Time for panto? Oh yes it is! Here’s the best around this Xmas

From the toe-tapping tunes in Peter Pan to Boyzone’s Keith Duffy as the Baddie in in Jack and the Beanstalk, we pick the best of the festive fun with Colette Sheridan

FOR many people, the festive season wouldn’t be the same without the annual trip to the pantomime or festive show with children-in-tow. It’s that time of the year when magic happens in theatres all over the country. Here is a selection of what’s on:

CORK

Sleeping Beauty Cork Opera House Dec 13 - January 17 2015

Trevor Ryan, a stalwart of Cork pantomimes, is the director of this year’s extravaganza which promises awe-inspiring special effects and plenty of toe-tapping tunes. The blue-rinsed Dame is played by Frank Mackey who has co-written the script with Ryan. Mackey’s ‘Nanny Nellie’ promises to bring plenty of fun to the party. Newcomer, Katie Honan, plays Beauty in this tale that involves an evil curse and release from it by Prince Kristoff, played by Jason Broderick.

Tickets: €25/€30. Family ticket for four: €80/€100.

Cinderella Everyman Theatre December 6 - January 11

In this version of the fairytale, produced by CADA, Cinderella (Clodagh Downey) is the daughter of Baron Overdrawn (Paul Creighton). The 2013 Voice of Ireland winner, Keith Hanley, plays the dashing Prince Charming. The Baron’s ugly step-daughters , Verucca and Vinaigrette (Fionula Linehan and Ciaran Bermingham) squandered all his money. Comic actor Frank Twomey is stepping in to play the Dame as Jim Mulcahy, who usually plays the role, is unwell.

Tickets: €15/€23. Family ticket : €80.

Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs Briery Gap Theatre, Macroom December 13-December 21

With a cast of 150, this year’s pantomime will entertain all ages. Snow White is played by Kelly Ann Healy, the stepmother is played by Maureen O’Brien, the Dame is played by Jim Leahy, the prince is played by Eugene Lee and Mirror Mirror is played by Pat Brady.

Tickets: €15. Family ticket: €50.

DUBLIN

Peter Pan Gaiety Theatre December 1 - January 11 2015

Visit the enchanting world of Neverland in the company of Johnny Ward (Pauley in Love/Hate) as Peter Pan in this great sweeping story.

From the Lost Boys and the Piccaninny Tribe to the magical mermaids and the tickling crocodile, Wendy and her brothers join Peter in an exhilarating adventure, free from grown-ups and their rules. However, the characters have to face down the evil Captain Hook and his pirates. Tickets: €28.50/€36. Family: €100.

Aladdin Olympia Theatre, Dublin. December 17-January 4 2015.

Linda Martin, Simon Delaney, Fair City’s Ryan Andrews, panto Dame Al Porter and Louis Walsh’s pop band, Hometown star in this Middle Eastern folk tale, one of the tales from The Arabian Nights. The story, which involves a special lamp, a magical cave and a double crossing sorcerer, has been popular as a pantomime for over 200 years. Andrews plays Aladdin with Martin starring as an Arabian Princess, known as ‘Get Lucky’. Delaney plays the genie. Other roles include Princess Jasmine played by Ciara Lyons.

Tickets: €22/€36. Family: €85.

Cinderella Tivoli Theatre, Dublin. December 10-January 12 2015

Cork actress Molly Lynch plays the starring role of Cinderella. TV3 star Alan Hughes plays the loveable Sammy Sausages. He will be joined by Eurovision winner, Niamh Kavanagh as the wicked stepmother. The dashing Prince Charming is played by Colin Middleton who has been performing in pantomimes since childhood. The stars are delighted to welcome Rory Cowan from ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ as one half of the ugly sisters. Rob Murphy plays the man-mad Buffy in a show that promises fun and frolics.

Tickets: €29.50/€30.25. Family: €100.

Elf, The Broadway Musical Bórd Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin December 16-January 10

Aoibhínn McGinnity (Trish in Love/Hate) plays Jovie with Ben Forster in the lead role of Buddy the Elf in this show that is based on the 2003 New Line Cinema hit, starring Will Ferrell. ‘Elf’ is the tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York to find his birth father, discover his true identity and help New Yorkers remember the true meaning of Christmas. This show features songs by Tony Award nominees, Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin. Tickets €20-€60. Discounts for children on January 6, 7, and 8.

ENNIS

Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs Glór, Ennis, Co Clare December 22-28

Join Pantaloons and Break Through Dance Company for this story of a beautiful girl, Snow White, who has to hide in the house of the Seven Dwarfs in the middle of the forest, away from her stepmother, the wicked queen. The stepmother is jealous of Snow White’s beauty. Cue a visit to the house by the queen in disguise who persuades the fair one to bite into a poisoned apple. Expect plenty of hissing and booing, lively dance routines and lots of audience participation. Tickets: €15. Family: €50

LIMERICK

Jack and the Beanstalk University Concert Hall, December 16-January 4

Myles Breen, stalwart of Limerick panto and theatre, is stepping into the high heels vacated by Twink to play the Dame. Twink was released from her contract due to artistic and contractual differences. Boyzone and Coronation Street star, Keith Duffy, plays the baddie in the show, making his first appearance in pantomime in Ireland. The cast also includes George McMahon (Fair City). Richie Hayes from The Voice of Ireland’ plays the Unbelievable Man. On December 21, a sensor friendly performance of the pantomime takes place for children with special needs.

Tickets: €27.50. Family: €86.

KERRY

Goldilocks and The Three Bears INEC – Gleneagle Hotel, Killarney. January 4

Imagine a storybook that comes alive. Puppeteer, Miriam Lambert, from the famous Lambert puppet family, adapts performances to suit a variety of venues and is the key puppet maker for the Lambert Puppet companies. In this enchanting story, the action takes place in a two tier puppet booth. Peek and Boo, Miriam’s signature characters, open the performance with their slapstick comedy. They will guide the children to the tale of a little girl who pays a visit to the home of the adorable baby bear.

Tickets: €8. Family: €20.

WATERFORD

Sleeping Beauty Theatre Royal, December 6-30

Directed by Richie Hayes, this timeless tale is presented by Waterford Panto Society. An evening at this society’s annual pantomime is part of a Waterford Christmas tradition dating back to 1985.

The show promises music and dance, fun and laughter, for all ages. Choreography is by Erica Delaney-Hayes. A live band is part of the package under musical director, Wayne Brown. Tickets: €19.50/€16. Family: €65.


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