‘Little Red Riding Hood’ pantomime in ‘Comer excelled as laughter and music was the call of the day

Words: Tom Dayton for The Kilkenny Observer

Photos: Pat Shortall

As the curtain came down on the Deenside Pantomime 2023, The Kilkenny Observer met with the society’s chairman Gerard ‘Chubby’ Brennan.

Chubby admitted he was exhausted following the week-long run. “To be fair, it is a fair commitment, and I’m beginning to think that this Panto lark is a young person’s game”, said the chairman, with a smile from ear to ear.

Gerard explained that a crazy amount of time and effort goes into the planning, scripting and rehearsing. “However”, continued the chairman, “from the moment the show is scripted to the last note at the dress rehearsal, the community spirit is ‘writ large’ on every face making it a fantastic experience for all involved”.

Chubby was at pains to say that the show was a huge success and he expressed his thanks to the community at large.

“It is like a lot of things in life”, said Chubby. “You look at a project and you see how huge it is and you wonder about the amount of work that has to be done”, he continued.

“However,”, explained Mr Brennan “when you have a community spirit such as you find in ‘Comer, you will soon realise that nothing is impossible”.

Deenside Pantomime presented Little Red Riding Hood marking its fifty fifth year presenting theatre and Panto’.

And the crowds came, as they always do, and just loved the show which included dance, song and comedy. Plenty of comedy.

Since Covid struck the world the local show was put on hold and this years Panto’ was just what the doctor ordered.

“Castlecomer was no different to any other town or village in the country and there was a horrible feeling in the community during lockdown “said Chubby.

“It has been a very tough few years for people, as we had to adjust to a new way of living, missing out on family, social and community events. It was truly wonderful to have Pantomime back on stage in Castlecomer, and to see the sheer enjoyment on children’s faces,and to hear the banter and craic at cast rehearsals.

There was great excitement as props were re painted, costumes selected, and characters formed.

The Panto’ chairman thanked all who helped with the show, particularly the sponsors, without whom we could not continue the great tradition of Deenside players,

Chubby said that although there was literally hundreds of people to thank, he paid special thanks to John Coogan and Sarah Brennan for script and direction. Both have a natural ability to work with people and to motivate and inspire.

Music was in the capable hands of Ollie Hennessey and Jimmy Byrne while Michele Wise and her team handled choreography.

Cast included John Coogan, Lisa O’Rourke, David O’Rourke, Kevin Tynan, Michael ‘Midgy’ Dowd, Ger ‘Chubby’ Brennan, Martin ‘Fairy’ Phelan, Michael ‘Mousey’ Brennan, Colm Meagher, Mary O’Brien, Katie Power.

Backstage crew: Director: John Coogan, Choreographer: Michelle Wise, Lisa Coogan, Music: Ollie Hennessy, Jimmy Byrne, Set Design: Eugene Conway, Backstage crew: Seamus Coogan, Ian Coogan, Wesley Kavanagh, PJ Collins, Sean Meally, Ciaran Meagher, Sean Byrne, Eddie Brennan, Ciaran Meally. Make up: Carol Coogan. Prompter Martina Harding. Box Office: Peggy Power.Childrens supervisors: Maiead Delaney, Colette Comerford, Nicola Sheils.

As we wrapped up our conversation, The Kilkenny Observer asked Chubby what his feelings were now that the show had ended. “

“I will put it like this”, said the chairman. “A community working together whether in sport or Pantomime, is the best feeling in the world. It is something we love doing and will continue to do, and do it with a smile on our faces.”

And so say all of us Chubby. So say all of us

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