Theatre | Ken Longworth

CELTIC MAGIC: The hugely popular Irish phenomenon Celtic Woman: Voices of Angels is just one of the international shows at the Civic this month.
CELTIC MAGIC: The hugely popular Irish phenomenon Celtic Woman: Voices of Angels is just one of the international shows at the Civic this month.

THE variety and quality of international shows coming to Newcastle’s Civic Theatre venues will be highlighted in the week beginning February 11 when the Irish sensation Celtic Woman: Voices of Angels and the British family favourite We’re Going on a Bear Hunt are on stage.

Celtic Woman: Voices of Angels, which can be seen in the Civic Theatre at 3pm on Sunday, February 11, uses song, dance and music to celebrate Ireland’s rich cultural traditions, with a focus on the role played by women in establishing and maintaining them.

Celtic Woman was initially intended as a one-time-only event when it was first staged in 2005, but it was such a hit it has continued, with the four central women – three singers and a Celtic violinist – repeatedly changing, along with the songs.

The mix of new numbers and classic songs, among them Amazing Grace and Danny Boy, has so wowed music fans that the 11 Celtic Woman CDs, along with DVDs, have sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and have topped album charts.

The current Celtic Woman lead vocalists are Susan McFadden (who joined the team in 2012), Mairead Carlin and Eabha McMahon (both 2013), with violinist Tara McNeill debuting in 2016.

Their support team has Irish dancers, bagpipers and a full band playing an array of traditional Celtic instruments, including bodhran, tin whistle, bouzouki and Uileann pipes.

BEARY GOOD FUN: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt from the UK has songs, music, rhymes, puppetry and audience involvement and features an Australian cast.

BEARY GOOD FUN: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt from the UK has songs, music, rhymes, puppetry and audience involvement and features an Australian cast.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt has songs, music, rhymes, puppetry and audience involvement and is adapted from the award-winning children’s book by Michael Rosen.

It follows the adventures of a father, his young son and daughter, their dog, and a baby (the latter a puppet) who search the wild countryside for a big, goggly-eyed bear, and encounter all manner of amusing problems in a landscape that includes swishy swashy grass and a splishy splashy river. 

The brisk, 55-minute show, has performances on Wednesday, February 14, at 4pm, and Thursday, February 15, at 10am, noon and 2pm.

Director Sally Cookson has presented this adaptation of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt in London’s West End several times since 2009 and is now staging it with an Australian cast for this tour.

Audiences are asked at the beginning of the hunt to help create a check-list of bear-y characteristics to look for. And when the bear is eventually seen it is certainly a furry, purry creature as it pursues the hunters.

Ticket prices for Celtic Woman range from $101 to $285, with special experiences part of the top priced. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt tickets are $40.70. Book at Civic Ticketek, 4929 1977.