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Castle Panto 2017 - Snow White & Babes In The Wood

In a very cold and dark January and February, Castle Golf Club was lit up by our very own shinning stars who performed in an amazing production of Snow White & Babes In The Wood.  There were Singers, Dancers and Actors of all ages who put blood, sweat and even tears (yes Rob, when you fell off the stage) into their efforts. So when the curtain fell on the final night and the wrap party had wrapped our Director Philip Murphy asked some people for their reviews.  So, we had reviews from Singers, Parents of Naughty Children (they were only acting), the audience and so forth, some were published in Castle Tidings but we were unable to publish them all so here are the ones that we didn't get to publish:

A Parents Perspective: - Fiona Norris

As James and Anna fell into bed on the final night, there were tears! "I'm so sad it's all over "!

What a journey the last few months have been! Preparations for auditions started last October with singing and dancing in the kitchen. The excitement of getting a part in the panto was quickly followed by rehearsals every Tuesday and Sunday! By January rehearsals were almost nightly, with football, hurling and other activities now cast aside! Every rehearsal was met with such excitement and as the miles clocked up between Stillorgan and the Castle the enthusiasm only grew!

Some nights I collected them from rehearsals, James was laughing so much he couldn't speak! Usually remembering some encounter with Princey!! aka Mr. Collie Gleeson!!

There was now a countdown to the number of sleeps before the opening night! And finally it arrived!!

That first night, the snooker room had an air of excitement, nerves and anticipation as they put on their costumes! The three little pigs, Henry & James led by Jack, were in the corner, finalising their lines with the Prince, while Red(Anna), Hansel (Elizabeth) and Gretel (Ella) were putting the finishing touches to their makeup! Lauren was tapping out one of her many dance routines and Rapunzel (Ciara) was busy brushing her new three foot long blond hair in preparation for her beautiful singing! Meanwhile the "seven" dwarfs (Holly, Kate, Mia, Susie, Tom and William) were coordinating their beards and perfecting the art of lingerie tape (?)!! Not a revolting child in sight!!

Final Call! Hush in the snooker room as they all listened intently to Philips words of encouragement!  I could see they were nervous!

But once the curtain went up every child preformed amazingly!! Those four nights were long late nights in the life of a child but as each night passed they all got even better! There was a great aura of comradeship between the 13 children! All helping and supporting each other!

The final night performance was fantastic! And the audience reaction was brilliant! 

And now it was all over! Red and Piglet (birth names are now forgotten...even for the adults!) were both so sad! When they finally surfaced on the Sunday, they spent the whole day recounting each night's performance. The good, the bad, the mistakes, the laughs, the adlibs, the music, songs, dances etc etc..

Most of all they talked about all their new friends! Young and not so young! All those evenings for the past three months gave them a new circle of friends...age was no barrier!!

The Panto gave every child a new confidence and belief in themselves. Most of these children had never been on stage before in a performance like this. However to me the greatest thing they gained was the bond created with so many wonderful people of all ages....their new 'Panto' family!! You're all missed!! 


Frederick Theobold Wolfe - AKA Rob Stanley

Friday 18th November…waking up the morning after auditions thinking WTF (what have I done)? Can I take it back? Will the Wolf have a howler?

Ah well.. first time for everything, and actually, it’s probably not the first time I’ve made a complete eejit of myself!  

Weeks later, I find myself well settled into the routine of constant script rehearsals with a bit of singing and dancing thrown in and thoroughly enjoying myself, enjoying the banter, laughing at the same lines night after night, rolling along happily until suddenly……  its dress rehearsal day -Holy crap!

I really wish I’d listened to my resident  17 year old drama guru when he told me to “Learn your cues better than your lines” and “ learn the story of each scene” 

I was beginning to wonder if Wolfie was going to get eaten alive!

Opening night arrives complete with high drama and frazzled nerves in the snooker room, nothing a few sambuka’s don’t sort out for some and before you can say ‘what big eyes you have’ the first show is over, What a  great audience, great laughs and a great night.

