My Weekend: Hitting the right notes for Everyman panto

Anth Kaley is the musical director for Jack and the Beanstalk which is currently running at the Everyman
My Weekend: Hitting the right notes for Everyman panto
Anth Kaley Musical director for Jack and the Beanstalk

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I was born in Sunderland in the north east of England, the youngest of five kids.

It was (and still is) a no-frills city to grow up in. My father worked in the shipyards and some of my earliest memories are being taken to the river and watching the launch of the latest ship while nearly freezing to death. My mother was a stickler for correct speech, so I had two accents, a When the Boat Comes In accent for school so I wouldn’t get beaten up and a Downton Abbey accent for home to appease mother. Everyone in the family played a musical instrument apart from my mother who sang soprano, so parties in the house were somewhat boisterous affairs. I’m sure when friends were invited round they frantically tried to come up with an excuse to avoid a ‘Von Trapp’ experience.

Following a degree in music in Newcastle I worked in theatre productions and then on to more mainstream rock and pop gigs and recording.

It was while recording an album in Dublin in 1992 that I decided to make Ireland my home (my wife calls me a Brefugee) and moved to Cork in 2003.

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night?

When we can, my wife and I go into the city on a Friday, normally for a bite to eat and meet up with friends. Apart from special occasions it’s the only night we spend in the city centre.

Lie-ins or up with the lark — which is it for you?

I love a lie-in especially if I have been performing the night before, but generally we are so busy that we don’t get the chance. We also have two cats that don’t like us to sleep too long.

Anth Kaley and Ruth Cagney of Rant Cafe.Picture: David Keane.
Anth Kaley and Ruth Cagney of Rant Cafe.Picture: David Keane.

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

Most weekends have some form of work involvement but at this time of year it’s all weekend every weekend. The pantomime season is upon us. This year is my fourth year working with Catherine Mahon Buckley and The Everyman Palace panto, which is great fun but a lot of work. Catherine is very good to me though, she often brings dinner in for me during rehearsals ... I think she’s just trying to fatten me up.

If money was no object where would you head to on a weekend city break? And who would you bring with you?

I would probably go to Innsbruck in Austria. It’s a beautiful city surrounded by the Alps. I’ve played there many times over the years and stayed in a lovely hotel in the old part of the city called the Altstadthotel which is over 500 years old and where Mozart stayed with his father while performing there.

Closer to home, is there some place you like to head to recharge the batteries?

My wife introduced me to Aghada a few years ago, it’s a lovely spot and so tranquil.

Do you like to catch up with family/friends at the weekend?

We tend to meet up with friends regularly over the weekend. We are lucky to be part of a fantastic community in St Lukes Cross that have great events for charity that we all get involved with — stew competitions, art exhibitions and fundraisers, etc.

Do you get to indulge any hobbies? Even as a spectator?

I’m very good at watching most sporting events, just don’t ask me to catch, hit or kick a ball. For my last birthday, my wife bought me a drill so I expect DIY may be a future hobby.

Entertain or be entertained? If it’s the latter do you have a signature dish?

I enjoy both. We’re fortunate to have great friends who are great cooks but I also love to cook. I base my cooking on the Keith Floyd method, which has absolutely nothing to do with his recipes, more to do with drinking wine during the prep. I make a pretty good coconut chicken curry or steak with caramelised onions. I need a team of cleaners though by the time I’m finished ... somehow I can manage to use every utensil, pot and pan while making a warm chicken salad. I don’t know how I do it — it’s a talent.

We have so many places to eat out in Cork — where are your go to spots for coffee/lunch/special meal?

Coffee has to be ‘RANT’ cafe in St’ Lukes Cross, if it’s sunny you can sit outside and watch the world go by or sit inside and enjoy the local banter. If my wife and I go into the city centre we like to go to Elbow Lane on Oliver Plunkett Street which has great food and wine and excellent service. There is also a wonderful Nepalese restaurant called ‘Thali’ which is on Maylor St now (recently moved) for a spicier experience. If we stay local, we go to The Wine Tavern in St Lukes for Tapas and of course wine.

Sunday night comes around too fast — how do you normally spend it?

When I can, I like to make a Sunday dinner (roast chicken or beef with yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings) and then fall onto the couch and watch television

What time does your alarm clock go off on Monday morning?

My wife is my alarm clock, I’m not sure of the time but it’s too early whatever it is.

Jack And The Beanstalk runs at the Everyman until January 12, with a 7.30pm start and finishing around 10.15pm. Matinees on various dates too, see everymancork.com.
ISL Performance on Friday, January 3, at 1.30pm.

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