The magic of the Derry Panto 2019

The dictionary definition of Pantomime is ‘a theatrical entertainment, mainly for children, which involves music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy and is based on a fairy tale or nursery story, usually produced around Christmas.’ The Derry panto is this every year. But for me tonight, it went even further.

Having lost my wonderful Daddy, and best friend, just 6 weeks ago, I was hesitant about accepting my ‘press’ invite this year. But I’m so glad I did. I went along tonight in body, but my heart was not truly in it. I left Derry a short while ago with my heart firmly intact and although I shed a tear(s) (all in a good way), I’m so truly grateful to the amazing cast that was on that stage tonight. They allowed this girl to believe in magic again, and to believe that it really is ok to be happy again.

I’ve been reviewing this panto for over 6 years now. And each time I love it. But tonight I loved it even more. I loved it in a way I never thought possible. I fell in love with life all over again tonight.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a timeless fairy-tale. One which inspires us that ‘happy ever after’ really can happen. One which teaches us that good does triumph over evil.

Snow White tells the story of the young princess who finds herself on the run from her wicked stepmother and takes refuge int eh forest with seven pint-sized men. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs remains one of the best-loved pantomimes of all time.

With Daniel O’Donnell as the magic mirror; facetime as his calling; this really was contemporary, fun, and entertaining throughout. Daniel was a wonderful magic mirror I must say.

Tonight’s show was jam-packed with fantastic song and dance; hilarious comedy, sizzling scenes and magical special effects. It entertained from start to finish.

The cast features the return of the superb William Caulfield for his fourteenth consecutive year. This time as Nurse Molly Coddle. To say he was funny is such an understatement. He was better than ever. And he just gets younger looking with each year (but please don’t tell him I said such)!! William was joined by Derry’s wonderful Rachael O’Connor as Snow White. With an exquisite voice, and delightful acting, she really won us all over tonight.

Conor O’Kane as Prince Charming had me crying for the first time ever at Panto. His final solo just brought my wee Dad to mind and although he was magical, he also brought about beautiful memories for me and the tears were ones of joy at such memories. His notes and words just tugged at the heartstrings tonight. Thank you for this Conor.

However I seriously must say that Keith Lynch totally stole tonight’s show for me. How he managed to remain so muddled as ‘Muddles‘ with those lines I’ll never know. It was brilliant. He was brilliant. Then to break into Queen when he did, just allowed me to sing, clap, dance and seriously feel good; this was another form of magic tonight.

Karen Hawthorne may have been the wicked Queen, but she was wickedly wonderful in her performance and singing throughout the show. And one couldn’t help but love the loveable Henchman, Andrew Porter.

And of course the Ensemble were equally riveting in their performance tonight. I must give a special mention to Jessica McShane. A young lady who supported my own work when I was just starting out a few years ago. It’s a delight to watch her and her professionalism now on stage. The Ensemble were a delight to watch.

But oh, those Dwarfs….as the seven dwarfs, they rocked, but as Queen they totally rocked too. Brilliant. Loved you guys and gal….

The music was so entertaining tonight….the stage set was outstanding….the costumes divine (Nurse Molly I want your red boots)….the lighting, sound and special effects were above and beyond what one expects in pantomime.

Derry panto you seriously have put yourself on the world panto map tonight. We often hear about the Dublin ‘Gaiety Panto’ being the ‘panto to beat all others’. Move over the Gaiety and all others. Derry has just upped the Panto ante. If you haven’t booked this years Derry Panto, you’ll never get to experience the best one ever. That’s the only way to describe Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Millennium Forum this year. It’s a step above the best. IT IS THE BEST.

As someone whose wee heart is broken inside at present, tonight allowed me to see the light and the magic that the world has to offer. William Caulfield and this amazing cast hold a real magic that really does sparkle.

If you want to experience true sparkle this Christmas then give the ‘gift of Panto’. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs runs at Derry’s Millennium Forum until Sunday 29th December. Relaxed performance and Dementia Friendly performance on Sunday 15th December 2pm (BSL & ISL). Makaton Tutor Interpreted Performance also on Sunday 15th December at 2pm.

See or call Box Office on +44 2871264455 to book your tickets now. You really won’t regret it.


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