The next few days pass by in a blur, break a leg they said well I nearly did on Thursday night then before I know it,  it’s the last night.

Would anything have prepared me for fun I had with the Cast, the Pigs, Red, and everyone back stage? Nothing on Earth..

I will take away some really great memories from my first time on a stage...the best of all has to be glancing over at the pitt to see my two boys and other half smile at me and shake their heads in disbelief…

A great feeling.

Farewell my ‘adoring public’ and..Hoooowwwwllll.


She Sang & She Danced - Patricia Smyth 

Ping! A message comes into my mobile. It’s from the Castle Golf Club announcing the forthcoming panto Snow White & the Babes in Wood. They’re calling all actors/singers to auditions. I’m about to press delete but my finger waivers. “Hang on a sec” I say to myself, “this could be a bit of craic and it’s only a panto, so it can’t involve that much work”. I would soon eat those words! I arrive for auditions on a Monday evening, it’s a bridge night- but sure I’ll give it a go. I enter the inner sanctum of the Board Room and three smiling faces greet me. “Well tell us ALL about yourself”. Crikey! Where do I start? Do I say that I have graced the stage at international drama festivals from Aruba, to Chicago to Korea, or do I just tell them I’ve done a bit of acting over the years? Being a modest type, I opt for the latter! “Very good” is the reply then “Can you sing?” My heart sinks. I was kicked out of the school choir in 5th year for chatting, but secretly I believe the choir master had only been looking for an excuse to get rid of my not so musical voice. “Well” ….I hesitate, “I can sing if I pick the right song”.  “Can you dance?” is the retort.  Now, my heart lifts.  I have been known, over the years for my rather sizzling salsa, once I’ve a few Tequilas on board. So I confidently reply “Oh yes!  Then I am asked to read a piece of script and finally I escape upstairs to bridge, in a hot sweat. WOW! This seems to be serious stuff. A few days later I get a congratulatory text confirming my place in the Panto Chorus. Hurray! I’m going to be back on the boards again.

It’s a Sunday afternoon, first night of rehearsals. I don’t know a sinner! We are greeted by a very glamourous looking and obviously talented Musical Director called Maria. Sheets are handed around with the words of ‘We Go Together’, the well know final song from the Hit Musical ‘Grease’. I remember going to the movie back in the 80s. It was brilliant with the gorgeous Olivia Newton John and the, oh so dishy, John Travolta. But the words on the page in front of me bear no resemblance to anything I have ever heard before…….”rama, lama, lama, ka- dinga, da- dinga dong”; “shoowop she wadda wadda, yippity, boom de boom.” And it goes at some pace, faster than a Ferrari around Mondello Park. My tongue just can’t seem to get itself around those syllables, not to mention the musical notes. It’s as if I had just stepped out from my dentist after getting a couple of injections of Novocaine! I look around the room and spot a few more anxious and confused looking faces. Phew! It’s not just me then. OMG! I realise, we’re going to have to sing AND dance at the same time. I spend several hours over the next week determinedly learning those words to be ready for our first dance rehearsal. In bounces the dynamic Audrey with her iPhone and speakers. She looks about 17 years old but boy does she pack a punch. There’s no messing here ladies or gents. This gal is on a mission to get these steps drilled into us. I realise I have two left feet when it comes to learning actual dance steps. I must have the movement equivalent of dyslexia. I regret not having had a few Tequilas before coming to rehearsal. But it’s the start of an amazing journey of discovery, learning and fun, dealing with mistakes and frustration, and coming to accept oneself as one is, two left feet or not. However, there is NO excuse for not practising. We have to deal with people unavoidably arriving late or not turning up at all, we get used to aching muscles, sore joints and feet. But the SHOW must go on. Meanwhile, the principal characters are working on their lines. Our esteemed Director Philip is tearing his remaining locks out. “Lads, I want see all scripts put down by the end of the week”. This phrase is repeated over a number of weeks! Slowly the characters are forming and beginning to emerge from the words on the page. They have yet to learn all their songs and dances. Each member of the cast is visibly transforming in their respective role after weeks of careful guidance, encouragement and direction. They leave the safety of their comfort zone to explore new traits, personalities and possibilities. The Director never loses hope or vision and believes utterly in his cast being able to deliver. Now there is also the beginning of self-belief.

