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PonyPanto is well on it’s way to becoming an institution. It rocked this year, or last year rather. Magic happened and we had a singularly excellent line up of guests.

In the Albany, London, we had the awesome hip hop dancer Daryl Baker, three great singers in Laurence Thackery, Peter Davoren and Christina Gill, the welcome return of Maggie Fountain, the stunning Lynn Scott; Woman Juggler and comedy outfit Daisy and Doris (Lorna Robinson and Evie Nagy) Can I also say The Albany have one of the best and nicest tech teams we have ever come across in Kirsty, Ben, Emma, Dave and Ciarán.

In Belfast we had Northern Irish Hip Hop Champs – Ajendance, perform their crew number and a new duet by Shane and Annika , what a whopper that is! Congrats too, to Shane McKeever who is Superstar World Line Dancing Champion! He performed his solo and the crowd went wild. Tumble Circus featuring the world’s most dangerous harpist, Ursula Burns returned this year, as did The Lords of Strut who are now World Street Performing Champions. We had the astounding Guilliame Coussan for the first time and we’ll have him again. Uguana Likitov amazed with her unique mix of… stuff. Paul Currie, the highly acclaimed comedic legend from Belfast graced us with his brilliance for a night, creating as many laughs back stage as he did on stage, see him in the Soho Theatre, London at the end of January and in the Leicester Comedy festival later in the year. The beautiful Katie Richardson sang for us two nights, after coming off stage in the Theatre Downstairs in the Mac with ‘Hatch’. Bridget Madden Dance presented ‘An Tobar’, a unique fusion of contemporary and Irish dance by three beautiful dancers. Emmen Jude Donnelly, an incredible circus performer collaborated with the now notorious assistant guitarist from Uncle Social to create seven minutes of wonder! Speaking of wonder, who could forget the, well unforgettable chair balancing act by Mr H in a dress. And brilliant juggler Brian O’Connell colluded with circus performer and musician Cian O’Reilly for five minutes of magic. We were treated in Belfast to having appearances by Drag Legends Tina Leggs Tantrum, Bunny and Portia, we also did a guest spot at Portia Presents in the Maverick bar, check it out, every Thursday in Belfast.

Pic by Art Photos
Pic by Art Photos

Dublin saw many of those guests and the glory that are the PONYBOIS. The new wave of ponies, The SIRENS made their panto debut fresh from stage appearances with Le Galaxie in The Olympia. We also had World Sport Pole Doubles Champions Lisette and Terri. Yes you read that right. They were amazing, nothing short of amazing! And of course, we would be nothing without the now legendary SINNEAD, who sang not one, but two numbers this year, with the help of the Sinneadors, featuring Mark Heffernan of upcoming Irish Band ‘Death in the Sickroom’ to an uproarious response. She also delivered audience karaoke with the help of her ma – Dolly Grip, her sisters Sio-ban and Sio-ban – Davina Devine and Victoria Secret and her Auntie Panti, who all added the necessary GLAM to panto. What a treat to have them make guest appearances.

The Sirens pic by Gareth Doran Photography
The Sirens pic by Gareth Doran Photography

Our ponies this year (sorry, last year) were Paula O’Reilly, Ryan O’Neill, Eileen McClory, Neil O’Brien, Annika Graham, Shane McKeever, Duane Watters, Jenny Reeves, Róisin Laffan and Neil Hainsworth. The glue holding it all together is of course Sara Ski. What a woman!

PonyPanto is a thrill on many levels, but especially to be surrounded by so many talented people with such phenomenal skill levels, abilities, good looks and charm. What a joy it is to perform to an audience who clearly have exceptional taste because they bought a ticket to see us, looking forward to next years one already, sorry…. this years!

And a final shout out to the man who kept us all lit, brilliantly lit should I say, Sean ‘the ridebag’ McCormack. Can I also point out, that he gave himself that nickname. But he deserves it. Shout out to Deirdre and Gráinne who did work experience with us. Ha! Work Experience!!who would like to do it next year, sorry… this year. While I’m at it, can I send a hug to Amy McDonagh and Lesley Evans who were essential production assistants and to Frances McDonagh, who single handed-ly produced the set from her shed. Respect! And sure.. while I’m at it, here’s a shout out to myself LeoniePony who consumed somewhere in the region of 32 litres of wine over ten performances and never wobbled off a high heel once. And listen, the biggest of shouts to Paula O’Reilly who was a brilliant Artist Liasion and liaised with all of the artists…brilliantly. Final of the final shout outs to company mascot Tóbín, who keeps our blood boiling.

Tóbín in dressing room in the MAC
Tóbín in dressing room in the MAC

Thanks to The Albany, the MAC and Project Arts Centre for having us. See you all next year…..THIS YEAR…THIIIIIS YEEEEARRRR!!

4 Responses

  1. Hey all, just checking if u have any plans for a repeat performance in Dublin this still raving to friends a out yer gig in smock alley….MAGIC!!!

    • Hey Samantha! gosh when did ya write that message, only seeing it now. YES, we are back in Dublin with PonyPanto in Project ARts Centre from 18th – 20th of December. Boom, we’re excited. Leonie

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