Lots of gems found in Tipp Panto's production of Treasure Island

Well yes, shiver my timbers and all that but more importantly, laugh till you cry with the antics of the cast of the Tipperary Pantomime Society's production of Treasure Island.

Well yes, shiver my timbers and all that but more importantly, laugh till you cry with the antics of the cast of the Tipperary Pantomime Society's production of Treasure Island.

With a script that didn't fail to include jokes and jibes on present political issues, alongside opportunities for the cast to flaunt their comedy and acting abilities, this production kept the audience entertained from the opening number, 'Don't Stop Believing' (By Journey). And, well, you wouldn't believe the antics that Dame Henrietta Hawkins (played by the comic and generous genius Pat Ryan) got up to. She put comic terror into the audience every time she suddenly jumped off the stage to find her next victim of romance or picked people out of the audience that she knew and on stage, her hilarious ad-libbing with her fellow cast members made them laugh whilst trying to deliver their lines… it really was fun and laughter from the beginning.

A young cast including Alan Ryan as Jim Hawkins, who did an excellent rendition of 'Imagine' by John Lennon and Lorna O'Brien as Polly Silver who rocked the stage with 'I only wanna be with you' by Blondie, played their lead roles with calm confidence. Shannon Barron and Sinead Quinn played the fun male duo of Israel Hans and Nobby Nees who were in hot pursuit of the female duo, Buttercup and Daisy, played by Lorraine Kenneally and Sorcha De Marco. Both duo's lifted the audience every time they stepped on stage and they also got lots of feet tapping and the audience singing when they sang the numbers 'Sisters are doing it For themselves' and 'The Irish Rover'.

The teenage chorus entertained the audience throughout the show with complicated dance routines that they made look easy and the children's chorus delighted the audience with numbers such as 'The Bare Necessities' from the Jungle Book, the famous party song 'Agadoo' and 'The Good Ship Lollipop.' Talented dancing displayed the talented choreography by Catherine Ryan who had over forty dancers to align and create dance routines for very different musical numbers. Did I mention the costumes? They were fantastic; really bright, vibrant and perfectly suited to each character and scene.

The first half of the production ended with Pat Ryan, Dame Henrietta, in a very flamboyant costume singing 'Rolling on the river' by Tina Turner that had the audience clapping and kids in the audience dancing in the aisles.

The character 'Blind Pew', played very well by Cathal Martin, brought a little darkness and spookiness in the second half but was off-set by a quiz hosted by Dame Henrietta that involved many of the cast members. Dermot Merrigan deserves merit for his role as 'Long John Silver' as does Marie Kinane who played 'Billawanga Wu' (Queen of the Island) who sang 'I want to be like you-hoo' from the Jungle Book. Princes Saphira (Laura Brown) sang a lovely duet with Ben Gunn (Kevin Kinane) who also recited, very well, a poem to enhance the plot.

The song 'Burning Love', (Elvis) got the kids in the audience back dancing in the aisles and a rocking rendition of 'Old Time Rock n'Roll' by Dame Henrietta, (Pat Ryan), using her plastic pretty umbrella as a pretend electric guitar brought the house down. As the production moved towards its finale, the cast had a difficult time delivering their lines as Dame Henrietta's antics and ad-libs had them fighting back the laughter that in turn had the audience in stitches. Poor Squire Trelawney played by Kevin Ryan had his work cut out for him as the object of Dame Henrietta's affections. It was such a delight to see the cast having such fun on the stage and in turn making the audience enjoy the performance and laugh with them. 'We go together' from the musical Grease followed by the entire ensemble singing 'Burning Love' again, closed this wonderful, fun, colourful, vibrant production by the Tipperary Pantomime Society. Congratulations to Paddy Ryan (Production & Script) Helen Corbett (Musical Director) and all the members of the orchestra and backstage crew. If I found the treasure on Treasure Island and a magic lamp inside what would I wish for? I would wish that the Tipperary Pantomime Society held two shows a year to keep us all laughing and entertained but I believe that their wish came true… They wished that the fun and warmth of this show would stay with us throughout 2011 and watching the smiling faces of the audience leaving the Marian Hall, I think their wish came true.

Many thanks was given on the night to all the sponsors, booking office help and backstage crew, but the committee, on behalf of the cast and crew of the Tipperary Pantomime Society asked the Nationalist to give a special mention and extend a huge thank you to Daniel O'Connell. Daniel, a regular performer with the society opted out this year due to personal commitments. However, duty called when one of the cast members of Treasure Island became ill on Wednesday night and seeing the script for the first time that evening, Daniel had learnt his lines and stepped into that role on Thursday night without a hiccup. Duty called again on Friday and Saturday night when another cast member suffered a family bereavement and again Daniel stepped in. A huge thanks you to Daniel from all the team.