'It’s like the Hunger Games with tinsel' - Toy Show auditions get underway in Limerick

By David Raleigh

The Late Late Christmas Toy Show kicked off the first leg of its madcap nationwide auditions tour in Limerick City today, with host Ryan Tubridy heralding in the festive fun with a trumpet, and wearing one of his trademark toy show Christmas jumpers.

Tubridy, who will present his tenth Toy Show on November 30, joked that the competition between those vying for a place on the show, is “vicious”.

It’s like the Hunger Games with tinsel.

“People want to do whatever they can to get onto this programme, because for whatever reason, people seem to like the joviality, the shenanigans, and the goof. The world needs more of that, because the place has gone very serious.”

Ryan Tubridy pictured with Ellie Chapman and Joshua O Neill from Drumadoir Dummers. Photo: Oisin McHugh True Media

Anna Doody, (11), from Newcastle West, Co Limerick, who performed ABBA disco hit, Dancing Queen, was in awe.

“I can't sleep at night thinking about it all the time. I think Ryan is hilarious he's so funny…He looks like Dermot Bannon," she said.

Anna was then gobsmacked when introduced to another hero, All-Ireland winning hurler Shane Dowling, making a guest appearance with the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

Drumming troupe, Drumadore, from Headford in Galway made themselves heard with a cacophony of swirls and beats. Former Saw Doctors stickman, Eímhín Cradock, who runs the group said:

They love a bit of flaking the drums. Everyone comes together and there’s a great social aspect to it.

Headford’s answer to Keith Moon and Ringo Starr - brothers Jack and Danny Gibbons - said it is “great craic”.

“We perform at all the Connaught (rugby) games. The drumming is a good stress reliever,” they added.

Ryan Tubridy pictured with auditionees, Anna Doody, Scoil Mhuire Ballincollig Choir, Rebel Brass Jazz group and Drumadoir Drummers.

Members of Cork brass band, Rebel Brass, had fingers clicking, hips swaying, and feet tapping, with their “New York” jazzy sound, and even managed to coax Tubridy into unsuccessfully auditioning for a role in their trumpet section.

Eleven-year old Eileen Siobhan Creedon, was one of 35 pupils who travelled from Scoil Mhuire, Ballincollig, Cork, to audition with a medley of Mary Poppins songs.

“It is amazing fun. I had such an amazing experience with all my best friends doing what I find passionate to me,” Creedon said.

Last year’s show highlighted the plight of children caught in the trap of homelessness, and this year’s programme will once again shine a soft light on the struggles of many of Ireland’s “vulnerable children”.

Pausing from the fun and frolics of the auditions at the Strand Hotel, Tubridy said the show now has “a place to deliver a non-invasive message” to “convey something important to an enormous amount of people in the kindest way possible.”

All-Ireland winner, Shane Dowling, had the last laugh on Tubridy after the presenter compared walking out in front of a live TV audience, to walking out on Croke Park on All-Ireland Final day.

“Yeah, but you're getting well paid,” Dowling joked.

“I can’t argue with you on that one,” laughed Tubs.

The toy show team travel to Tullamore and Dublin for further auditions before a decision is made on the shows line up.

Self-confessed child at heart, Tubridy, parted with a final note of advice for those taking part in auditions:

Be natural, be happy, enjoy yourself…and don’t mention Brexit.

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