And so show time is almost upon us.  The stage is finally erected; scenery and wonderful props are appearing which have been lovingly created and made by Maria, Paul and the backstage team. There are colour- coded schedules being devised by Sarah and a host of clever backstage folks to ensure smooth entrances and exits, with everyone in exactly the right place and miked up. The set is a hive of activity, each person knowing exactly what they need to do to ensure the best performance ever. The audience is arriving, you can now smell the excitement and the fear. Cue lights, cameras, action!

The panto is not about star performers even though stars were born in the making of Snow White and there were many star performances. It’s more about everyone contributing to an overall team effort and to the success of the show. The whole is so much more than the sum of its parts. Every individual is of crucial importance, those backstage who make it all happen and who choose to stay out of the limelight, those who organise the technology, the lights and sound, and those who offer to take on some apparently small job but one which makes a huge difference.

And there is the magic of the children who took part in the show. Arriving shy and nervous on the first night and emerging like beautiful butterflies from their chrysalis, shining like dewy stars and now full of confidence, noticeably taller, chatting eagerly among themselves and the whole cast. This will be an experience they will bring with them for years and they will treasure the friendships made. Whether they take up the golf or not, the Castle Golf Club will mean something entirely different to them now. It will be a place of excitement, adventure and possibilities, surely the best start anyone can have for joining a club for life.  For me, as a relative newbie, taking part in the panto has been such a positive experience. It was hard joining a new club having been in my former one for nigh on 30 years. But I have met so many wonderful and talented people throughout this show, made firm friendships which I hope will grow and prosper over the coming years, and most importantly, I now feel like a real member of the great Castle family. It feels like the club has opened up its arms to me and I feel so much closer to the people I have met as a result of our shared efforts. As Jacob and Wilhelm told us, all you need is the power of imagination and the magic of fairy stories. So who knows, in the not too distant future we may yet see our first Snow White and Babes romance, engagement or wedding! Anything is possible if you let your imagination take you there.  So roll on the next show……. I just can’t wait. 

The Back Stage Crew - Paul Swaine

As someone who was never involved in any type of drama or panto production I was amazed at the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to stage a show. Staging a panto in the golf club rather than a theatre adds extra complications as almost everything has to be brought in - stage/curtains/lighting/sound system/side flats etc. In a weak moment I said that I would give Philip a hand with the show expecting that I would be required to move a few props or man the cloakroom. At the first meeting with the team I was introduced by Philip as the stage manager ( I nearly fell off the chair as that was my first time to hear about this)  and was told that before I could move the props I would have to make them first as we had no budget for props. However the whole experience proved to be great fun. John Maloney and Fintan O'Connor were roped in by Philip to give me some advice but John found himself making many of the props and Fintan a non golfer who is not even a member of the club (although his dad was) spent many nights with us making props and moving props on and off the stage on show nights. Maria Stanley was brilliant. She is so talented and also made and painted many of the props including the superb 'Mirror' used by the Queen in the show. She was painting the tree props at 5pm on the night of the first show - so cool. Many hours were spent in the club by the back stage team and we were fortunate to have the help of Tony McKeon and Michael Neary on show nights to move and manage the props. We were enthralled by the great atmosphere generated by the cast as they developed in their roles. The craic was great, the enthusiasm infectious and the camaraderie uplifting. Stage managing was so easy as all the cast were so well rehearsed. Philip kept us all motivated  and it was a pleasure to work with Philip who has a great knowledge of how things should be done and he showed great patience with many of us who were learning our role as we went along. Overall an extraordinary experience.