THE excellent new Musical/Drama “Blood Upon The Rose” written by Gerry Cunningham is set to open in The Armadillo Theatre Glasgow on Monday April 2.

The show follows the tragic love story of Grace Gifford and Joseph Plunkett and is set against the background of the Easter Rising in Dublin 1916.  It tells the story of their courtship, their marriage in jail and his execution the following morning. The original script and music bring to life this unique relationship.

Joseph Plunkett, played by the superb Daniel Donnelly, struggles with illness throughout most of his life and is barely fit to take his part in the momentous events of 1916. A mild-mannered, eccentric son of the Papal Count, George Noble Plunkett, Joseph defies his illness to marry his fiancee Grace Gifford and become Director of Military operations before and during the rising.

Evening Times:

Grace, played by the extremely talented Lauren McCrory,hails from a totally different background from that of Joseph . Her parents are both wealthy middle class Unionists and strong members of the Protestant faith. 

Their love of the arts and deeply held Christian values are what lock Joseph and Grace together until the cold steel of execution brings to an early end their love.

Joseph’s part in the rising features prominently in this Musical/Drama as too his relationship with Pearse, McDonagh, Clarke, Connolly and other iconic leaders of the rebellion. His fierce courage and strong leadership in the GPO on Easter are laid bare for all to see..

Brian Mills excels in the majestic role of Padraig Pearse. His clash with Eoin McNeil played to perfection by Eoin McNeely is another strong sub-plot in this  intriguing story.  Paul Henry brings a strong robust touch to the character of  James Connolly and the experienced Dermy McCann’s  role as the influential Tomas Clarke gives us an insight into the internal struggles within the IRB.

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The story is linked together by the cool dialogue of  narrator Seanie Donaghy. Ruairi Cuningham as Eamonn Ceannt ,Caolan Cunningham as Sean McDiarmada and Grace Gifford’s brother-in-law Tomas McDonagh played by Paul McNamee  are vital roles in this gripping tale of romance and war.

The scenes inside the GPO are vividly portrayed and Johnny Willox as the indomitable Michael Collins shows the strength of leadership and heroic qualities in this revolutionary figure. The role of the  flamboyant  figure Michael O’Rahilly know as “The O’Rahilly” is given to Shane Coleman

Add to this Sinead Willox as Countess Markevitcz, Sharon McKeown as Grace’s sister Muriel, Sheila Kelly as Mrs Dryhurst and Roisin McAliskey as James Connolly’s faithful secretary, Winifred Carney, the strength of the show becomes apparent. Hugh Mc Alinden takes on the dual role of Dr McAuley and Bulmer Hobson.

Evening Times:

The narrative of the show has many twists and turns,none more so than the story of  Kenneth O’Morchoe a Dublin Royal Fusilier played by the excellent Peter Lavery. Annette Kelly leads a group of young Dubliners out looting during the Rising. Her conflict with the priest shows the reality of living in the Dublin Slums in the early 20th century.

The beautiful songs and stirring melodies will have your feet tapping and the iconic musical number Grace written by Frank and Sean O Meara will certainly tug on the emotions.