IT WAS all the way back in 1979 that Renmore staged its first panto and in the decades since the show has gone from strength to strength and today it is one of the highlights of Galway’s Christmas season.
This year’s production is Mother Goose and, as has been the case for the past few years, it is scripted by Peter Kennedy and directed by Sean and Brian Power. With a cast of more than 100 performers and another 15 making up the backstage crew, this is a large scale production for which the preparations began many months ago, as Brian Power explains over an afternoon phone-call. “ Initial preparations start early in the year, when we decide which show we want to do, and start securing the people we need for it. Then in September is when auditions are held and we start to pull it all together. We would work with the likes of choreographer Mary McDonagh and costume-designer Mary Loughnane discussing the overall style of show. We would also make the arrangements to bring the set in from England because we don’t have resources to build OR store it here, as we would have done in the early years.There’s a large team behind the show that come together to make it all happen.”
This year’s offering, Mother Goose, has plenty of topical humour to drive it along. Evil Baxter Banker (Karl O’Doherty ), assisted by his conniving daughter (Edel Fahy ) and two political jokers (Paul Hughes AND Liam Brennan ), conspire to have Mother Goose evicted from her cottage so they can develop the site into a Super-Bank. But their dastardly plans are thwarted when her Magical Goose (Lorna O’Connor ) starts to lay golden eggs.
“The show is cominng together very well,” Power reveals. “Peter Kennedy has produced a very funny script which taps into the whole recessionary theme, so the baddy is Baxter Banker. There are comedy digs at Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, but there is also plenty of comedy for the kids. And the adults get a kick out of seeing their children being entertained. I always think it’s like there are a couple of different shows going on at the same time with the panto; the jokes the kids enjoy and the ones the adults laugh at –it’s a great mix that has the whole family involved. That’s one of the highpoints of the year for me the way panto connects with adults and kids equally, most shows throughout the year will be geared to either one audience or the other. Panto is good family fun, one of few times the whole family will go to show and it’s a real treat for everyone.”
Power outlines some more of the show higlights. “There’s a good mix of music, both pop numbers and some swing tunes too. The story contains the usual pantomime rags to riches elelment but this script also deals with the beauty aspect. We have the goose who lays the golden eggs, and Mother Goose has her money and clears her debts, but she still requires beauty so the Baddy who wants to get the goose convinces her he can make her beautiful, and we have a wonderful routine “The Veil of Beauty” choreographed by Cherie Worthington Eyre and I think that will be one of the show’s highlights.”
Doubtless Mother Goose, as with the Renmore Panto every year, will provide a veritable feast of entertainment to its audiences. It runs from December 30 to January 17 - nightly at 7.30pm (except December 31, and January 6, 11, 12, and 17 ), matinees 2.30pm on December 30, January 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, and 17. [Note starting times are 2.30pm and 7.30pm]
Bookings at Town Hall Theatre, Galway 091-569777 (or www.tht.ie )
Tickets €16/€14 concession. Further panto details and photos from www.renmorepantomime.com