Fee fi fo fum, time for panto has come

 Lee Mathews (Jack); panto dame Jim Mulcahy and Kelly Anne Murphy (Goose) star in this year's panto.

It’ll be his 20th year to don his wig, strap on his sky-scraper heels and totter onstage — but panto dame Jim Mulcahy loves the craic as much as ever.

This year he’s playing Jack’s mammy in the Everyman Palace production of Jack and the Beanstalk.

“As a boy I always went to the panto. When I was young there were at least 10 different pantos going on around the city and county and it always fascinated me,” he recalls.

“I never dreamed I’d get into it the way I did, playing a leading role like the dame for so long. I love the role because it’s all about interaction with the kids and the audience — it’s a fabulous part. She causes mayhem throughout the panto.”

She certainly does — on one memorable occasion during Cinderella 15 years ago Mulcahy was put in charge of driving a large motorbike onstage. “I was one of the ugly sisters and Paul Dennehy was the other one,” he explains. “The two of us got up on the bike, I let the throttle out and the bike took off with the front wheel up in the air.”

Eventually he managed to pull the brakes. “I pulled the brake and went flying over the handlebars and ended up in the middle of the stage. Neither of us could get off the ground because we were hysterical,” he laughs.

He’s looking forward to seeing this year’s costumes he says: “As the dame I’ll be wearing anything up to five different outfits complete with shoes and matching wig.”

Jim also paid tribute to director, Catherine Mahon-Buckley, who has directed every one of the past 20 pantomimes.

“It will be an excellent panto this year — we always have a brand new script with new gags and great music everyone can sing to and it’s very topical. We’ll have the kids and the adults hopping in their seats.”

* Jack and the Beanstalk will run at the Everyman from Saturday, Dec 7, until Sunday, Jan 12, with 2pm matinee and 7.30pm evening performances. 021 4501673; www.everymancork.com


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