Musicals can be irritating, their manufactured emotion unbearably phony. Larry Kirwan’s “Hard Times,” however, is not just the best of the genre I’ve seen, but truly affecting.
The rest of the audience was also demonstrably moved at one of the extra performances laid on during the show’s largely sold-out run through Sunday as part of the 1st Irish Theater Festival.
As the musical ended, it transformed from your typical theater experience to a “seisiún.” Switching from spectators to participants, the audience clapped to the beat of the last song. So in synch with the performers were they that when individual actors performed solos within that final number the crowd automatically self-modulated to a slower clap less likely to drown out the singer. read more