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The Insider: Panto season is upon us

Panto season is just around the corner and, after hundreds of auditions, the Gaiety Theatre has found its perfect princess – actress Megan Cassidy has landed the lead role of Snow White. The Waterford native is best-known as the much-loved Professor Fun in the RTE children's art programme The Curious World of Professor Fun and Doctor Dull.

The Gaiety panto is a Christmas institution – they've been running at the theatre since 1873. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs begins a six-week run on December 1.

Wacky-haired comedian Russell Brand is bringing his show, Messiah Complex World Tour, to the Olympia tonight and tomorrow.

For some, Brand is a super-complex comedian with an encyclopaedic knowledge of politics; for others, his flimsy beliefs are dressed up with verbosity.

However, he gets people talking, and his show will definitely be a night out you won't forget in a hurry.

Stars and socialites were out in force at the launch of Marks & Spencer's Christmas do. Guests were treated to mulled wine, mince pies and champers while a man dressed as Percy Pig posed for Polaroid snaps.

Norah Casey, Nuala Carey and Sean Munsanje were all getting into the swing of the silly season.

"I just love Christmas," Nuala told the Diary. "This year I'll be working on Christmas Day, but that means I don't have to do any of the washing-up!"

Playwright Brendan Behan was known for his straight-talking and heavy-drinking. Now the charismatic writer has been brought back to life by Adrian Dunbar in the Project Arts Centre's latest show, Brendan at the Chelsea. The play focuses on a period that Behan spent in New York in 1960. The play was written by Janet Behan, the author's niece, and offers a unique insight into the man.

It's a brief run, so catch it while you can.

Brendan at the Chelsea runs from tomorrow until Saturday.