‘I always loved Renmore panto’ - Jenni Flaherty on being Maid Marian

Declan Gardiner (Robin Hood), Cillian O’Donovan (Jack), Alexsaundra Watson (Jill), and Jenni Flaherty (Maid Marian) at the launch of the Renmore Pantomime.

Declan Gardiner (Robin Hood), Cillian O’Donovan (Jack), Alexsaundra Watson (Jill), and Jenni Flaherty (Maid Marian) at the launch of the Renmore Pantomime.

AS THE Christmas season swings into gear folk look forward to the annual highlight of the Renmore Pantomime. This year’s offering is Robin Hood & Babes in the Wood and the leading role of Maid Marian is taken by singer/performer Jenni Flaherty.

It is Renmore’s 35th annual pantomime and is a spectacular adventure of laughter, music and song. All is not well in Nottingham. The Wicked Sheriff is hatching a range of evil plans to eliminate the Babes, who stand between him and the throne of England. He’s also out to capture the people’s hero Robin Hood, by holding the beautiful Maid Marian as hostage.

But this is pantomime, and with loveable folk like Nurse Polly Pampers, Simple Simon, Friar Tuck and Helen Hood looking out for them, the Babes are really not in too much danger.

Scripted by panto dame, Peter Kennedy, this glittering production also features comical courtiers, a wild witch and many novel surprises as the story unfolds. Well known Galway performers, electrifying dance routines, and the charming little Renmore Smurfs bring sparkle to this seasonal feast of family entertainment, directed by award-winning twins Brian and Seán Power.

Maid Marian Jenni has always had a love of performing and she has starred in many school shows from as early as four years of age. This is her third year with the Renmore Pantomime having previously played principal roles in Aladdin and Snow White.

Recently Jenni has focused mainly on her singing and songwriting and is the lead singer of local cover band Supr-Split. Jenni has worked and performed with some of the industry’s biggest names all over Ireland, Spain, and most recently London, where she recorded vocals which feature on the new Alabama 3 album. Panto is one of the highlights of Jenni’s year and she is thrilled to playing Maid Marian.

“I was in a lot of school shows as a kid,” Jenni tells me. “The first was Little Red Riding Hood in the Jes. Any type of school show or talent show I was always involved in. I focused a lot on singing. Hardly anybody in my family was musical, so they don’t know where I got it from. From an early age I was always mad to get up and sing with the band at weddings and what have you.”

Jenni describes her singing career and being invited to collaborate with iconic group Alabama 3.

“I started singing in a covers band about two years ago and we got asked to play in Spain,” she says. “When I got back to Galway I was asked from someone who was looking for acts in the Volvo Ocean Race so that kick-started things for me with music, I then got asked to perform with Alabama 3 in the Róisín Dubh and after that they invited me to go over to their studio and record vocals for their album.

“I loved working with them, you grow up watching The Sopranos and they did the theme music to it. They have such a big following all over the world so to be part of their act was overwhelming.”

As well as being an in-demand singer Jenni is also a talented songwriter; “I wrote a song recently called ‘The Last Breath’ about the death of my uncle. It’s on soundcloud and it got a huge response, when you write about emotions like that people can relate to it.”

Jenni reveals she has had a long passion for Renmore Panto.

“I always loved Renmore Panto,” she says. “We always used to go to it and I was mesmerised by it as a child and even up to a teenager. I remember counting down the years when I would be able to audition so I finally got to audition for Brian and Sean Power and they asked me back and this is my third year and I am delighted to be playing Maid Marian.”

Robin Hood and Babes in the Wood runs from Sunday December 29 to Sunday January 12 at the Town Hall Theatre. Tickets are available through 091 - 569777 and www.tht.ie


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