THIS YEAR may be John Kirwan's 30th panto in Drogheda, but he's done so many, he's not quite sure!
The Ashfield man has certainly reprised his role as Simple Simon more times that he cares to remember, but as this year he is 'flying solo', it's the first time in years that he has butterflies about the part.
'I'm usually on half of a double act, with Ciaran Leddy or Fiona O'Connell, but in Snow White, I am all on my own, so have no-one to bounce off,' says John, who started in to the panto in 1979.
'I took a break a few years ago because of work commitments, but my daughter Maria (11) is also in this year's panto, and persuaded me to be Simple Simon again.'
John, who is married to Sandra, and has three other children (Aisling, Rory and Roisin who have all appeared on stage), never tires of the same character.
'I might get tired, but never of him,' he laughs.
'He might have the same name, but I never play the same role twice, and Fiona has me singing and dancing this year, which shows you it's never too late to learn new tricks!'
This is the first year that John will not share the stage with Fiona O'Connell, as she is writing and producing Snow White.
'She is so organised that rehearsals have been great craic, with a very good cast chosen, and it will be a pretty good show this year,' says John.
'I get on very well with her, and the show is fast and quick, so everyone, no matter what age, will enjoy it.'
There have been rumours of Simple Simon displaying some very famous dance moves this year - is there any truth to this?
' That would be telling,' he says with a cheeky grin.
'I can say I have two left feet, so it might be funny by accident, and I'm starting to feel my age with all the leaping about.
'I think I might be glad to get to the end of the eight days!'
Snow White will be on in the TLT from Sunday January 20 to 27, on nightly from 7.30pm, with matinees at 3pm on Sunday 20, Saturday 26 and Sunday 27.
Tickets are on sale in the TLT and CD World, with adults costing €15, children €10 and a family ticket €45 (2 adults & 2 children).