About RTÉ Television
The Afternoon Show
The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm

Christmas Pantomime Guide

Friday, 18 December 2009

Afternoon Show Reporter Michael Gannon took himself along to some of the Pantos on offer this season. He is live in studio to deliver his verdict.

Michael will be appearing on the show throughout the season doing reports on various items. This is his second assignment.

Michael Gannon aged 29

FIRST PANTO - Cinderella at the Helix running from now until 17th January 2010.

MICHAELS REVIEW: I went to see Cinderella in the Helix Theatre. This was the funniest Panto that I ever saw in Dublin. They had better jokes and better script than the Gaiety. They were very topical because they did jokes about John and Edward from the X Factor and Thiery Henry and the handball incident in the soccer game with France.

The leading roles were played by Carol-Anne Ryan and Eoin Cannon. The ugly sisters played by Paul Purcell and Aidan Mannion were hilarious. When they first appeared on the stage they began singing I'm a single lady I'm a single lady. All the costumes were very impressive and especially the costumes for the ugly sisters. Their hair was like Marge Simpson's. They sang a few duets together. They were very good singers and were really funny.

Buttons was also very good, played by Colin Hughes. He was falling in love with Cinderella but she didn't know this.

Dandini was played by Ross Murray. At one stage he used a mask of Thiery Henry and carried a big glove in his hand. This was the funniest part of the show. They also used Deal or No Deal as well.
This all went on while they were looking for Cinderella's slipper.

I was very impressed with the whole set, the sound was very loud but I could hear everyone singing, dancing and acting and every one played there parts very well.

There were three teams of children helping Cinderella to get to the ball. They were very good dancers. Anna McAllister played the part of the wicked stepmother. She was trying to stop Cinderella getting to the ball. She ripped up her invitation. The audience booed and hissed her.

The Fairy Godmother was played by Louise Barry. Her script was in rhyme for the whole show.
The audience had to get up to dance and sing. They really got involved. They laughed more and more as the pantomime went on. They gave the show a standing ovation at the end. It was brilliant.

Afterwards I went backstage and met the cast. I got some photos taken.

MARKS: 10 out of 10

INFO: Cinderella at the Helix running from now until 17th January 2010.

Starring Eoin Cannon as Prince Charming, Carol Anne Ryan as Cinderella and welcoming back the hilarious comic duo of Paul Purcell and Aidan Mannion as the Ugly Sisters, our Cinderella story is still the classic tale known and loved for generations but is packed full with boos, hisses, singing, dancing and hilarious gags to boot.

Performance time and Prices.

Shows: 12, 19, 20, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 Dec 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,9, 10, 16, 17 Jan @ 2.30pm

5, 12, 13, 19, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 Dec 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 16, 17
Jan @ 6.30pm

4, 11, 18, 22, 23 Dec 8, 14, 15 Jan @ 7.30pm

(Please Note: proceeds from shows on 22nd & 23rd Dec will be going to Console)

Family shows €24 adults, €20 children, Family Ticket €65 & €80 (2 adults & 2 children)

You can buy tickets in The Helix, DCU, Collins Avenue, Glasnevin, Dublin 9, Ireland or call 01 7007000.

For further information go to


SECOND PANTO: Jack and the Bean Stalk in the Gaiety running from now until 31st January 2010.

MICHAELS REVIEW: I went to see the pantomime called Jack and the Beanstalk in the Gaiety theatre. The Scene was set in the beautiful Village. I was very impressed with George Mc Mahon who played the male lead Jack. He sang well and looked well and danced well. He was my star. I was also very impressed with Leanne More who played Jill. She had a singing voice that the audience loved.

Michael Grennell and Michael Joseph were the two baddies. They got the audience involved.. The Dame was Garry Mountaine. He sang really well and was funny. He also got the audience to participate.

The pantomime began with the prologue. The giant spoke in a really loud voice Fe Fi Fo Fum. We didn't hear the giant again until the last scene.

The pantomime began when Fifi the fairy came on to the stage on roller skates to introduce the cast to everyone. She then waved her magic Wand to start the pantomime and the curtain rose and the fun began.

The set was very well laid out. All the houses were spotted on different angles of the stage and they also had trees around the whole stage. The beanstalk was at the centre of the stage were the pit singers were.
This was a big beanstalk and Jack had to climb it and he did really well

There were two teams of children in the pantomime, the green team and the pink team. Their job was to help Jack to get Daisy the cow back home.

The audience got involved with hisses and boos and lots of He's behind you. Lots of children were in the audience. There was a song sheet on screen to help the children and parents get involved with the singing and dancing. I enjoyed it very much

MARKS: 9 out of 10

Jack and the Beanstalk in the Gaiety running from now until the 31st January 2010.

Starring George McMahon as Jack, Leanne Moore as Jill, Richie Hayes as Slow Sean, Garry Mountaine as Dame Spratt, Michael Grennell as Felix Fleshcreep, Michael Joseph as Garavan Gobdaw and Louise Lenihan as the Fairy.
The much-loved traditional pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk returns to The Gaiety Theatre. Join Jack and his beanstalk on a giant adventure, where Jack must outwit and outrun the giant.
This classic tale will capture children's interest and spark their imagination. When Jack swaps his cow for some magic beans, they grow into an enormous magic beanstalk. Can Jack climb the beanstalk, save the lovely princess from the giant and escape with all his arms and legs? Come along and follow Jack up the beanstalk to find out!

Performance time and Prices.

Evening shows - Mon - Fri, 6:30 pm - Sat 7:30 pm

Matinees - Sat 2:30 pm - Sun 1:30 pm

Run time of 2 hrs and 30 mins including an interval of 20 mins.

Running until 31st January 2010.

