Richmond Pantomime Is Listed Number One In Britain!
Monday - December 7, 2015
The Georgian Theatre Royal’s celebrated pantomime has been named as the number one show to see this Christmas by The Telegraph, in an article on the UK’s 10 best pantomime breaks.
Richmond’s historic theatre, which is the oldest working theatre in Britain in its original form, was singled out for the top slot - ahead of other prestigious London and regional venues - for this year’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk.
Telegraph travel writer, Sophie Campbell, picks out the Theatre’s obvious historic appeal but also pays tribute to the support it gets from the community, in particular the enormous success of its recent appeal for knitted leaves for a decorative beanstalk.
The town itself is featured as a perfect complement to the pantomime for a meal out or a bit of shopping, highlighting places to visit such as the Green Howards Museum.
Clare Allen, the Theatre’s Chief Executive, is delighted with the accolade. “Anyone who has seen a pantomime at The Georgian Theatre Royal will already know what an amazing experience it is but it is extremely rewarding to have this recognised by the world at large.
“It is also fantastic that the recommendation puts Richmond firmly on the map as a national tourist and heritage destination and will hopefully bring lots of visitors to the town over the festive season.”
This year’s pantomime is set against the colourful backdrop of the exciting world of the Victorian travelling circus and the intimate Georgian stage will be transformed into a big top, complete with acrobats, jugglers and even a pantomime camel.
Audiences can expect sharp and witty dialogue, foot-tappingly catchy songs; amazing dance routines, stunning special effects and bucket loads of good-old fashioned comedy to delight all ages.
Produced by the Theatre’s own professional production team, it is written and directed especially for the Richmond stage by historic pantomime expert Tony Lidington. “Richmond’s Georgian Theatre is the perfect place to see our greatest indigenous art form. Pantomime is rooted in European traditions but with the addition of absurdity and variety of Britain’s eccentricity infused over 250 years. We invite audiences to settle back and enjoy the finest panto in the land,” he said.
Amongst this year’s talented cast are much-loved favourites from previous years together with a host of new talent, including several actors with strong circus credentials. Gary ‘Gacko’ Bridgens – a well-known stalwart of Georgian Theatre pantomimes – is the Dame, following his highly successful dame debut in last year’s box office hit Puss in Boots and Jake England-Johns (who delighted last year’s audience in the title role of Puss) is the ringmaster/magician.
New to this year’s pantomime is Lawrence Swaddle as Jack; a graduate of the Oxford School of Drama who is also skilled in acrobatics, stilt walking and trapeze along with many other circus stunts. He is joined by Emily Essery as his sister Jill, who has a wide range of stage and television credits, including aerial circus and tumbling skills and puppetry. The principal cast is completed with the multi-talented actress/singer/dancer/musician and circus performer Natalie Verhaegen (as the baddie Hetty Heinz) who has appeared in no less than 2000 shows in tented big tops.
Daniel Bowater is returning as Musical Director, who is himself a multi-instrumentalist performer, composer and arranger, to provide the important musical dimension to the production, together with accomplished musicians Jack Burton and Kerrin Tatman.
The junior chorus is made up of talented young performers that have become a mainstay of this popular family-style of pantomime.
Jack and the Beanstalk runs at The Georgian Theatre Royal until Sunday 3 January 2016. Tickets from £7 to £21 are available from the Box Office on 01748 825252 or via the online booking service at www.georgiantheatreroyal.co.uk
PHOTO: The cast of Jack and the Beanstalk at The Georgian Theatre Royal