With the school summer holidays still in full swing and the sun trying its hardest to keep us all cheery, it might not quite feel the season for panto. “Oh yes it does!” I hear you say. “Oh no it doesn’t!”….Anyway, for York Theatre Royal, it’s already time to start gearing up for the biggest event of their winter programme as they announce the cast list for the 2012 return of Berwick Kaler’s infamous annual pantomime.
This December, one of York’s greatest theatrical traditions will welcome friars, a band of very merry gentlemen and one heroic philanthropist as Kaler presents his unique pantomime Robin Hood and His Merry Mam!: a production that has already sold over 15,000 tickets four months ahead of its opening night! Dedicated York panto zealots will be happy to learn of the return of regulars Martin Barrass as Geoffrey Hood and Suzy Cooper in her well-loved principal girl role, here as Maid Marian. Sian Howard will also be doubling up as Lady Hamalot and Broomhilda whilst AJ Powell, who has worked his way up the panto hierarchy over his six year involvement, will play a budding yet incompetent minstrel, Ice Blondell.
Always a very big hit with the ladies in recent years, Kaler’s own nephew Vincent Gray will also tread York’s hallowed panto boards in some very fetching green tights as he performs the title role of Robin Hood after a two year break from panto to star in a touring production of We Will Rock You. Another popular figure reaping rave reviews for last year’s panto, Jamie Harris, will be making a return visit to the York extravaganza in the role of Butch- the miller’s son.
But it’s not just the old faces in tow as newbie Jonathan Race joins in the panto revels in the villainous role of Sherriff Hutton. Jamie Sutton, Danielle Mullan, Lauren Newton and one further male and female part will then complete the ensemble over the coming weeks alongside a chorus of young local people. A hunt will also be made for two sets of bright young stars to making a starring role in this family favourite as Prince Thomas and Princess Cherisse.
And not forgetting York’s merry man himself, Berwick Kaler will prove once again that there is nothing like a Dame, and especially a Kaler Dame, as he takes to the stage for his 40th pantomime. As well as donning wigs, enormous dresses and extravagant make-up, Kaler will be putting on his director’s hat again with the assistance of Damian Cruden, who will have had a very hectic 2012 also co-directing the York Mystery Plays.
Robin Hood and His Merry Mam! runs from Thursday 13th December 2012 until Saturday 2nd February 2013. Tickets are available here.