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All Aboard.. It's Panto Time in Ramelton

Town Hall Panto... Robinson Crusoe is a real cracker

By John McAteer

Click here to see some photos

Robinson Crusoe, Ramelton's 49th pantomime is playing to good crowds in the opening week of the run at the Town Hall and the booking office has reported good business after a very good reaction from audiences over the opening couple of nights.

Ramelton's panto is now part of the town's heritage and culture and this year's show is a real cracker with a combination of music, dance, comedy and production hitting all the right buttons.

Robinson Crusoe was last staged in Ramelton thirteen years ago and this time around the country has changed. But in the best panto tradition things are forever positive. It is one of the great old panto stories of make believe, mayhem and a wonderful ending and we are transported to the South  Seas on board the good ship Adventure captained by the one and only Tommy Logan who is making a very welcome return to the town hall.

I know the story was first put on paper in the late 17th century and it wears well. On the quayside at the town hall it is a bustling scene with large barrels of rum, Coors Light along with salt and pepper and a crate of Viagra... imagine. Maybe they are for export since I'd never imagine them needing such merchandise in Ramelton because they have a much stiffer resolve than that.

This is a swashbuckling tale rich with action, reaction and pirates led by the wily Brian Winston and his side-kick Catriona McCafferty. This is a very balanced team of principals and there is a great chorus... and they add so much colour and glam to the night's entertainment.

Danny McLaughlin plays Billy Crusoe, some of the Dame, with James Friel excelling in that role. Mickey McHugh and Dermot Mills are also the fore alongside   Damien Duffy and Maggie Cullen. Great singing and great moments with a fine musical direction by  Ronan Doherty.

Martin Duffy is also playing a lead and the role of the Fairy is played with great confidence by Danielle O'Neill and the quality of her singing is really top class. Then there is Daniel Gardiner and Oisin McLaughlin, new characters and new roles with Oisin stepping in at the last minute to replace Tom Egan. A fine team effort all through the two hours and you will leave the hall with great memories. And the ‘Come Dine With Me' is a new experience which you will love as Mickey, Dermot and James dish up a recipe for laughter and mayhem.

Along the way there is a tumultuous journey that sees the Adventure wrecked in a storm but the desire to get back to the briny is strong... too strong as Dame Crusoe and half the town tag along. This journey too ends in disaster as the ship is taken over by  pirates and Crusoe becomes a slave. After two years of slavery, he manages to escape in a boat with a boy named Xury; later, Crusoe is rescued and befriended by the Captain of a Portuguese ship off the west coast of Africa. It is indeed a long, long way from the Market Cross or Conway's Bar of a Friday night but the show is full of imagination and a load of fun and adventure. And the children's scene, as always in Ramelton is just enchanting and beautiful. And before I forget the great Boyce tradition with the show is being carried on this year in the person of Joe Boyce playing Man Saturday.

Robinson Crusoe is a great show: a great night out and if you've not already booked your seat then do so now. The booking office is opened six day a week: 10.00 to 12.00 and from 2.00 until 5.00.  Phone them on 086 1261381 or why not call into the Town Hall where you will be very welcome. The show runs Monday to Saturday each week with the curtain up nightly at eight o'clock. Ramelton has not seen this sort of thing before so we'll see you there some night soon. 

Click here to see some photos



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