Fall for one an­other? Oh yes they did

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - BONDINGS -

Panto stars Ge­orge Mcma­hon and Rachel Smyth have a beau­ti­ful baby girl, Frankie, who is a stage star too, says An­drea Smith

‘IF you had told me 10 years ago that my­self and Ge­orge Mcma­hon would end up to­gether, I would have laughed at you,” says dancer Rachel Smyth. Smil­ing at Ge­orge, who is hold­ing their adorable baby daugh­ter, Frankie, Rachel ex­plains that they’re en­gaged and plan to marry in Nerja, Spain, next Au­gust.

The pair met when Rachel was work­ing with fel­low dancer Linzi Cowap, who was dat­ing Ge­orge at the time. Ac­tu­ally Ge­orge and Linzi did this Bond­ings in­ter­view to­gether back in 2005, but time moves on!

“Ge­orge and I al­ways got on well as he was very bold and mis­chievous and so was I, so we put each other up to do things,” Rachel says. “Peo­ple think we were to­gether for years, but we gen­uinely weren’t, we were just good friends. We de­vel­oped an­other part to our re­la­tion­ship two years ago, when we were both sin­gle again and were do­ing panto in Lim­er­ick to­gether. It kind of hap­pened overnight re­ally.”

Rachel says that while she is su­per-or­gan­ised and gets stressed more eas­ily, Ge­orge is more laid-back.

“I al­ways thought Rachel was gor­geous,” he says. “I was sin­gle for a year and wasn’t en­joy­ing it be­cause I think dat­ing is aw­ful. Rachel helped me through it and used to ac­com­pany me when I got a plus one for events, and then I just fell in love with her.”

Baby Frankie was born at the end of May, and is very laid-back and chilled like her dad. When she was 10 days old, she made her de­but play­ing baby Ge­orgina in The Snap­per at the Gate Theatre for three months. It came about be­cause ac­tress Hilda Fay who played Veron­ica Rab­bitte, is Rachel’s first cousin, and she let the pair know that a baby was needed.

Ge­orge and Rachel are thrilled with Frankie, and they now live with Rachel’s mum Tressa in north Dublin. They hope to buy their own place in the new year, and Ge­orge says that hav­ing a baby has made them more of a unit. Hav­ing Rachel’s mum there is a big help, and Ge­orge’s sis­ter Kim is also very help­ful, and while they’re de­lighted with the baby, she came a lit­tle ear­lier than planned.

“I blame my mam, as we were plan­ning on hav­ing a baby but not as quickly as it hap­pened,” Rachel says with a laugh.

“We wanted to get a house first, and she said that as I’d been on the pill for ages, I’d want to think about com­ing off it as you hear sto­ries about it tak­ing a year for peo­ple to get it out of their sys­tem. I was off the pill for four weeks when I got preg­nant, so Frankie just came a lit­tle ear­lier than planned.”

Ge­orge (34) grew up in Lu­can and his fam­ily moved to Straf­fan when he was 12. His mum Dee and dad Ge­orge’s mar­riage ended when he was 18. His dad is now mar­ried to June and they live in Water­ford, and his mum moved to Spain and has a part­ner, Stu­art.

“My mam kind of did a ‘Shirley Valen­tine’,” he smiles. “She didn’t fancy be­ing on her own with a grey sky, so she took the dogs and cats and rein­vented her life over there and has never looked back.”

Ge­orge started with the In­de­pen­dent Theatre Work­shop and He­len Jor­dan when he was 12, and even­tu­ally started go­ing for act­ing au­di­tions and get­ting a few gigs. He is best known for play­ing lov­able rogue Mondo in Fair City. “I knew when I was 13 that act­ing was what I wanted to do,” he says.

Rachel (31) is from Santry, and has three older sis­ters, Ar­lene, Er­ica and Ava. They all be­gan bal­let classes with the fa­mous Dublin teacher Marie Cole. Ar­lene and Rachel are still in the busi­ness and have their own dance schools. Rachel’s par­ents, Tressa and Paul, broke up when she was 19, and there’s syn­chronic­ity there with her­self and Ge­orge as Rachel’s dad has also moved to Spain.

Her first panto was with Twink, Gerry Ryan and er, Bar­ney, in Sleep­ing Beauty (sort of) at the Point Theatre when she was eight. When she was 16, she went off on tour with Tony Kenny, and still dances in the Ir­ish show at Tay­lor’s Three Rock in Rath­farn­ham and also teaches. Rachel took only eight weeks ma­ter­nity leave — the per­ils of be­ing self-em­ployed and look­ing for a mort­gage, she says.

She has a stage school, Glitz Stage Academy, based in Sta­mullen and The Naul. Ge­orge also has a stage school, PAA (Per­form­ing Arts Academy) in Cel­bridge. They both teach at each other’s schools.

The loved-up pair are also both in­volved in a tour­ing pro­duc­tion of Sleep­ing Beauty this Christ­mas. Rachel will chore­o­graph the pro­duc­tion, which stars Ge­orge and his Fair City col­league Aoib­heann Mccaul along­side Rtejr’s Clara Mur­ray, It will run at the Na­tional Opera House, Wex­ford, be­fore trans­fer­ring to the INEC Kil­lar­ney. They are thrilled to be work­ing to­gether and say that they’re lucky to be able to see one an­other at work, un­like many of their friends in the busi­ness.

When asked what Ge­orge likes best about Rachel, he says she has lovely eyes and “a re­ally nice bum”. She brings out the best in him, he says, and is great fun and al­ways up for ad­ven­ture. “I think Ge­orge has so much char­ac­ter in his eyes,” says Rachel. “He’s very car­ing and he’s good to go to for ad­vice. He can be a bit scat­tered and is al­ways leav­ing things be­hind him, and while it’s one of the things that makes me want to kill him, I also love it about him so I just laugh it off now.”

‘We were plan­ning on hav­ing a baby just not as quickly’

‘Sleep­ing Beauty’ runs at Na­tional Opera House, Wex­ford, from Dec 27-30 and INEC, Kil­lar­ney, from Jan 3-5. www.thepaa.eu www.face­book.com/glitzstagea­cademy

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