by Caitriona Murphy
Obama Mia!, a Trinity College student-produced comedy musical, ventured out to the Edinburgh Fringe festival this summer to walk the Royal Mile. The musical, which was written by Rory Carron, Brianne Fitzpatrick, Eoghan Quinn and Matthew Smyth, originated in a Players project called the 24 hour musical, a large production that gets written ahead of time but is put together in the space of a day.
After a member of the troupe brought the highly successful show “A Betrayal of Penguins” to the Fringe, the group decided to rewrite Obama Mia!, keeping only the catchy name and limiting the cast from 90 actors to just 12. Starting in January, it underwent countless rewrites before open auditions were held in May and the real rehearsals began.
At the festival itself, the cast lived in intimate conditions, with ten of them sharing the same apartment in an atmosphere that resembled a permanent party. The first day the cast performed to a group of 17, respectable given that the average Fringe festival audience is just 6 people. However after some active flyer distribution the next day on the Royal Mile, they were soon performing to crowds of over 100, including several sell out shows with people crammed into the stalls.
The play was performed in a venue called The Cave, an actual cave with a cramped performance space that some reviewers felt restricted the performance, due to its large cast.
Eoghan Quinn, one of the writers/ actors, recalls rising damp and small floods, but like true professionals, the show went on. The play reviewed well and the cast were credited with a warmth, generosity of spirit and the first signs of invention that all musical comedy needs to succeed.’’ Obama Mia! was not the only Trinity production at the festival this year, which also featured “A Betrayal of Penguins 2: Don’t run with scissors” and Conor O’Toole stand up, both of which received good reviews.