THE Christmas season has officially begun in Limerick as the much-loved University Concert Hall Spar pantomime was launched in King John’s Castle this week.
This year’s highly anticipated pantomime is Beauty and the Beast and will include performances from familiar faces such as Myles Breen, George McMahon, Richie Hayes, John Brannoch and Richard Lynch, as well as newcomers Karl Spain, Aoibhin Garrihy and Tom O’Mahony.
Speaking at the launch, mayor of Limerick city and county Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon said that he was “very proud” of the successful yearly event, which is sponsored by Spar.
“This is very much part of what we are and the great people that Limerick is about and the great enjoyment of our culture, our sport and our way of life.
“I certainly look forward to going out to see all of the actors dressed up and all of the kids dancing and I wish the cast every success.”
This year will mark actor Myles Breen’s 20th consecutive Christmas pantomime, in which he will take up the role of Lola, who is Belle’s nanny.
“Every Christmas since 1996 I’ve been putting on the high heels, the wig, the make up and doing pantos. It’s one of my favourite gigs of the year. It’s so much fun,” he explained.
“I’m meant to be taking care of Belle but unfortunately I don’t take care of her very well because she ends up meeting the Beast, so I may not be the best nanny in the world!” he joked, adding that the audience can expect “a few surprises” during the show.
Director of the University Concert Hall Sinead Hope also spoke highly of the successful production.
“I’m very proud to say over the past four years we’ve sold out over 80,000 tickets which speaks volumes about the show and the production," she said.
“This is a testament to the panto and how it has become essential to audiences in the region for Christmas. We are lucky to be able to showcase the wonderful Limerick talent,” she enthused.
Beauty and the Beast will run from December 19 to January 8, with prices ranging from €15 to €28 per person.
For more see www.uch.ie.