Bournemouth's Sleeping Beauty Launch Party!Date: 24 September 2012
Following a record breaking pantomime season last year, UK Productions are once again presenting behind the Bournemouth Pavilion panto, this year Sleeping Beauty. Local favourite, and CBeebies star Chris Jarvis once again returns to write, star and direct, alongside the irrepressible Su Pollard, former Dr Who and now panto stalwart Colin Baker,Wave 105.2 FM’s Kate Weston and Benidorm’s singing star Asa Elliott.
A launch party, hosted by Aruba Restaurant, who are again sponsors for the 2012 pantomime, saw the stars come out last week to try out their costumes and answer a few questions about what’s in store for us this year.
Chris Jarvis (Happy Harry / Director / Writer)
So tell me all about this year’s pantomime?
And Asa (Elliott) is a real catch this year! We are upping the comedy with a great and funny prince. He will be doing all the real romantic, swashbuckling business, but at the same time is a bit ‘Gaston-ish’ with a bit of… what’s the term? … oh yes, high camp. It’s going to be a great show. We’ve got great people and to me the cast is the most important thing. Once you have got that right you are there!
My character this year is ‘Happy Harry’, and I suppose he is the same kind of character as Silly Billy or Wishy Washy who you have in the other pantos, and I get to work a lot with the kids. There is a lot to do with the build-up to Princess Briar Rose’s upcoming 18th birthday party, so who better to have around a palace than a party-loving person called ‘Harry’!
Do you enjoy working with the children?
What brings you back to pantomime every year?
Do you have any influence over the casting?
The Perry and Croft sitcoms were invaluable. Almost everyone who was in one of those shows is now a stalwart of panto, going right back to Dad’s Army and Ian Lavender, then you have Jeffrey Holland, who is in Southampton this year, and Ruth Madoc, when she is not touring in Calendar Girls. And Su, well there is only one Su Pollard, and we are so lucky to have her back. That’s more to do with what the audience wants. I love working with Su, but her being in it is as a direct result of asking the public who they most want to see. They said Su, so you go see if you can get her.
What’s next for you?
Colin Baker (Nurse Nellie) Tell me about your role in Sleeping Beauty?
Tell me about your role in Sleeping Beauty?
I play Nurse Nellie, who is Sleeping Beauty’s nurse, although presumably not a very good one as Beauty is unconscious for a large part of the show! She sleeps for a hundred years, and you may wonder how it is that Nurse Nellie is around at the beginning of the hundred years and again at the end of the hundred years. It could have something to with a connection to a certain role I played on television. I couldn’t say.
Nurse Nellie is a dame, and dames do what dames do which is to be ‘mumsy’, and inept, and funny and hopefully create a few laughs along the way.
How do you find yourself playing Dame, and do you enjoy it?
I did Dame three or four times before they asked me to do villain again, which I’ve been doing for the last six or seven years. I’ve been asking Martin Dodd (of UK Productions) if I can do dame again, and he said how do you fancy doing it in Bournemouth? I said, yes please!
Have you used any great Dames from history as inspiration?
You will probably now be forever associated with Dr Who, does that bother you?
And what do you think of the modern Dr Who?
If you had the opportunity to go into another series like that, would you do it?
Panto is great and the 5 weeks we are doing here in Bournemouth will be fine. It will be tiring but the atmosphere is so vibrant that it carries you along. But I couldn’t do it for 6 months! I would love to do 3 -4 months in a really good television series. That would be great.
Su Pollard (Carabosse) What can you tell me about your role in Sleeping Beauty?
What can you tell me about your role in Sleeping Beauty?
Well this is the first time I have been in Sleeping Beauty, so don’t really know what to expect. I play Carabosse the bad fairy, and I think she’s a bit like the Wicked Queen in Snow White. I do know that I put a curse on the young princess ‘Beauty’ because she is more beautiful than me, saying that she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die! But then the good fairy comes along and puts a spell on her to protect her, saying that if the princess is kept safe until her 18th birthday the curse will come off. So all the spinning wheels are confiscated and the princess stays locked up in the castle for 18 years, never going out! Just before the clock strikes 12 on the eve of her 18th birthday, Carabosse finds a spinning wheel hidden in the castle and dressed up as an old woman, lures the princess to it, where she pricks her finger. But she doesn’t die of course, just goes to sleep for a hundred years and it all ends happily. Its really going to be good fun.
Obviously you enjoy playing that type of character, do you prefer being a villain?
What appeals to you about panto, why do you come back to it year after year?
You’ve been involved in some of the best loved and most successful comedy series on TV, were they happy times for you, and do you keep in touch?
We got on so well together in those shows you see, and we always knew we were in such great hands. The writing today can sometime be a bit mediocre, but with David (Croft) especially, who had a life steeped in theatre and TV and really knew the business, he would not let anything go that was not right. His standards were so high. I knew working with him I would get a good product.
We were fortunate enough to star in things that had a really good long life, and really get into the public psyche, by being in their living rooms every week. Having such a big success as that is such a great springboard for stage work, and hopefully, if you keep a good standard up, you can keep a good core regular audience coming to see you.
After panto, what’s next?
You obviously all get on well together, are you looking forward to having a great time in Bournemouth?
They are going to leave that theatre hoarse, I tell you! All that shouting at Su! You know, I really make ‘em scream especially when the kids come with their schools, and I can see those teachers holding their ears, begging me ‘Please don’t make ‘em scream any more!’ And the Musical Director, who has his back to them of course, when I see him cringing, that’s the best bit!
Sleeping Beauty - the Bournemouth Pavilion pantomime
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