What could be finer in the family entertainment business than the by now famous Carrick-on-Suir panto at Halloween, and a Dick Meany panto, re-scripted and recession proofed to maximise the fun and laughter.

Jack and the Beanstalk has it all, a host and a half of kids, full of the future and eager to strut their stuff like the stars they are.

The opening Just A Small Town Girl was a sequence with big time written all over it, as Jack, a wonderful Ray Nolan, romanced Jill, the beautiful Triona O’Calllaghan, with a voice to melt into. Her Over the Rainbow was as fine as his The Way You Look Tonight.

Deckie Robinson was a wow as the Giant and the Cow. Chris Hanlon was fun as was Liam Butler, Stephen Carr, PJSlater and Tom O’Dwyer in an X Factor skit. Sylvia Cooney was regal as Andrea Lloyd Webber.

The alternating cast of children in speaking and singing parts was impressive with Charlotte Tyler Walsh and Emma Phelan as trainee fairies Azure A and B. Katie O’Shea and Rebecca McDonald were dancing Golden Harps with Liadhain O’Shea and Leanne Murray as dancing golden chickens. Sharing the singing duties were Leah Power, Aideen Quilty, Caoimhe Kelly, Kate Sheehan, Megan Power, Kaysci Fitzgerald, Rachel Kehoe, Aoife Mccarthy, Cliodhna Nagle, Molly Dunne, Monica Griffin and Niamh O’Loughlin.

Big chorus numbers to backing tracks hit the heights and two comic ladies Siobhan McCarthy (what a fine performer) and Louise Mulcahy as Carbuncle and Pimples hit the big time with the rousing Big Spender, Don’t Stop Me Now and a crazy Mrs Cellophane.

Seamus Power was the Baron to the manor born and he was the brunt of such a pummelling at times. Audie Murphy and Dennis Barry carried the show along with a Stooges like ability that was impressive as Swill and Brill.

Izzy Rush led a team of wonderful dancers and Fergus Power as Ma the Dame was a powerhouse of fun and a dynamo of inventiveness. He can turn a fluffed line into comedy madness. His obvious delight and zest for action was a lesson to professional panto dames. By the time the cast arrived at the finale he was still rocking and a bopping.

Pádraig Sheehan directed with flair and he gave the cast the blessing to go out and make ‘em laugh.

Ger Dunphy designed a clever set and Blanaid McCann supplied the colourful array of costumes.

Dick Meany must be very happy in the heavenly theatre and Carrick will celebrate him with a tribute evening on 7th November. I am regretful that I will miss it but I will honour his memory at the Waterford Festival that night in my thoughts and memories.