Thursday, January 19 sees the curtain rise on yet another Coleraine Provincial Players pantomime and this year the local group is celebrating their 46th
year with their version of ROBIN HOOD which runs until January 28.
The committee have held the ticket prices at £4 to £8 and also the show finishes around 10:15pm so it’s not a late night for the kids.
Coleraine pantomime has always been geared toward families and this year is no different, they have all the usual characters from an evil Sheriff to the youngest of the group, the crowd favourite, the little fairies.
Robin Hood has been written by ‘Mr Panto’ Sean Magee and has co-written by club chairman Phillip Kelly, It’s a script which is modern with up-to-date humour but not taking away from the traditional story line, and once you see it in full swing, you will see that they have pulled out all the stop to give the public a treat that will send them home laughing for days to come.
This year producer Leahanne Dollard is at the helm for her seconnd year. Leahanne has had the task of keeping the cast up to speed with changes which are added from time to time.
This year’s cast has a good mix of experience and youth who have been enjoyed working and learning from the seasoned members.
Now it’s time to introduce you to some the cast of ROBIN HOOD!
Robin will be played by Leah Dollard who are is no stranger to the stage, the third generation of principal boys in her family, so it is obviously in her genes! Having last year shared the principal role with her sister, Leah now takes on the demanding lead role by herself, she has grown in confidence each year with the group.
Maid Marion is played by Gemma Campbell. This role has really suited Gemma’s style of acting and, being a long serving member, she brings a great deal of experience to the stage along with a nice pure singing voice.
Gemma’s aid Lady Jane Is played by Zara Kelly. Zara has played various roles within the group, this year being a new challenge with playing a role she hasn’t before. She has taken it on really well and has adapted her acting style to suit the role, playing along side Gemma the duo have gelled together really well.
This year having played the part of Dame, John Millar has been given the role of Little John - now this Little John is played in a way you have never seen before! The group isn’t giving too much away but one question... can you guess who the character looks like? Always one for a bit of a laugh, John adds his own humour to the role and has Little John trying to catch the Dame’s eye as a possible couple.
Returning to the stage after an 11 year absence is Phillip Kelly who plays the role of Friar Tuck, a role he played on his last stage appearance.
Though not on stage, Phillip has been lighting designer for 11 years and also club chairman for the last five years. He is glad to be on stage surrounded by the talented cast and adding his spin on the role of Friar, this character is played with a comedy aspect also will have a few laughs for sure.
The role of King John/Richard is played by Brian Kelly. Usually known for working back stage, he treads the boards in front of the back cloths for the second time doing a great job as his dual role. He’s been practising round the house which makes his wife think he is talking to someone as he keeps changing his voice for the other character.
He is also practising while out training his sheepdogs in the fields where he gets plenty of strange looks from not only the sheepdog but the passers-by in cars!
Playing the evil Sheriff is Adam Mullan, a young up and coming man within the group with a bright future ahead. Anyone who knows him will get a bit of a surprise, as he is usually a quiet boy on stage and off but once he walks onto the stage he transforms into a loud and demanding man. This role has been a challenge for Adam but one he has grasped with both hand and delivers.
Along with the Sheriff is a trio of characters in the form of Sergeant Robyn Arthur, two guards Noeleen McAuley and Katherine Crawford. This trio have been working extremely well together - with the experience of long serving member Noeleen returning to the stage which has gave Robyn and Katherine great confidence and this brings a really different approach to the roles.
Next is Dame Burnie, played by Jonny Johnston. Jonny is such a natural when it comes to playing a female comedy role. Having played the role of Dame on a few occasions, he is back in the role keeping not only the crowd entertained on show nights, but all the cast too.
The Dame’s sidekicks are Will and Jo, played by Leroy Dempster and Donna Kelly who make the perfect comedy duo and guarantee plenty of laughs. Leroy, no stranger to a bit of a comedy, has teamed up with Donna again to assist the Dame, and what a duo they are!
Donna returns to the stage this year after a year out, but has enjoyed being back on the stage working with Leroy and Jonny.
Playing the Narrator is Ellie Baxter. Playing Salome last year her singing totally silenced packed halls. She takes on the role of storyteller, a role that is an important one as she keeps the crowd updated on progress through the show. Keep a look out for another great cover song by this fantastic singer.
Town Crier, Shannon Myles takes to the stage again after missing out due to school commitments into a role she played before.
She is full of confidence and glad to be back among her friends of Coleraine Provincial Players.
Playing the Fairy Queen this year is a new member to the group, daughter to John Millar, Chloe Millar. Chloe workred backstage last year and has beenbitten by the bug. She is itching to get on the stage to feel the energy from the crowd.
This year the group has a great list of newcomers to the club which is a real experience as its the 46th show.
The dance troupe have been hard at work this year and have risen to the challenge they were given.
The little fairies this year have been doing a great job learning their words.
Off the stage is a crew of people managing all areas from booking office to making tea for the cast etc.
Club chairman Phillip Kelly said: “We have also this year probably the cheapest shop in town with our tuck shop so save yourself a few pounds and shop with us.
“Returning after the great success, we have our raffle with three prizes: 1st Prize £150, 2nd Prize £50, 3rd Prize £25 so for £1 you can have the chance winning, you can either buy these at the booking office or on the nights of the shows.
“Now all is left to say is there are still some seats left so call into Coleraine Town Hall where we have the booking office open Tuesday to Saturday 12 noon to 4pm. Also the booking office will be open during the shows.
“Shows this year start at 7:30 Night performances and 1:30pm Matinees.
“So come along and enjoy the show, this is one not to be missed.”