Watch: ‘This theatre is made for pantomime!’ Berwick’s back with big panto plans
After more than 40 years as the grand dame of York panto, family favourite Berwick Kaler returns to tread the boards this Christmas.
But while much will be familiar to the countless thousands of fans who have grown up with the Berwick pantomime, a lot will be different too.
The biggest change is, of course, the venue. After the panto’s former home, the York Theatre Royal, decided to try something new this Christmas, it’s the Grand Opera House which will host Berwick and his famous gang, Martin Barrass, David Leonard, Suzy Cooper and AJ Powell, in Dick Turpin Rides Again.
And Berwick can’t wait to tread the famous boards.
“Although have great loyalty to the other theatre, ever since I first arrived in York and I came to the Opera House I just thought: ‘This theater is made for pantomime!”, he told YorkMix.
“It’s just gorgeous. It’s got a vaudevillian feeling touch. And more important than anything for pantomime is audience reaction – and pandemic allowing, it’s so easy for me to access the audience from both sides.
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“So fingers crossed. I’ll be doing it because I love interaction!”
And this panto is not an in-house production, but staged in conjunction with panto producer specialist Crossroads.
“It’ll be different because it’s a different management. We’ve got the world’s biggest pantomime producers backing us. And we do have some fantastic special effects.”
And you won’t see Dick Turpin Rides Again anywhere else!
“It’s an original title,” Berwick said. “We tried it out quite a few years ago, but it’s different from that.
“It’s the only one. Even if you have never been to one of our pantomimes, it’s worth a shot, surely? I’m very excited about it.”
And after Christmas was all but cancelled last year, he’s thrilled to be back.
“To be honest, up until six weeks ago, I thought there’s still a possibility that it’s going to be canceled.
“We didn’t get the go ahead until about six weeks ago. It’s not a long time to prepare for a whole whole show.
“But Crossroads, the management, have been ace, can’t thank them enough. And I have to say, the staff here at this Grand Opera House – they’re just fantastic. Just so friendly.”