Interview: Louise Barry & Olivia Bradley of CELTIC ANGELS IRELAND at Reynolds Performance Hall

One night only on Tuesday, March 14th.

Review: ANNIE KIDS at The Lantern Theatre

Just in time for the St. Patrick's Day celebration, Reynolds Performance Hall, 223 Beatrice Powell St, in Conway, brought in the fabulous CELTIC ANGELS IRELAND Tuesday, March 14, for a one-night only performance. They brought grace, culture, and fantastic music to our town, and I was thrilled when I found out that I was able to see the show. Then, before the show, the "Luck of the Irish" was with me when I was blessed to interview two of the Angels of the troupe - Louise Barry, Writer and Director of CELTIC ANGELS IRELAND and Celtic Angel Olivia Bradley.

BWW: Welcome to Arkansas! Have you been to Arkansas before?

Olivia Bradley: Yes. We actually performed here two Christmases ago. We love this theatre. Review: ANNIE KIDS at The Lantern Theatre

BWW: Now, you guys just started the tour not too long ago, right?

Olivia: February 21st was our first show in Florida. We've been to Utah, and then went up to Wyoming, South Dakota and of made our way around.

We are not far into the interview, when Director Louise Barry joins us. We swap greetings, and I tell them how wonderful University of Central Arkansas and Reynolds are about bringing in such great acts as themselves.

BWW: We're very happy that you guys are here. Thank you for coming. I'm very excited about seeing the show this evening.

Louise Barry: We're very excited to be here and to do a show. The crew and front of house really work hard to make it as easy for us to come in. They are so pleasant too... super nice, and I love the student crews, because they're so willing and so into this, and if you give them a little glance into the looking glass, it's so exciting for them.

Review: ANNIE KIDS at The Lantern TheatreBWW: Well, we are all excited about you being here. So, tell me about the show.

Louise: This year, CELTIC ANGELS IRELAND theme is based on a piece of jewelry that we have in Ireland. It's actually called the "History of Ireland," and it has 12 symbols that all represent a specific era in Irish history. So, we touch on that in the first act, and basically you get snowballed within the first 10 minutes with this. Then after we expand through the first act on the history, the second act focuses on the immigration side of things, where we've come into the country, start to integrate and pick different things from all the cultures that are around, while also still having that very strong connection to home.

Olivia: Yes. It starts with the famine and all the hard times during that period in Ireland, and then the second act is us coming to America and immigrating. We have our suitcases, and there's the Statue of Liberty at the end of the first act, Then, we go into creating new lives in and working in America. .

BWW: So, this is more like a play than a concert. I like that concept. Review: ANNIE KIDS at The Lantern Theatre

Louise: I have a big theatre background, so I changed the original format from song to song to adding a timeline. I enjoy having some threads, even if it is the slightest tangent of a thread, to piece it together. We do the same with the Christmas show. We make it a little bit more colloquial, a little bit more feeling like in an Irish pub.

BWW: How did you get involved with Celtic Angels?

Olivia: I have Irish both on my mom and my dad's side and my best friend's great grandparents are from Ireland. We've been friends for 20 years, so my family would get together with them and do Saint Patrick's Day activities, because her family is very Irish. Then we started watching Riverdance and decided to start Irish dancing together. I'm from Atlanta, and there are a lot of schools in the Atlanta area. Singing and musical theater is my first love, but then I also started taking Irish Gaelic singing lessons. I did a competition in Ireland. It's called the Fleadh- that's the Irish word for festival, hundreds of thousands of people come to Ireland for it. Then I graduated from college in 2020, and a year later I got called about Celtic Angels. It really is crazy how it happened, but the Celtic worlds are so tiny. Everybody knows everybody through somebody.

Review: ANNIE KIDS at The Lantern Theatre

Louise: And it's completely true. There's a saying that 'if an Irish person doesn't find someone else that they know within 30 seconds, they will actually explode.' There is always that little light. Instead of six degrees of separation, it's like zero degrees of separation.

Review: ANNIE KIDS at The Lantern TheatreBWW: So, how did you choose your cast?

Louise: Olivia was gifted to me from the first season, and then we auditioned. During COVID, we did everything virtually. As a dancer, you have to be able to prove that you can dance. Our boys are all champion dancers, so they've already proved that they can dance, but the key is having them dance together. Dan Drew is our step choreographer, and we have Sarah Costello, who has her own Irish dance school in Florida, who watches everything. And, because she adjudicates, she lets nothing go, which is amazing. She's very rigid when it comes to the lads, which is reflected in the quality of the caliber that you will see. They are fantastic dancers! It's a fantastic show. Our angels are Divas, and our men dance heavy, dynamic, and percussive. Also, we have an incredible live band. You will love the show. Review: ANNIE KIDS at The Lantern Theatre

And she was right, I LOVED the show. The beginning was so dramatic and cultural. There were so many costume changes, and it went from warrior wear to angelic ballroom attire. The dancing was unbelievable. The fancy footwork and athleticism were grandly on display, and they looked like they were having a lot of fun. They had world-class musicians who musically transported us to Ireland, and then there were the Angels. Oh, my goodness! They were everything Louise boasted and more. Individually, they brought their own angelic spin to the traditional Irish songs, and together, their harmony filled the theatre with ethereal magic. They were beautiful, captivating, and their talents were top-tier level entertainment.

CELTIC ANGELS IRELAND is halfway through with their spring tour, so to find out where they are going next, visit their website at

Review: ANNIE KIDS at The Lantern Theatre

Review: ANNIE KIDS at The Lantern Theatre

For information on the remainder of the season for Reynolds Performance Hall, visit their website at

Review: ANNIE KIDS at The Lantern Theatre


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