Showbands era brought to the stage

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Following its huge success at the Mac in Belfast last year, the showbands inspired play Keep Telling Me Lies is taking to the road to bring the golden age of the showbands to a town near you.

The timeless story of love and betrayal set against the backdrop of The Floral Hall, was written by Brenda Winter-Palmer, and developed by Antoinette Morelli and The Karma Theatre Company.

The show will be starting its regional tour at the Ardhowen in Enniskillen on Tuesday March 24, before being staged at Theatre at The Mill, Newtownabbey on March 25, Millennium Forum, Londonerry on Friday, March 27 The Braid, Ballymena on Saturday March 28, Island Hall, Lagan Valley Island Lisburn on Wednesday April 1, Market Place Theatre, Armagh on Tuesday, April 2, Strule Arts Centre, Omagh on Friday, April 3, Riverside Theatre, Coleraine on Saturday, April 4. and finishing off with a run at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast from Monday April 6 to Sunday April 12.

The play was written by Brenda Winter-Palmer and was inspired by actress Antoinette Morelli, who shared stories of growing up while her father Tony Morelli toured the world as the lead singer of the popular showband The Witnesses. “Daddy was away touring all the time and sometimes we didn’t know how long he would be away for, ” explained Antoinette. “Mum was at home with four of us. She held the fort while dad was away. Her life was very different to the glamorous life dad had.”

When Brenda heard about the struggles faced by Antoinette’s mother, she knew she had to focus the play on the women of the era and the battles they had to endure. “Antoinette also introduced me to showbands singer Muriel Day, who talked about the conditions they had to work in. There was no glamour at all. Muriel told a lot of stories about the kind of prejudices she faced as a woman and her story is very much reflected in the play.”

Inspired by Muriel’s stories about her time on the showbands circuit, as well as Antoinette’s first hand experience of growing up with a famous father and the struggles her mother endured while he was on tour, Brenda penned Keep Telling Me Lies, which has been a labour of love for 15 years. “It is about the women, the sacrifices each of them made and what comes out of it is the importance and strength of the relationship they have with each other, ” Brenda added.“It is a really a tribute to both our mothers, Kathleen Morelli and Anne Winter, because without women like them and the sacrifices they made, we wouldn’t be here today.”

Featuring songs inspired by the showbands era, Keep Telling Me Lies promises to be a fun, musical, uplfting and inspiring night at the theatre. “It is very lively, funny, entertaining and tragic in many respects but it has real heart,” says Brenda.