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An Audience with May McFettridge

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Can Belle see beyond the monster and fall in love with her captor before the last petal falls from the enchanted rose? John Linehan, better known to most as the one and only May McFettridge is back on track for this year’s panto after having a knee replacement at Kingsbridge Private Hospital. Frosch, like May, would be fond of the bottle and usually ends up involved in mishaps and mayhem sprinkled with confusion and bewilderment. He performed with fellow Ulster comics, John Linehan (aka May McFettridge), Gene Fitzpatrick and William Caulfield at the City Hotel Derry.

Then I have my own circus, McFetty's Circus, and my animals are free to roam and they're all good and great. May already has a fantastic 30-year following for her work and we are proud that she has chosen us as the launch-pad for what we are certain will be a remarkable step into the opera world! And it’s the top part of my body that it’s affecting on the left side area, so I have no muscle strength on my left side.Welcome to the October 2018 edition of our monthly new music playlist, which is available to listen to and watch via YouTube. It is almost 40 years since May McFettridge burst onto Ulster’s entertainment scene, a gap-toothed, pop-sock wearing wee woman from north Belfast, with trowelled on make-up, racy innuendoes and pure ‘Norn Iron’ wit. It is year on year the best Panto provider in Belfast and Mrs May ought to be known worldwide as the best ever.

I love it, you’re meeting a lot of people for the first time and I’m still in contact with people I performed with years and years ago in it. David Hull Promotions, one of Northern Ireland’s leading Entertainment Agencies for over 30 years, is co-producing the show. John made the decision to have private care after being told he would have to wait 10 months for an operation on the NHS. Then because I have three bears in my Circus, she tries to steal them from me, and we have to get them back. It follows May (who asked for her age to be listed as 51, because she “was born in a leap year” — but John is 71) as she seeks to contact her dead sister to fulfil a promise made to her, with the help of her two daughters Audrey and Gemma.The 68-year-old entertainer and actor from north Belfast is a familiar sight in Northern Ireland's panto scene where he performs as hilarious alter ego May McFettridge.

We had a super fun, light-hearted conversation with John filled with lots of great nuggets of wisdom and laughs a long the way.It’s a great play, it’s a five-hander about the known and unknown by a woman who knows nothing in the first place. Northern Ireland’s very own queen of comedy, May McFettridge has earned a special place in the hearts of audiences young and old alike with her distinctive brand of affectionate but well aimed gibes and witticisms. I think if you forget about it, it’s all in the mind – just tell the brain to get up the stairs and get down the stairs, get into bed and get out of bed, get on stage and get off it.

May will be joined on stage by the hilarious Phil Walker, who recently toured with comedy superstar Jason Manford, as Muddles, and Paddy Jenkins who featured in the Oscar and BAFTA award-winning short film An Irish Goodbye, as The Wicked Queen’s Henchman. The night before the performance, he went with John Linehan, aka May McFettridge, to look at the mural (above) on the Donegall Road. County Down soprano Maria McGrann (Adele) is a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast and the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin. When asked if A Happy Medium was a sign he may want to do more out of the world of panto, May answered the question for him.

May McFettridge [John Linehan] brings to the part all the warmth, comedy and feeling for flawed humanity that she is famous for. The set and costumes are a feast for the eyes and one of the biggest challenges for the panto dame is fitting in – and out – of the elaborate costumes. Linehan invented the name and the character by ad libbing — the first name being that of his mother-in-law and the surname being that of an Antrim hurler by the name of Olcan McFettridge, whose exploits in a National Hurling League game had made headlines in the local newspaper, The Irish News, which happened to be beside Linehan when put on the spot. I don't mind growing old - it's a thing that I've never had to deal with and I look forward every day to dealing with it. Despite its spiritual theme, John wants to ensure audiences are aware May isn’t taking a serious turn, as the play will still feature her typical Belfast humour — but warns ticketholders she won’t be in her typical panto dame form due to the format.

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