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Alan Hughes: Are my celeb pals making a beeline for my panto? Oh yes, they are


Alan Hughes (Sammy Sausages), Molly Lynch (Cinderella) at  the opening night of the Cinderella panto at the Tivoli Theatre

Alan Hughes (Sammy Sausages), Molly Lynch (Cinderella) at the opening night of the Cinderella panto at the Tivoli Theatre

Alan Hughes (Sammy Sausages), Molly Lynch (Cinderella) at the opening night of the Cinderella panto at the Tivoli Theatre

It's been a manic week with the launch of Cinderella at the Tivoli Theatre on Tuesday night.

It's really hard on a big opening night because you're wondering who will and won't come but we had a brilliant crowd.

Joe Duffy has come every single year with his triplets to see the show, ever since it was on in St Anthony's Hall.

Adam Woodyatt, who plays Ian Beale in EastEnders, is also coming over as well. He's very good friends with Rory Cowan and he was saying that he's going to try and get some of the EastEnders cast to come and spend a weekend in Dublin and go and see the panto.

I'm interested to see which characters from EastEnders come over now because when you're watching it and you're a fan, it's a big treat to have people like that in to see the show.


Michele McGrath, Lisa Fitzpatrick and Gay Byrne were here during the week, and Twink arrived as well, which was brilliant.

My first panto with Twink was 20 years ago and that's how I started, so when this was my 21st panto she said she wouldn't have missed it.

She definitely was, and still is, the queen of panto and she was in great form so it was great to see her.

It was such a manic day, even though it's opening night and you're trying to relax, there was so much going on.

We had Peter O'Riordan in from Xpose and we were transforming him into a Dame for the show. It was so much fun for him and he got into it so much. I said to him, "Peter, panto is your natural calling, you can give Xpose up and come and work for us every year".

It was such a hyper evening and everyone was on such a high.

Then to see Jeff Ford and all the TV3 people like Anna Daly and Colette Fitzpatrick coming in to support us as well was brilliant.

Jeff has seen a different side of me now as Sammy Sausages because he wouldn't have seen me in a panto before.

When I fell at rehearsals and had to be rushed to hospital last week, I got a bit of a fright but I'm grand now.

We're going to be doing two shows a day over Christmas and it's been selling out. We've been adding extra shows - this year has really taken off.

We'll have lots more celebs in over the next few weeks as well.

Mary Byrne will be in tonight and Nadia Forde is just back in Ireland from the jungle so she'll be in next week.

Good luck roses from Brendan were so kind

It's been absolutely brilliant having Rory Cowan from Mrs Brown's Boys as part of the cast.

We're all having such a blast with him and he's loving being in the show.

Brendan O'Carroll was over accepting his British Comedy Award in the UK so he couldn't come to the launch on Tuesday night.

But when I walked into my dressing room, which I share with Rory, there was this massive vase of these rainbow coloured roses that nearly took over the dressing room, and the note said: "We saw these and thought of you." They were just incredible.

Brendan and Jenny (inset) will be coming in over the weekend because they're home for a few days for Christmas now and we're so excited for them to see the show.

Rory just can't wait for Brendan to see it.

He wasn't nervous on opening night but I know he'll be planking it when Brendan is in.

It'll be good to get feedback from Brendan as well because we think our show is less of a posh panto, it's more like Mrs Brown's Boys.

We don't do it for critics, we do it for the audiences that pack out the theatre every night so I'm looking forward to his reaction.

Everyone is wondering about what's happening with the show but it's definitely not finished yet.

The movie was part of a trilogy so they're looking to do two more movies and they're also looking at making a lot more series.

Brendan will say himself, he struggled for 21 years to get there, he's not going to go "we're not going to do any more" at this point.

I'd say they'll try and break America, if they can do it in Australia. I'd say there's enough Irish Americans in the US who'd love a show about an Irish mammy.

I'll be the cook over Christmas

I'm looking forward to relaxing on Christmas Day after a manic few weeks.

We only get two days off - Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - so myself and Karl are just going to stay at home, relax and watch the Mrs Brown's Boys Chritmas special.

I've no Christmas shopping done, so we'll probably have to head to get all the food shopping and the presents on Christmas Eve but it's all part of the joys of working at Christmas.

I barely got the Christmas decorations up - I had a day off two weeks ago and instead of relaxing I decided to decorate and get the tree up - otherwise the house would be bare for the next few weeks.

We have friends coming over for Christmas Day, which will be nice, although I'll end up doing all the cooking.

Poor Karl (inset) can't boil an egg so I'll be the one cooking the turkey and ham with all the trimmings.

I don't tend to make an resolutions for the new year as I'm always working right through Christmas and all I can think about is my next day off, let alone the next year.

But this year I'm going to try and stress less and relax more.