The witching hour at last

A HAUNTING new musical that tells the story of a Kilkenny woman accused of witchcraft is about to open at The Watergate theatre.

A HAUNTING new musical that tells the story of a Kilkenny woman accused of witchcraft is about to open at The Watergate theatre.

The Stone tells the story of Alice Kyteler, a rich woman who will do just about anything to stay rich and a bishop who will stop at nothing to destroy her. This adaptation of the novel of the same name will come to life on stage from October 5-8.

It’s a production in which musical numbers which tell the story of four husbands, famine, invasion, plague, a witch trial and a burning at the stake, destroying the House of Kyteler and the collapsing of St Canice’s Cathedral.

The show’s creators are all from Kilkenny, and the music and lyrics are written by singer/composer and director Jason Paul Ryan and composer Tom Bolger.

Dame Alice Kyteler’s case was one of the first of its kind, following not long after Pope John XXII added witchcraft to the list of heresies in 1320. Dame Alice was married four times.

John le Poer, her fourth husband, was convinced that she was poisoning him. On his death her children immediately accused her of sorcery. Judgement was passed against her in 1325 by Richard de Ledrede, Bishop of Ossory; but the night before her scheduled execution she disappeared, never to be heard of again.

The story is based on the novel The Stone by Claire Nolan, who is also one of the co-directors of the musical. An administrator at the University of Dublin and originally from Kilkenny, Ms Nolan published her biography of the notorious noblewoman in 2008. She has just released the second edition of the book.

In The Stone musical, Alice is played by Rebecca Murphy; her servant Philip of Kilkenny is played by Jason Paul Ryan; his forbidden love Petronella de Meath is played by Sarah Brennan; and Bishop Richard Le Drede is played by Tony Murray.

Tickets are available from the Watergate box office on 056 7761674.