STAY away from Ballylinan this weekend if you’re afraid of the big bad wolf!
After a five-year break, the beloved panto will return to St Ann’s Hall with a hilarious local twist on Little Red Riding Hood, with some fresh new faces joining the veteran usual suspects.
The first panto since 2014 is a real family affair, with no fewer than four members of the Cooney clan and three generations of the Ryan/Murphy dynasty, as Billy Ryan is joined on stage by his daughter Naomi Murphy and grandson Eric Murphy (13).
The revival of the renowned annual panto has created huge anticipation in the area and excitement is building among the enthusiastic cast, as dress rehearsals enter the final furlong this week.
Des Cooney, aka Baron Brimstone, reports: “The Ballylinan panto always drew a crowd and it was badly missed, so people are delighted to see it back. Rehearsals are going great, with plenty of fun, messing and craic and we’re really looking forward to the show.”
Definitely not for the first time, Des will be taking direction from his long-suffering wife Pamela Cooney, the show’s producer/director, who also adapted the script from a 20-year-old Ballylinan production. A member of the panto group since 1992, Pamela is making her fourth outing as producer and she enjoyed giving the previous script a contemporary twist for the 2019 show.
The colourful cast of characters includes Faye Brennan in the title role, newcomer Myles Carr as The Big Bad Wolf, Tom Cooney as The Dame, Peter McEvoy and Billy Ryan as Ruff and Ready, Seamus Cooney as The Judge, Naomi Murphy as The Fairy, Amber Lacumber as Bo Peep, Chloe Ryan as Simple Simon, Conor Loughman as Boy Blue, Des Cooney as Baron Brimstone, Eric Murphy as a garda, with Mary Kelly as Dee and Margaret Murphy/Roisin Cooney sharing the role of Daw.
Meanwhile, the hard-working backstage crew includes Liz Dunne and Margaret Brennan on make-up and costumes and Cecil Carter on lighting and sound.
Well-known singer Kevin Morrin, famed for his wonderful Luke Kelly tribute shows, will also give a special performance during the much-anticipated panto.
The show will start at 8pm on Friday and Saturday 25-26 January and will close with a matinee performance at 5pm on Sunday 27 January. Oh yes it will!