It is almost time to boo, laugh, scream, and holler ‘oh yes it is’ as the onstage antics unfold at one of the firm favourites in the entertainment calendar in Mayo.
Castlebar Pantomime is ready to make a big splash with its 30th anniversary production of The Little Mermaid in the TF Royal Theatre from Thursday to Sunday, January 8 to 11.
And, according to director Antoinette Starken, this year’s production is going to be absolutely spectacular as the panto committee celebrates 30 years onstage in the county town.
“The production team are going all out to make sure that this is the best show ever,” said Ms Starken.
Many will be familiar with the much loved story of The Little Mermaid, Ariel, who dreams of being able to live on land and live happily ever after with her dashing prince.
In order to get her wish and exchange her tail for legs, the mermaid has to give Ursula the enchantress something in return - her voice.
Will it all be worth it? Or will some other evil prevent the two from being together?
“In the panto production we have all the usual characters,” said Ms Starken.
“Under the sea we have Ariel the mermaid [Tracy Hall], her father King Neptune [Esther Henry] and their good friend and confidante Oceania
[Mairead Wilson] and, of course, our eight tentacled baddie Ursula [Pauline Leonard].
“On land we have the royal family of Queen Hypochondria [James Murray], King Marmaduke [John Morley], Prince Stefan [Danny Leonard], The Lord Chamberlain [Graham Walsh], the loyal servant Baldrick [Gary Wynne], and the loveable queen’s maid Heidi [Mairead McDonnell].
“But in this version we have two extra baddies in the form of the queen’s cousin Drucilla [Natasha Crouch] and her striking daughter Ingrid [Carmel Ryan].
“And of course, let’s not forget all of our courtiers, mermaids, and fishes in our super senior and junior choruses.”
This year, the pantomime committee is using a system of projected backdrops, similar to those used in a West End show, to give
their 30th anniversary production some extra ‘wow factor’.
“This will add a whole new dimension to the show,” said Ms Starken. “Our backdrops will be bigger, brighter, and more detailed than ever before - with one or two surprises in store as well.”
At the helm of the production are musical director John Flatley, choreographer Jason Guthrie, and a mix of old and new with directors Sharon Lavelle and Antoinette Starken.
The Little Mermaid looks set to be a colourful, musical, entertaining show for all of the family to enjoy.
Curtains go up on evening shows, from Thursday to Saturday, January 8 to 10, at 7.45pm and at 2.45pm for the matinee shows on Saturday and Sunday, January 10 and 11.
Tickets on sale now at the TF Royal Theatre, Castlebar.