Getting Wiggy With It

October 23, 2013

They say the play’s the thing. That’s certainly the case for the Cork Opera House. Their panto, Alice in Wonderland, is rumoured to have cost in the region of €250,000. But just because it pulls in three-quarters of the venue’s annual takings doesn’t mean they are tarting it up to attract the punters. Quality is to the fore of what they do. So while chock-full of talent, it is the production itself, and not one performer, that’s the star.

“There is still a tradition of panto here in Cork,” six-time Dame Frank Mackey says. “It goes back to the days of Michael Twomey and Billa O’Connell, for whom the older generation are still nostalgic. And then there is the brilliant job (director) Bryan Flynn has done in making it relevant to the younger crowd.”

His 11th seasonal outing at the venue, it’s a testament to Flynn’s success that the show doesn’t need a “star” to pack them in. “Other venues need to get bums on seats, so they have to go in that direction unfortunately,” says Mackey. “It’s been such a familial event each Christmas here, that that’s what is important. For me it’s great to be able to come down to Cork, as they use actors.”

Full Article, The Irish Examiner December 21, 2012


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