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Georgia who? She's behind us, say producers

THE show went on without Georgia Salpa -- and it seemed no-one missed the model at the Sleeping Beauty pantomime.

The Christmas panto that hit the headlines after its leading lady dropped out has received standing ovations since its curtain raised.

And co-producer Karl Broderick, who puts on the show every year with Alan Hughes, has revealed how they didn't receive "a single complaint" about her absence from the show.

She left them "shocked and disappointed" when she suddenly decided that she was unable to go ahead with the Tivoli production last week.

But it was clearly a case of 'the show must go on' for the cast and crew this week after it went down a storm with its legions of loyal fans.

"It just went amazing," Karl told the Herald. "To be honest with you, no-one really said anything to her about not being in the show, not at the box office or to us. No-one seemed to notice.

"We had ourselves braced for it alright but there wasn't even one phone call to say 'what happened with Georgia?'

"If someone had said to us, 'I only booked in for my 14- or 15 year-old-son because he wanted to see Georgia', we would have dealt with that. But no-one did that. We have such a core fanbase, they've all been coming for years and it's all about the show.

"One punter did come up and said 'that's the best show ever, even after your little hiccup in the week' which made me laugh."

He also paid tribute to the talents of Michele McGrath, who's now playing the role of Queen Kardashian full-time.

"She was fantastic. She was really camping it up and has a few really funny lines. She's doing a great job," he continued.

Among those in the audience for the opening night on Wednesday was a little girl named Valerie, who they filmed as part of a TV3 Make A Wish Programme which is going out on St Stephen's Night.

"She always wanted to come to the panto, that was her dream, so they were filming her on the night," he explained.

"There was just a brilliant atmosphere and it's hard to believe that it's now been running for 14 years as it still feels so fresh.

"Every year you worry that it won't be as good but it all went off without a hitch.

"We're like a little family at this stage, we all love being around each other.

"We capture a certain mood that we bring to the stage and it's infectious.

"A woman came to me last night and she came up to me to congratulate myself and Alan on the show.

"She was beaming away and she took my hand and said, 'I'm not well and that was a pure tonic.'

"If you take someone away from something like that for two hours, it makes it so worthwhile."