Pics: Donal Foley
By Jimmy Rhatigan
A PANTO with a beast at its heart had a beautiful message for a local community.
The future of Castlecomer Pantomine is as secure as Fort Knox.
A host of beautiful and magnificently talented young stars sent out a great signal as members of the old guard had passed to their eternal reward or were happy to hand over to youth after many great years on the boards.
Panto chair Chubby Brennan paid a programme tribute to stage manager, Michael Fogarty and props mistress, Frances Baylon who had passed to their eternal reward.
Those who were happy to pass on a proud baton of tradition included Michael Brennan, Barry Byrne, Michelle Burke and Mary Buggy O’Brien.
Popular local man, Ozzie Owens, who had his days under the bright lights, is also a great panto enthusiast.
Brilliant newcomers included the very experienced Alan Grant as The Beast and Kate Cullen as Belle,the Beast’s would be suitor.
Both are mighty talents. Kate is a 15-year-old from Uskerty, Coon who is a Transition Year student at Castlecomer Community School.
The pair were superb in the leading roles.
Trish Buggy from Clogh who is studying nursing at WIT is a graduate of what we might term the chorus academy in local panto.
She has been a chorus member and is now in her second term as a member of the cast.
Her rendering of the song, The Beauty and the Beast was absolutely spine-chilling.
Another superb debwas Molly Coogan. She has been a chorus member from a very young age and has had various minor roles as a messenger and a dwarf, with a number of beautiful songs thrown in for good message.
She was terrific in her first year as an official part of the cast.
The chorus training school that is so close to the heart of Chairman Chubby Brennan certainly is proving to be a wonderful supply line.
The latter goes from baby, to junior, to intermediate, to senior chorus. Those who show particular abilities are then encouraged to get involved as cast members.
The present backbone of the great tradition that began back in the 1950s includes John Coogan, Sarah Brennan, Michele Wise, the unbelievably talented musical director and assistant director respectively, Ollie Hennessy and Jimmy Byrne and Peggy Power, the woman who feeds the hungry with Maggie Brennan’s sandwiches,
A strong backbone is half the battle.
A good supply line ensures that a panto team will always be available. Throw in a supportive local people and generous sponsors and you have a community event that is worth its weight in gold.