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Tara Maxwell as Pinocchio and Kevin O'Conor as Gepetto during rehearsals for Sixmilebridge Youth Club's production of Pinocchio. Photograph by John Kelly.

Pinocchio noses his way around the ‘Bridge

FEBRUARY ushers in pantomime season in Sixmilebridge and this year members of the youth club hope to enthral audiences with their spin on the timeless classic, Pinocchio.

Produced  by retired school teacher Frances Downes and co-produced by Suzanne Carmody and Ray Maxwell, audiences will be highly entertained as the cast put their own inimitable imprint on the show.

There will be plenty of colourful costumes, singing, dancing and a great deal of audience participation. The show is choreographed by Lauren Kelly, with assistance from Tara Maxwell.

The pantomime follows the story of Pinocchio, who is played by Tara Maxwell, and one of Pinocchio’s best-known characteristics is his nose. The wooden puppet is the creation of toymaker Antonio Gepetto, humorously portrayed by Stephen O’Dea, who is proud of his puppet but longs for a son to call his own. He is attracted to the devious circus owner Gypsy Angelina, who will be played by Caitriona Gallagher.

However, she faces competition from pizzeria proprietor Mama Macaroni, played by Liam Togher, who once again takes on the role of the panto dame. Gerard O’Dea assumes the part of the Dame’s son Luigi, who pines after Belladonna, played by Ciara Downes.

Pinocchio’s wish to become a real boy is granted by the Blue Star Fairy, played by Kate Flynn, and Shane Hayes takes on the role of Pinocchio’s conscience, Buddy Holly.

The pantomime also features undercover gangsters, Nico the Cat and Rico the Fox, portrayed respectively by Cristel Shannon and Shauna Kerin. Alanna Marsh plays the Scarecrow, Amy Stanley takes on the role of Tinman and the Lion is played by Ciaran Semahedi.

Pádraig Shannon and Cathal Greene take on the roles of Rocco and Rolo respectively and Donagh Cadogan plays the part of Franco, with Aoife Downes appearing as Rosa.

The cast is completed by Paul Hamilton, Áine Sweeney, Darragh Sweeney, Sinéad Cahill, Grace Reid, Seán Devanney, Ben Murphy, Andrew Shannon, John Shannon, Keith Wilmot, Aoibhe Ward-Murphy, Sophie McInerney, Remi Onakoya and Ailise Roche.
The show runs over two weekends and the first show kicks off on Friday, February 20 at 8pm in the local GAA hall. There will be a special matinee show the following evening, at 6pm, while the following weekend’s performances begin on the Friday night at 8pm, with the final show on Saturday, February 28 at 8pm.

Going on the experiences of previous years, co-producer Ray Maxwell is encouraging people to buy their tickets well in advance. Tickets are available from local shops and youth club members.

“The standards have been set and maintained over the last few years but this year the cast are determined to raise the bar even higher. It promises to be a very enjoyable and entertaining show and we hope the club gets the support it deserves from the community,”said Ray.

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