King in high spirits as panto time approaches

It’s that time of year again when, after all the busy preparations in the run up to Christmas, it’s nice to relax and enjoy the festive season. And what better way to indulge in some much-needed fun than to sit back and enjoy some good old-fashioned live entertainment.

Well, there is a treat in store at the Dean Crowe Theatre, Athlone where the annual Christmas Panto will get underway on Thursday December 31 (New Year’s Eve ) for a three-day run with two performances on Saturday January 2, 2010.

Performed by a host of local talent, it will leave audiences rolling in the aisles. The cast of 50 performers will sing and dance and bring you on an enchanted journey from the Royal Palace to ancient Rome in a web of mystery, intrigue and uproarious comedy as all the characters play out the story of Olde King Cole.

The story follows the plight of this merry old soul whose high spirits is maintained with the help of the endless supply of jokes told by his trusty jesters (two dopey characters, really ). But it is his pipe which gives him his greatest comfort, pulling on it in the way a baby (or indeed a Dáil back-bencher ) might suck a soother in order to ease away the anxieties of life.

The King engages the services of an ugly old dame to clean his pipe and keep it safe until he calls for it, which can sometimes be in the middle of the night. “She” believes the pipe to be of the subterranean kind, but despite the misunderstanding, Cupid’s arrow intervenes and the two become romantically entwined. Not to mention a steamy affair between the Dame’s daughter and the King’s loyal butler.

Meanwhile, the King’s jealous brother with the lofty title of Grand Vizier (whatever that means ) has his eyes set on the royal throne and engages the help of the nasty demon. Between them, they craft a plan worse than NAMA in order to depose the King.

Now pipeless, His Royal Majesty embarks on a worldwide, all expenses paid, trip in search of the only people who can help: three fiddlers. Dancing to various tunes, they find themselves in such far flung places as Russia, Chicago, and ancient Rome.

How these sorrowful bunch of characters end up depends on the intervention of the Good Fairy whose powers in bringing the troop back from the brink of recession would make the European Central Bank look like a dried up geyser from Iceland (Bjork? ).

The moral of the story, if there is one, could be summed up as follows: “Times were good; Then they got bad; They will get good again”. Much like our present economy!

Booking is now open at the Dean Crowe Theatre box office. For more information or to make a booking call (090 ) 6492129 or log on to


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