THE-COMPLETE-WORD-OF-GOD-ABRIDGED3NORTHERN Ireland’s stars of theatre at home and throughout the UK have expressed their relief that Newtownabbey Council have overturned their decision to cancel a critically acclaimed production at The Theatre on The Mill in Newtownabbey.

Some of the country’s best known Westend stars, producers and actors said they had been “shocked”, “dismayed” and “astounded” by the move.

The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged) was due to open today Wednesday January 29, for two nights but was cancelled by Newtownabbey Council following complaints that it was blasphemous. However, that decision has now been over-turned and local stars have welcomed the decision.

Westend star and Bangor actress NIAMH PERRY, 23, best known for being a finalist on the BBC show I’d Do Anything said she was “shocked” at the news when she heard last week. But since learning that the play will go ahead she said: “I think it is great that the Reduced Company are able to go ahead with the scheduled performances but I think it is a real shame that this even happened in the first place.
We want Northern Ireland to keep moving forward but it is episodes such as this that can keep us standing still. I think it has been amazing seeing all sorts of creative types back home rush to defend The Reduced Shakespeare Company. I wish them the best of luck for their upcoming shows.”

Theatre actor STEPHEN HAGAN, 28, from Greenisland who recently finished filming the role of Phil Hughes for the Northern Ireland football movie Shooting For Socrates – the story of Northern Ireland’s famous visit to the Mexico World Cup in 1986 echoed Niamh’s comments saying: “ think it’s brilliant that the council have realised their mistake along with the artistic board. They have shown a lot of courage and I respect that.

“They may need to add some extra performances now with all the demand there will be.”
Renowned Belfast playwright and actor DAN GORDON, 52, simply exclaimed: “If you sit by the riverbank long enough the bodies of your enemies will come floating by.“Now lets be gracious in triumph.”

Actor CHRIS ROBINSON who has worked with everyone from Dan Gordon to Adrian Dunba said: “Apparently the show will go on after all. I am glad that the board have seen sense or as is more likely bowed to public pressure.
“Either way I’m glad that the public will get the chance to see the show and make up their own minds.

“I suspect they will be doing so in greater numbers than would have been the case before this whole sorry debacle.”
Meanwhile Belfast actress, performer and former Westend star DONNA FLEMING, best known recently for being the star of the The Dolly Show in her role as Queen of Country Dolly Parton said she was “astounded” at the decision to cancel.
She added: “I’m delighted that the show is back on. Hope some lessons have been learnt. We are not here to be dictated to and we won’t tolerate it.

“Hopefully this will repair some of the damage the DUP created and the rest of the world will now know the majority of right thinking people strongly opposed the ludicrous decision they tried to force upon us.”

By Tina Calder ©