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Castlebar Pantomime
Castlebar Panto 2010 - Sing a Song of Sixpence
By Karen Conway
30, Dec 2009 - 09:25

Celebrating a Quarter Century of Castlebar Pantomime with "Sing a Song Of Sixpence"

Sing a song of sixpence, a pocket full of rye; Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie. When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing. Now, wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the King?

The King was in his countinghouse, counting out his money. The Queen was in the parlor eating bread and honey. The maid was in the garden, hanging out the clothes. Along there came a big black bird and pecked off her nose!

Well we could not have you struggling to remember the nursery rhyme, now could we! It is a long time since Castlebar Pantomime preformed a show based on a nursery rhyme, the last one being “Mother Hubbard” in 1999, Mother Goose of 1993 is only associated with nursery rhymes, which then leaves “Ole King Cole” in 1990, making a Castlebar Pantomime based around a nursery rhyme a bit of rarity and in the case of “ Sing A Song Of Sixpence” a rather brilliant show!

“Sing A Song of Sixpence” involves two Kingdoms, one of which Cornucopia was wonderfully oblivious of the other until Queen Dilly of Utopia played by the shy & retiring James Murray of Coursepark who only goes and gambles the Royal family's castle, jewels, carriage etc & now brings her son the handsome Prince Valentine played by Breaffy's Joe Meagher to the serene ( will at least until Queen Dilly arrived) Kingdom of Cornucpia to seek the hand of its Princess played by Laura Daly from Castlebar while his Mother seeks all the wealth she can handle! On his arrival Prince Valentine meets a beautiful servant girl & practices his proposal to the Princess, but is this girl merely a servant? Utopia is ruled by King Ferdinand played by Castlebar's Philip McDonagh who has in his procession a magic crown which protects his Kingdom from evil & doubles his gold nightly. Great tragedy would befall the Kingdom if it fell into the wrong hands. Is this why Witch Watt played by Donna Ruane (she who normally Directs) has taken to sneaking around the kitchen as Dame Durdon played by John Gavin as he prepares a pie for Kings birthday? An innocent looking pie could be the method she has been looking for to aid her in a devious plot even if the ever good Fairy Gossamer played by Angela Prenty from Ballyglass who constantly seems to turn up & claim she will not succeed.

When Dame Durdon meets Prince Valentine he reminds her of another Prince looking for a bride many years ago, who swept her off her feet but eventually married her sister whom she has not seen since then. Could this tale from the past come back to revisit Dame Durdon in her happy life now? King Ferdinands past has definitely come back to haunt him on hearing of Queen Dillys arrival to Cornucopia. Despite many suggestions from his Chamberlain played by Jane Flanagan originally from Ballaghderreen, his jesters Flip & Flop played by Castlebar ladies Antoinette Starken & Ann Barrett, Queen Dilly was not going anywhere without a substantial amount of riches! Being Pantomime there is an understanding that any character can float into a tale, hence Simple Simon played by Walter Donoghue is the palace cook Dame Durdons gentleman friend! But that does not stop him from flirting with Lucy the maid played by Ann Murrray, who looked very well until the pie & the spell & the blackbirds...., oh but that would be giving away too much of the plot!

Needless to say a bit of a Panto situation arises where Prince Valentine must put his life on the line to restore the harmony of Utopia & traditionally the Princess disappears from the castle causing the occupants to launch a massive search. This search leads them to some Gypsies played by Lidia Famulska, Sabrina Nolan, Frances O'Grady & Nicola Walsh from Poland, Kilmeena & Castlebar respectively who reveal yet another palace secret. But what about the crown, will King Ferdinand ever be able to spend time in his counting house, will the Princess return and hopefully Queen Dilly leave? Will Prince Valentine marry his Princess, will good fairy's overcome evil witches? – Come to the Theatre Royal, Castlebar from the January 13th to 17th to find out..................

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