PANTO SEASON has arrived in Castlecomer with men, women and children treading the boards for the Deenside Players annual production.
Glamorous gowns and colourful wigs are worn with pride and characters taken on with gusto as the community rows in to support the event, which is a highlight on the social calender.
For the past three months the cast have braved the wintry weather meeting a number of times each week in the community hall for rehearsals. Almost 100 children are performed in Sleeping Beauty and packed houses are expected until the end of the week.
The panto tradition started in Castlecomer in the 1950s and director John Coonan has been involved for over twenty years. “There is a huge community effort involved from side stage to front of house. We start rehearsing in November once a week and then it goes up to two nights a week and finally three so it is a massive committment,” he said.
John who wrote the panto with Sarah Brennan (who plays Sleeping Beauty) explains the story. “It is based on Sleeping Beauty and tells the story of the king’s sister who was sent away from the Castle. Basically the play is about her trying to get her back on the king so she puts a spell on the king’s daughter by a prick from a spinning well and the story relvolves around that.
“There are plenty of local references and lots of laughs. There are also plenty of mentions of local publicans and businesses. I want to thank everyone for the unmerciful effort that they put in. Along with the cast there is a huge team who do trojan work behind the scenes to make it happen,” he added.
Along with the cast and the talented youngsters from Dance Wyse there is a huge team offstage that collaborate and share their talents to make this event happen including Ollie Hennessey and Jimmy Byrne (music), Rory Broderick (sound) and Liam Dowling (costumes).
Assistant producer Sarah Brennan has been involved in pantomines in Castlecomer since her debut in Alabama and the Forty Thieves in 1996 when she was a member of the junior chorus. “Myself and John started working on the script back in June and wrote it together. We are available for hire now,” she laughed.
Sleeping Beauty will run at the Castlecomer Community Hall at 8pm until February 3.