Ticket prices - €16.50, €18.50, €19.50, €21.50, €27.50, €31, €33, €34, €35

You can buy tickets from the Box Office on South King St, Dublin 2 or from any Ticketmaster outlet nationwide or online at (Service charges apply)

For further information go to


THIRD PANTO- The Cherrios Panto presents Cinderella at the Tivoli running until 17th January 2010.

Michael visited on the first night of the previews

This pantomime was different to the Cinderella in the Helix. It was not as funny as the Helix and the costumes were not as good. Cinderella was played by Sinead Mulvey. She had a great voice. Prince Charming was Elliot Moriarty, who was in his first pantomime and he did not sing. He was a good actor and used the stage well and at times he was difficult to understand.

The Dandini in the Helix was much more creative with his character. He sang and danced a lot and engaged with the audience. In the Tivoli Dandini didn't get the audience involved and the jokes were not funny all the time and it was hard to hear at times.

They used a backing track and not live music. I prefer live music.

Alan Hughes played Sammy Jedward Sausages and he was very good with the audience. He really got them involved. He was the only one of the cast who did this.
The dancing in the Tivoli was not good. They were not moving in time with each other or the music. They need to work on this. The children participated by dancing and singing. They were good but they were left standing around some of the time with nothing to do.

At the end of the pantomime they brought all the Fathers up to the stage and got them to dance. This was very funny.

It was their opening night and they were nervous.

Marks: 6 out of 10

The Cherrios Panto presents Cinderella at the Tivoli running until 17th January 2010.

The renowned Cheerio's Panto is back at the Tivoli Theatre this Christmas with the well- loved children's classic Cinderella. Starring Sammy Sausages and Buffy along with Brian Dowling as an Ugly sister, this year's Cheerio's panto is sure to bring lots of fun, frolics and laughter to all who attend. Also joining the cast this year is one of Ireland's top models Pippa O' Connor as the fairy godmother, and introducing the wonderful and talented Sinead Mulvey who represented Ireland in this year's Eurovision, as Cinderella.

Performance times and Prices.

Performance times vary check for times.

Running Time: 2hours 15 minutes, including interval

Ticket Prices: €29.50
There are some family tickets available for certain dates prices €80 for 4 people.

You can buy tickets from Tivoli Theatre Box Office at Francis Street, Dublin or call 01 4544472 or 01 4544473.

For further information go to


Additional / Misc' Info:


The idea of pantomime originated in ancient Greece, and later rose to popularity during the reign of Augustus in ancient Rome. The name is taken from a masked dancer called Pantomimus, and the comedy and tragedy content of modern pantomime has clear links with the Commedia dell'Arte which started in Italy in the Middle Ages and reached England by the middle of the 17th century when the Commedia dell'Arte characters first began to appear in English plays.

Often the Commedia dell'Arte touring troupes were made up of family members who generally improvised their way through a plot involving characters like Arlecchino (or Harlequin) and his true love, Columbina (or Columbine). Other standard characters were the over protective father, Pantaloon, who refused to allow the heroic Harlequin to seek his daughter's affections. In some versions Pantaloon has a servant, Pulchinello, later to be known as Clown. These characters varied depending on who the performers were entertaining, but the great clown Grimaldi eventually transformed the format so that each story had the same characters which can still be found in today's pantomimes.

Now traditionally performed at Christmas for family audiences, pantomime is now a popular form of theatre with song, dance, comedy, slapstick, audience participation and mild sexual innuendo. The plots are often loosely based on traditional children's stories, the most popular titles being:

. Aladdin (often combined with Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves) . Babes in the Wood (often combined with Robin Hood) . Beauty and the Beast . Cinderella, the most popular of all pantomimes . Dick Whittington which is based on a seventeenth century play . Goldilocks and the Three Bears . Jack and the Beanstalk . Mother Goose . Peter Pan . Puss in Boots . Sleeping Beauty . Snow White

Panto has a number of traditions and superstitions - most of which have remained over the years:

. The leading male juvenile character is the principal boy and is almost always played by a woman usually dressed in short, tight fitting skirts accompanied by knee-high leather boots and fishnet stockings. In the past when ladies covered their legs with garments down to their ankles, this provided a great opportunity to display a shapely pair of legs and make the panto appeal to a male audience.

. The pantomime dame is usually played by a man. This dates back to the Victorian Music Halls when the public loved to see well-known comedians playing the role of Jack's mother, Sarah the Cook in Dick Whittington or Window Twankey in Aladdin. Women comedians were practically unheard of then and the tradition has stuck ever since.

. There is plenty of audience participation with calls of "it's behind you!" and "oh yes it is!" or "oh no it isn't!" The audience is always encouraged to "boo" the villain.

. There is usually a song sheet towards the end of the panto when one half of the audience is challenged to sing "their" chorus louder than the other half. Members of the cast throw out sweets to the children in the audience and often ask members of the audience up on stage.
These scenes are often used as padding to give the cast time to change into their walk down costumes.

. The good fairy always enters from the right side of the stage and the evil villain enters from the left. This stems from Commedia dell 'Arte when the right side of the stage symbolized Heaven and the left side symbolized Hell.

. In pantomime the last lines spoken in the finale; (traditionally in rhyming couplets) should never be spoken in rehearsal as this is considered very bad luck. They are uttered for the first time on the opening night.

. The last artistes to appear on stage in the walk down or finale are traditionally the Principal Boy and Girl, who have usually got married at the end of the show.

. It is considered very unlucky to have real flowers on stage, unless handed up the leading lady during the curtain call.

. Whistling in a dressing room is a bad omen and if you care caught doing this you have to leave the room, turn around three times, knock and re-enter, usually uttering a curse.

Source: Pantomime History, Traditions and Superstitions By Linda Sandeman.