Do you recall the Coachford panto?

What's on in Cork's theatres this week? Jo Kerrigan reports in Theatre Nights
Do you recall the Coachford panto?

Performers in the Babes In The Wood panto at Fr OLeary Hall in Bandon Road, Cork, in 1961.

PANTOMIME is a closely-held and much-loved Cork Christmas tradition, going back more than a century, and many famous Leeside names took their first steps on the boards in that annual celebration of fun and jollity in a fairytale setting.

Dames like Ignatius Comerford and later Paddy Comerford, Paddy Cotter, Paddy Coughlan, the late great Billa Connell... all delighted audiences down the years.

They didn’t all start in the grandeur of the Opera House or the Palace, now Everyman, though.

Back 60 or so years ago, pantos were written, produced and staged all over the city, in any hall big enough to hold an audience. And for a few golden years there was also that gem of pantomime history, the Coachford show, with bus-loads of eager theatre-goers going out to the little village where the parish priest organised the most splendid performances with all kinds of special effects.

Pity it is that he was moved on by a bishop who perhaps felt he was getting too involved in secular activities. We would like to hear from anyone who remembers the Coachford pantomimes. Email jokerrigan1@gmail.com if you do.

Panto still continues apace in Cork today, though, with Cinderella at the Everyman surely holding the award for audience engagement and participation. From the very opening moments, all the kids in the theatre (and most of the adults too) are eagerly shouting along, cheering, warning, and laughing. Brilliantly done. Until January 15.

Comedian Gearóid Farrelly is at the Everyman on Sunday.
Comedian Gearóid Farrelly is at the Everyman on Sunday.

In between all those matinees and evening shows, Everyman has managed to fit in Gearóid Farrelly this Sunday night, with his hilarious new show, Glamour Hammer. 8pm start.

Opera buffs, have you seized your tickets yet for the Irish National Opera production of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale on February 7? Better be quick. Directed by Orpha Phelan, it features Graeme Danby in the title role, with Patrick Kabongo as his nephew. 8pm start.

Booking for all Everyman shows on 021 450 1673 or at www.everymancork.com.

The Sleeping Beauty continues its highly successful run at the Opera House, with performances right up to January 22.

Again, though, they have managed to squeeze in The Three Amigos on Monday, January 9.

Jon Richardson, aka The Knitwit, is here on January 26, and the bumper pack of nostalgia that never fails, Reeling in the Showband Years, on January 28/29.

Balletomanes will already be queueing for tickets to see the Ukrainian National Ballet in Swan Lake on February 26.

And so many more shows are packed into the spring of this new year. Check them all out on www.corkoperahouse.ie. Call 021 427 0022 for bookings.

Good news for fans of those ska legends, Bad Manners. They will be coming to Leeside on January 27, where they will play the Oliver Plunkett, with special guests The Service. Tickets on sale now from Ticketmaster & tickets.ie.

Sean Keane is in concert at St Mary’s theatre in Rossmore on Thursday, January 12. All bookings and enquiries on 086 448 1086.

If you can’t get to Rossmore, why not enjoy that stunning voice at the Glen Theatre in Banteer on the 14th? Booking on 029 56239 or 087 755 8752.

Or head for Killarney, where The Legend Of Luke Kelly is on this Saturday, January 7. Chris Kavanagh celebrates the memory and music of a true Irish musical icon.

That’s in The Club, while on the same night, Gina and the Champions are in the INEC Arena.

And, continuing the great showband theme, who wouldn’t rush to see Remembering Joe on January 13, a tribute to one of our best-loved and too early lost stars of that genre, Joe Dolan? All bookings on inec.ie or 064 667 1555.

May 2023 be good for all of us, and may you enjoy the very best of music, song, dance, drama, opera, and every other form of theatrical entertainment in Cork.

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