Magic: Young actors make theatre history as they Chip to glory

    Young stage star, Rory Comerford was pictured with two beauties at Castlecomer Panto. On left is Dame Verruca, aka John Coogan with his pretty daughter, Coco, aka Chubby Brennan

    By Jimmy Rhatigan

    Pic Donal Foley

    AMATEUR theatre made Hollywood-type history when for the first time on a local stage, two young boys shared a key role as a walking, talking teacup in a spectacular show.

    Both youngsters proved to be Oscar material.

    The nine and ten year old lads from local schools made their debuts with a highly respected theatre group and won the acclaim of full houses.

    The young stars made history as they enjoyed a job sharing agreement, the first of its kind, perhaps in our country.

    They played a much loved Beauty and the Beast character, Chip in a brilliant Team Castlecomer Pantomime.

    As well as winning the hearts of local theatre lovers, they also charmed their way into the lives of fellow thespians as they brought fun and energy to rehearsals and ensured there were no biscuits left at the final curtain

    Boy oh boy, it was brilliant.

    Today, The Reporter is delighted to salute Rory Bollard of Ballyhemmon, aged 9, a pupil of Firoda National School and Jack Comerford of Clashduff, Castlecomer, aged 11, a pupil of the Boys’ School in ‘Comer.

    Young guns steal the show in ‘Comer

    Jack Comerford as Chip

    The show, with cast and crew of over 100 dedicated performers and behind the scenes workers. epitomised all that is positive, and entertaining in rural communities.

    Over a fantastic programme of seven shows, including matinees, the boys, who became great friends, won the hearts and minds of appreciative audiences at full houses.

    Parish pride was sizzling among parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grannies and granddads as young guns Rory and Jack stole the show in a novel job-sharing plan.

    Deenside Players, Castlecomer presented Beauty and the Beast in the local hall.

    Devoted families played their parts.

    They turned out in force, just as they do on Wellie Race Day and at other community events.

    Aptly, beauty that dominated as the boys delighted in the role of Chip on alternate nights.

    Both were making their acting debuts but it was not their first time on stage as they have been members of the children’s chorus in recent years.

    Rory is son of Shay and Eimear Bollard, Ballyhemmon, Castlecomer and in the audience when The Reporter enjoyed the show early last week was his oh so proud granddad, Barrack Street, ‘Comer publican, Jim Bollard.

    Rory is a pupil of Firoda National School.

    On Saturday, his Midleton, Cork grandparents, Donal and Mary Keohane motored to ‘Comer to enjoy the little boy’s first adventure as a cast member on the big stage.

    Among his fellow stars in Beast was his 11-year-old sister, Molly who was in the chorus.

    Jack is son of Catherine and Patrick Comerford, Clashduff, Castlecomer.

    Like Rory, he is thrilled with his new found fame.

    His grandparents are Lizzie Murphy and Catherine Comerford, both of whom attended the panto. Jack’s sister, Aislin was a chorus member.

    The Reporter was told that the boys looked out for each other at rehearsals.

    Show writer, director, Sarah Brennan said the Chips were wonderful, loved the involvement and were really popular with all in the show.

    “I am famous in school, everybody knows me,” a delighted Rory told Sarah who described the show as a fantastic experience.

    “Cast and crew worked hard for months to keep up a proud panto tradition. We are so proud of them all and really grateful for their time and talents.”

    Co-writer and fellow director, John Coogan, aka Dame Verruca, said that with respect for the boys and their roles, their part of the show was gone through separately with them every night at rehearsals.

    “The boys did us proud, as youngsters in key roles for the first time they were magnificent, a credit to their families, schools and to theatre in our town,” said John.

    Although still in their tender years, Rory and Jack were not the babes of the panto as tots in the infants’ chorus were as young as four and five.

    The wee ones too were wonderfully nimble and entertaining, a credit to Michele Wyse of Dancewise Academy who did a brilliant job of tutoring teams of talented dancers.