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Mrs Brown's Boys star to replace Al Porter in Olympia panto

Actor Rory Cowan has been announced as comedian Al Porter's replacement in the Olympia Theatre's Christmas panto, writes Denise O'Donoghue.

Mr Cowan will take on the role of Polly in Polly and the Beanstalk. The star recently decided to leave the hit show Mrs Brown's Boys after almost 20 years.

"I am very happy to be joining the cast" of the Olympia Theatre panto. I am a huge panto fan and treading the hallowed boards of the Olympia is a privilege for me." he said.

He will be joined by panto cast members Dustin the Turkey, Ryan Andrews of Fair City fame and Michelle O'Neill, who was previously seen in RTÉ's Scorchio.

The change was announced after Mr Porter announced he will take “time away from the spotlight” following a weekend of allegations of unwanted groping and advances by the comedian.

On Saturday, four men told the Ireland edition of The Times that Mr Porter groped them without their consent.

The Olympia Theatre today thanked the public for their support "during this extremely difficult time", adding it was Mr Porter's decision to step down from his role.

"Performing together for over 12 years, our Olympia Panto family, would like to thank you for your support during this extremely difficult time. Our wonderful cast and team will remain to work hard and bring you the magical Panto you deserve.

"It was Al's decision to step away from the Olympia Panto for this year to concentrate on his personal life. Al is as passionate as he always has been about the Olympia but in his own words, the show must go on."