A Tattyreagh parent, attending his first ever pantomime in the Grand Opera House in Belfast, was kicked out shortly before the end after completely misreading the conventions of a panto.
Jackie O’Brien, attending the show as a volunteer parent for the local primary school, persistently heckled the actors and was prevented from firing an extinguisher onto the stage by a fast-acting security guard.
The performance of Sleeping Beauty had been receiving rave reviews before today’s incident and was keenly anticipated by the entire 400-strong audience. Neutral observer, Malachy Quinn from Beragh, explained what happened:
“At the start I just though he was really buying into the spirit of panto by shouting out things like ‘he’s behind you’ long before he was meant to. It wasn’t until he got a bit too vocal that I realised he was taking things a bit too far. When the Queen of Evil, Maleficent, arrived on stage he shouted ‘she’s f****** behind yis ye shower of useless b*******’. Teachers were covering pupils’ ears.”
Events took a turn for the worse when Maleficent attempted a bit of traditional banter with the audience. O’Brien, again misreading the comic element of the whole panto genre, reacted viciously after she told the crowd that Sleeping Beauty was not wakening up:
“Yes, that was when the penny dropped that this fella wasn’t getting the whole panto concept at all. When Maleficent said ‘oh no she’s not’, after three ‘oh yes she is’ O’Brien ran towards the stage shouting ‘are ye f****** blind’ before lifting the fire extinguisher above his head and asking her if she was calling him a liar.”
O’Brien was ushered from the building and put on a bus to Omagh. Tattyreagh principal Kieran O’Cabe bought the entire school a Mini-Crunchie each to make up for the interruption.