Letterkenny Pantomime Society are making a long overdue return to the stage with their show, Aladdin in the wonderful An Grianan Theatre.

Family-favourite Aladdin opens on Saturday,  January 20, running until Saturday, January 27 with shows nightly at 7:30pm and three weekend matinees to suit little theatre-goers at 2pm on January 20, 21 and 27.

Back: Louise Flanagan, Karina Boyle, Mary Corpus, Garry Coll, Mark Mills, Ciarán Doherty Front: Donna Peoples, Martina McClafferty, Tina Garry, Pat Slattery. Photo: Frances Diver

The directorial team of Patrick Doherty, Tina Garry, Donna Ponsonby and Dáithí Doherty have joined forces to bring you a spectacle of laughter, music and audience participation. This, coupled with Katrina McNamee’s high-paced choreography of high kicks and synchronicity and Musical Director Paul Ward’s complementary music choices means that it’s time to dust off your magic carpet and get ready for a feast of entertainment that the whole family will enjoy.

As always, the show includes a magical children’s scene where many a budding Letterkenny thespian first experienced life on the stage. Great credit goes to Donna Ponsonby and her team for the co-ordination of our littlest cast members, whose participation remains a highlight as well as being a long-standing Letterkenny tradition.

Wishee, Ciaran Doherty & The Genie, Tina Garry. Photo: Frances Diver

“We welcome returning cast members and introduce some new faces to the society this year,” Tina Garry, Assistant Director and Chairperson of Letterkenny Pantomime Society, says.

Garry Coll, a pantomime veteran with his own brand of classic timing and easy audience rapport, is the demanding Emperor and the effervescent Tina McClafferty, Slave of the Ring, will keep everyone right in her role of the narrator with a song or two thrown in for good measure.

Far Flung, Karina Boyle, The Emperor, Garry Coll & Who Flung, Mark Mills. Photo: Frances Diver

Making another welcome return to the stage is Ciarán Doherty, who is excellent as the hapless, but loveable fool, Wishee. Another familiar face is Adele Evans. She shines in her role as the bold and brassy panto dame, Widow Twankey – a demanding part that Adele has taken to in her stride.

Among the panto debutantes this year are Chloe Borland and Mary Corpus who play love interests Aladdin and Jasmine and just wait ‘til you hear those voices! They are absolute naturals who were born for the stage: Chloe perfectly captures Aladdin’s boyish charm and Mary is ideal as the innocent but wayward Jasmine, it’s a good job that Donna Peoples reins her in as loyal sidekick So-Shi!

Speaking of sidekicks, Mark Mills and Karina Boyle appear as the Emperor’s guards – they might not be the most effective guards but good security is hard to come by these days, even in the royal court! Though Pat Slattery’s Mummy might test their nerves a little …

In terms of pantomime villains, they don’t come more evil than Abanazar and Louise Flanagan’s villainous characterisation will have you booing in the aisles, perhaps even at her mini-me version, played enthusiastically by her talented daughter, Lucy. And if there is an Aladdin, there must be a Genie, who appears via a lamp to grant you a wish or three between songs, but make sure you choose them wisely!

“This is the first Letterkenny Panto in four years because of the pandemic and it’s very important to have it back,” Tina Garry adds.

“Most people involved in amateur dramatics were involved at some stage in the Panto and it’s part of the fabric of Letterkenny town.

“We would like to thank our wonderful committee for many months of volunteering and support in organising our show: Emma, Joan, Jackie, Lisa, Patrick, Pat, Mark, Kazuko, Daithí and Donna, we wouldn’t have a show without you! We would also like to thank Brian Gallagher of The Station House Hotel and Enda Nicholls in Arena 7 for providing us with venues in which to rehearse as well as Donegal County Council and our sponsors for helping us get this far!

“Everyone is very excited to get the chance to kick things off after a lot of rehearsals and we’re appreciative of all who helped in any way and if anyone ever wants to get involved, volunteers are always welcome. We hope you enjoy the show.”

Director Patrick Doherty & Choreographer Katriona McNamee. Photo: Frances Diver

As always, we endeavour to return profits made to the community in support of our host clubs; when purchasing a ticket for our show, you will be supporting the following clubs: Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál (Saturday 20), Swilly Seals Swimming Club (Sunday 21), Milford GAA Club/Milford Parish Fundraising (Tuesday 23), Letterkenny Scouts (Wednesday 24), Drumoghill FC (Thursday 25), Bonagee Utd (Friday 26), Letterkenny Community Childcare Development Group (Saturday 27).

Tickets are available from any of the schools or clubs or at An Grianan Theatre, and are priced at €18/€15 each, those bought from the theatre will incur a €2 booking fee.

Early booking is advised! Please note, seating is not allocated and is based on first-come, first-served to accommodate our host clubs. Those who require accessible seating should arrange this in advance through An Grianan when booking tickets.

This is a fun pantomime with an exquisite company of great performers, talented actors and vocal powerhouses who have been eagerly rehearsing to brighten up your dark January! The story of Aladdin is one of the most popular pantomimes and Letterkenny Pantomime Society brings us an updated and contemporary version of this show which is guaranteed to raise laughs. Will Aladdin find love with the exotic Princess Jasmine? Will the evil Abanazar lead him astray? Will the desperate Widow Twankey bag herself a husband? Come and find out!