Snakes on a stage at Fusion Theatre’s latest production

Fusion Theatre’s Director Ian Milford has been spending time recently reading up on reptiles, in preparation for the forthcoming production of Whistle Down the Wind, which runs at the Lagan Valley Island from Wednesday March 2 until Saturday March 5.

The show is set in Louisiana in the 1950’s, and features a ‘snake preacher’, complete with real life snakes.

Ian decided that the show demands the presence of real snakes, so he set out to find suitable reptiles.

Fortunately, local reptile enthusiast, Brian Stewart from Talking Reptiles has come to the rescue, with his collection of reptiles, which are already seasoned performers.

Brian’s snakes have already featured on Cbeebies, and local iconic show Game of Thrones.

The snakes recently paid an initial visit to Fusion rehearsals, as part of a learning process for cast and crew.

Brian, who is passionate about his animals, proved to be a great teacher and the cast learned a lot about the welfare, management and handling of these wonderful creatures.

All went well, and the enthusiastic youngsters proclaimed that the snakes were beautiful and defied their image, being warm, and soft to the touch. Various cast members were more than happy to be ‘trees’ as the Python and Boa Constrictors were draped around them.

While the snakes will only be on stage for a short time, they will be under the control of their owner and handler Brian at all times.

There is no doubt that the presence of the live reptiles will add to the drama of the scene.

The cast are really excited about sharing their stage with these beautiful creatures, and are looking forward to working with them.

The show features Sean Harkin as The Man, and Lucy Donnelly as Swallow, along with Cameron Mack as Boone, Patrick Glover as Poor Baby, Aimee McVeigh as Brat, James Marsden as Amos, and Beth McNally as Candy.

In a mix of musical styles, including country, rock n roll and gospel, the choreography is by Jillian Liggett, who promises that the show has something for everyone.

Fusion Chair, Anne McCleary, said: “We are very grateful to our supporters, such as the arts Council NI (lottery funding), St Anne’s Christmas Appeal, and Lisburn Enterprise Organisation, without whose help, in various ways, none of this would be possible,”

Tickets are available from the Box Office on 028 92 509254 and cost £12 (Wednesday), £14 (Thursday), and £16 (Friday/Saturday).