015 that I started to get involved in performances outside of that.
“My first ever show that I auditioned for was BSPA’s production of ‘Les Miserables’ in the MAC theatre, Belfast. I met a lot of amazing people during that process, whom I now have the pleasure of calling my closest friends. I’ve been hooked ever since.”
She returned to Les Miserables in 2016 as Madame Thenardier for a ten-day run at the Opera House, meaning she is more than familiar with the Great Victoria Street venue.
“I’ve been very fortunate in being able to perform in other theatres both in Northern Ireland and England, but there really is no place like home. It’s just a beautiful theatre.”
As Meabh prepares to play Sarah she says that some of the funniest experiences in theatre have been getting ready for the four-day run.
“The rehearsals for Company are definitely great,” she said. “Everyone in this cast is a character so when you get us all together in a room you’re guaranteed a laugh.”
Meabh is also looking forward to one song in the musical.
“It will be ‘Side by Side.’ This is a group number with Robert and all the couples.
“It is such a joy filled, energetic number and has been the cause of more than a few laughs within rehearsals.
First unleashed on the world in 1970 Company showcased Sondheim’s comedic take on the evolving nature of relationships amongst the Baby Boomer generation, as the Hippy movement was challenging traditional marital status.
Darren Gardiner of LSFX Productions said Company was a show he had longed to bring to the Belfast stage.
“When Sondheim released it, Company confronted so many assumptions about what was considered the norm in America at the time with his typical aplomb,” he said. “To shake up the middle classes in the United States he used wit and music.
“And, the messages still hold true today. I’m sure that all our cast, under the direction of James, will bring the production values of the West End to the Opera House stage.”
Director James Huish, whose previous sell-out Les Miserables show in 2016 at the Great Victoria Street venue earned critical acclaim, is determined to showcase the many facets of Company.
“On one level we follow the 35-year-old Robert as he ponders whether to be happy alone or try to conform and find a romantic partner,” said James. “On another level Sondheim challenges what we understand about the traditions that we take for granted.
“But above all, no matter what messages you take from it, Company is great fun with great songs.”
Including ‘The Ladies Who Lunch’, ‘Side by Side, by Side’ and ‘Sorry – Grateful’ all the tracks will be familiar, but all are woven into the contemplative life of Robert with the mishaps and mayhem of himself and the anarchic relationships of his friends.
More information – including how to book tickets – can be found at: https://www.goh.co.uk/whats-